Why JB Hi Fi Does Not Need To Mimic Apple Stores

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The future for consumer electronics and IT retailing will be based on being able to “entertain” and “engage” with consumers when they walk into a retail store claims the CEO of JB Hi Fi, Terry Smart.He said that broadband in stores is essential due to almost every core product category becoming digitally linked; he also said that JB Hi Fi stores do not need to mimic the design and layout of Apple stores despite the success of Apple in the retail marketplace.

Late last month ChannelNews revealed that 90% of consumer electronic retailers in Australia did not have broadband in their stores despite most products being IP enabled. 

Smart said that in today’s retail enviroment, consumers are walking into stores already “educated” because they have researched what they want to buy before they walk into a store. “We have a unique identity at JB Hi Fi which is why customers walk into our stores.”

“What we have to do when they do walk into a store is be the expert; we have to create an entertaining environment while allowing comparing products. JB Hi Fi staff needs to be knowledgeable in the products they are selling. We have to deliver the same information that they are getting on their own devices whether it be a smartphone tablet or PC”.

It’s expected that JB Hi Fi will shortly announce a major agreement with Telstra to deliver fast broadband as well as 4G wirelesses across their store network. 

He said that consumers “want to be entertained, they want a great experience when they walk into a store”.
He admitted that that the introduction of broadband into stores will help JB  Hi Fi meet this objective.

He said that retailers need to deliver a “different” customer experience than what they have got in the past from some retailers.

He said that the level of engagement has to change along with the level of knowledge that sales staff are able to offer. Smart said technology is changing, “it’s getting more challenging to sell so we have to lift our game by empowering our people to deliver the knowledge and experience that consumers want and demand in a store today.”

He said the recent announcement by Woolworths that select Dick Smith would be sold was an issue that his board are watching with interest.

While he did not want to talk about a competitor, he did say that the closure of stores would most probably result in stock being moved from one store to another, as well as Big W stores as opposed to a giant discount sale which could impact other retailers such as Harvey Norman, JB Hi Fi and The Good Guys.

“Future sales are going to be all about staff and the interaction they have with customers, it’s going to be all about quality of engagement. Equally important is the shopping environment” he said.

Smart said that JB Hi Fi already had a unique image which is why the Company stores did not have to replicate the clean orderly selling environment that Apple offered.

 

“Consumers who walk into an Apple store are already predisposed to the brand and product they want. Consumers who come to a JB Fi store want to browse, be educated beyond what knowledge they already have and compare different brands” he said.

During a recent interview with ChannelNews the CEO of Best Buy Brian Dunn said that it was “essential” for the success of bricks and mortar retailers that they offer “comparison” shopping.

“We need to get people out of their homes, away from impulse online shopping to compare which product is best for them. This can only be done in store” he said.   

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