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Best Buy Adopts Failed Walmart Lockdown Delivery Program As Sales Boom

With Melbourne in lockdown, retailers such as Harvey Norman and JB Hi Fi may want to take a leaf out of Best Buys playbook with the big CE retailer adopting a failed Walmart program that saw staff deliver goods to people’s homes.

The consumer-electronics retailer claims that its employees, nicknamed “Blue Shirts,” are now handling some e-commerce deliveries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They are trained, and arrive in company-branded vehicles, Chief Executive Officer Corie Barry said on a call with reporters.

The move will help the retailer cope with the surge in digital orders, which are often fulfilled through its stores, and also give staff the opportunity to develop new skills.

This has been tried before and was not successfully.

At its June 2017 annual shareholder meeting, Walmart said it would ask employees to deliver packages on their way home from their shifts, aiming to use its massive workforce and sprawling network of U.S. stores to match Amazon.com Inc.’s convenient options for web purchases this concept was dropped last year.

Overnight Best Buy announced that their US first quarter sales and earnings were “sky rocketing”.

Earnings per share were expected to rise 110%, but they increased 280% to $2.32 per diluted shares compared to $0.61 in 2020 when stores were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

1. Enterprise sales were US$11.6 billion compared to last year’s $8.6 billion a 34.9% increase

2. Domestic sales were US$10.8 billion compared to last year’s $7.9 billion a 36.7% increase

3. International sales were US$796 million compared to last year’s $647 million a 23.0% increase

4. Enterprise comparable sales increased 37.2% compared to a decrease of (5.3) % last year

5. Domestic comparable sales increased 37.2% compared to a decrease of (5.7%) last year

6. Domestic comparable on-line sales increased 7.6% comparted to an increase of 155.4%

7. International comparable sales increased 27.6% compared to an increase of 0.2% last year.

During the COVID-19 lockdowns in the USA merchandise could be picked up at stores while they were closed.

Since then, and especially in the current quarter, CEO Corie Barry pointed to the fact that demand for technology products and services was extraordinarily high.

Demand was driven by focus on the home, which encompasses many aspects of our lives including learning, cooking, entertaining, redecorating and remodelling. The demand, according to Barry, was also bolstered by the government’s stimulus program.

One of the exciting initiatives is the development of smaller units that will be closer to customers where they can pick up merchandise or shop for specific items. The new customers – and 50% of shoppers are new customers – has changed. They are younger, more female and have lower income. Once again Ms. Barry spoke about associates having to engage with customers to insure their loyalty.

Ms. Barry said “Our Lives have changed. Living at home should be greater fun and the rapidly changing technology scene makes Best Buy a true destination store. Associates are well informed and new products can be discovered quickly online”.

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