Best Buy Hates Non-PC Users

I don’t really think Best Buy Company (BBC) hates non-PC users, but I’m stunned that a mainstream retailer like BBC does not support web standards and thought I’d put in a provocative headline.

In typical short-sighted fashion, I discovered this evening that BBC’s Reward Zone program only supports Internet Explorer 5.x and above if you want to print off the rewards you signed up for and earned through purchases.  You have a Macintosh?  Tough. Linux box?  What…are you some kind of geek loser? If you are the geek loser, just reboot in to Windows and use the insecure Microsoft browser, willya?

Wait a minute though. How about the discontinued IE 5.2 on Macintosh? Not supported. OK then, how about on the slowing, but still fast growing IE alternative, Firefox? Nope.

So BBC apparently doesn’t want a material share of the market to participate in their loyalty program. They’re walking away from the roughly 5% of the PC market that Apple represents as well as the >10% share that an alternative like Firefox represents. How is this somehow OK to BBC information technology management? (Even to the outsourced to Accenture I.T. leadership?).

Most importantly, how does this fit in to BBC’s “customer-centricity” effort?

One could argue that BBC merchandises and targets to the 80% of the market anyway…and probably couldn’t care less about the high or low ends. Further, the relationship between BBC founder, Richard Schulze, and Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates, ensures that BBC continues as a predominantly Microsoft-centric retailer. But to BBC management’s credit, they recognize that the leading edge, early adopters and mainstream affluent people are where the gross margins are.

CUSTOMER CENTRICITY: A $50 Million Dollar Effort

NOT catering to any easily accessible market flies in the face of BBC’s “customer-centricity” effort. Best Buy trained its store-level employees to recognize and think about the different needs of five types of highly valuable customers:

  • Affluent professionals who want the best technology and entertainment experience (that’s me…and I’ve had crappy ones including tonight’s printing adventure)
  • Active younger males who want the latest technology and entertainment
  • Family men who want technology to improve their lives—practical adopters of technology and entertainment (again that’s me)
  • Busy suburban moms who want to enrich their children’s lives with technology and entertainment (my wife is the one who couldn’t print the rewards certificates initially on her Mac laptop so sought my help)
  • Small-business customers who can use Best Buy’s products and services to enhance the profitability of their businesses (that’s my bride and her business…and BBC has nothing to offer her).

All of that makes a guy wonder: Why doesn’t Best Buy support easily built and deployed web standards? Why don’t they go that last 100 feet in the race to ensure they don’t upset any of the people who are in the sweet spot of the their so-called highly valuable customers?

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  1. BillyG on February 3, 2006 at 2:31 pm

    Nice article, I need to forward that one to my wife since we just bought into that program over X-MAS. Do you know anymore about his ties to BB besides the snippet in that article saying Gates was there to help dedicate a new school?

  2. Steve Borsch on February 3, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    Not aware of anything…other than the close tie a manufacturer (MSFT) would have with a retailer (BBC). Probably discounts on MSN sales, software and programs.


  3. Graeme Thickins on February 13, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    hey, Steve, interesting….they deserve to be called in this

    but the stock symbol is BBY

    I thought for a minute there you were saying this had something to do with a certain left-wing broadcast organization across the pond :-)

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.