The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Entries in mobile apps (4)


Why I Am All In With Best Buy (And You Should Be, Too.)

As the most senior leader at Best Buy’s Seattle Technology Development Center, I - and my team - have interviewed and hired more than 60 full time employees and contract workers over the past 12 months.

As someone who is proud to have previously worked at Apple during the Steve Jobs era, led the launch of the first Android phone with Andy Rubin’s Google team at T-Mobile, and delivered digital innovations to fans of Discovery Networks, I am frequently asked in interviews why I would choose to work at Best Buy, a 50 year old brick and mortar retailer many analysts predicted would be dead by now.

During more than a few interviews with candidates I have heard, “I’ve seen your profile on LinkedIn. Why are you here?” All of the talented folks we have hired in the last two years have asked themselves at some point, “Why would I want to work at Best Buy?”

It‘s easy for me to answer, and if you are approached to consider an opportunity with us, I ask you to consider the following:

1)   Brick and mortar stores are definitely not dead. In fact, Warby Parker has now opened more than 20 locations in the US and Canada. Amazon has opened three stores and announced five more locations. Blue Nile has opened its first five mall stores. That is because the physical world gives us a chance to touch, hear, see and experience a product, as well as talk to an expert. When you seamlessly marry the physical world with the capabilities of a consumer smartphone, magic happens. And pure play e-tailers now understand this, too. At Best Buy, our stores play a large role in our e-commerce growth as about half of our online orders are either picked up by a customer in a store or shipped directly from a store to a customer’s home or office.

2)   Best Buy’s renewal is a turnaround success story. The stock market had been rewarding the decisions made by our CEO, Hubert Joly, before I started back in 2015. Shortly after Hubert was hired in fall of 2012, the stock price was less than $12. By December 2016, the stock reached $49. The company has consistently beat Wall Street expectations for profit, has gained market share and our customer experience scores have improved. The results of the turnaround have been consistent, credible and foundational to fuel our growth opportunities in the coming years.

3)   Change is part of Best Buy’s DNA. Change in technology is certain - competitors, vendors and innovators can disrupt the status quo at any time. A core Best Buy value, “learn from challenge and change”, has proven foundational to its successful turnaround because it empowers everyone in the company to allocate their time, attention and creative capital to the transformation agenda.

4)   The agent of change is digital. Best Buy opened the Seattle Technology Development Center to hire thought leaders who can lead the digital transformation of the omnichannel experience for the world’s largest consumer electronics retailer, and amplify work already underway in the development center at corporate headquarters in Minneapolis.  Since that time the company has seen great growth. After seeing online sales in Q3 increase by 24 percent, Barclays analyst Matt McClintock told CNBC: "That's one of the best e-commerce growth rates for the entire retail industry. That actually says that Best Buy is relevant online, that Amazon potentially isn't as big of a threat as people think for Best Buy as maybe it is for a Target or a Wal-Mart."

5)   Our passion is technology. As the leading consumer electronics retailer, Best Buy has the imperative to deliver revolutionary customer experiences for fans of consumer electronics; so, who is more capable of ensuring that customers are able to effortlessly enjoy the technology that powers their everyday lives than those of us who love our gadgets, the Internet of Things and mobile?

The team that Best Buy now has driving the business forward at the Seattle Technology Development Center raises my game every day. There was no way that I could have known that would be true when I started, given the number of them I had yet to meet back then. But if asked today why I would choose Best Buy, the team of dedicated and creative technology professionals (and CE fans) we have assembled would definitely be at the top of my list. See for yourself:

Best Buy's Seattle Tech Center from Yellow Tag Productions on Vimeo.



Private Beta Invitation For Gearhead Gal's Friends

Get an invite-only first look at a cool mobile location app!

My friends at Geodelic are launching the private beta of their GeoGuide product and you can help out by creating your very own personal city guide. And by participating in this beta, you can also enter to win a new iPad. I have already created mine, Gearheadgal's Diners & Dives, my homage to Guy's Triple D on the Food Network. No doubt you'll have your own ideas! Got favorite places to take your dogs for a hike? Know the finest flea markets? Have fun finding your inspiration, but hurry, the contest ends in a few weeks.  Click here now and submit your idea so you can build a guide that might win you your very own new iPad!


Could Amazon buy Hulu? WTIA Predicts for 2010

The Washington Technology Industry Association 2010 Predictions Dinner was held tonight in Seattle and that meant an entertaining evening of crystal ball reading and supposing. Is Twitter mainstream enough to make revenue and a profit in the next 12 months? The Seattle technology community is skeptical unless someone acquires it. That prospect was not wildly expected. Is Google going to end up with a stock price north of 700? The sentiment was much more favorable. The panel thought Google was poised to continue it's innovation trajectory with Internet services driving their technology across mobile and home electronics, going way beyond the PC.

One area the panel avoided was VoIP and wifi, which given their mention of Google's phone plans, and the momentum locally around Clearwire and nationally around free wifi, it was a little surprising not to see the topic emerging as a more mentionable factor in the panel's 2010 vision.

But no surprise, folks in Washington Technology are pulling for Microsoft to come through on Windows Mobile and Amazon Fresh to succeed where Home Grocer before had failed. A prediction that Amazon will acquire Hulu, was based on a belief that paid content is inevitable.

The common thread through this evening's postulations and hypotheses is the consumer. In past incarnations of these dinners, IT managers ruled. Today it is about the market for end users. Irrational as these business predictions may seem to you, the fact is the thing that matters most is the consumer.

Kudos to John Cook for corraling and unleashing the panelists using the right balance often lacking in moderators.


Mobile Apps - What Are They Good For?

Listening to the industry leaders speak about the application market in mobile, I am convinced the debate around the mobile web boils down to two camps - those who believe that applications will replace web browsing and content discovery and those that believe it won't. At the root of this tension appears to be two things: 1) whether apps will be valuable enough to consumers to monetize to the degree long tail websites have been for advertisers, and 2) how to measure success of an application after the initial transactional download.

As I hear the various stakeholders - carriers, application developers, content publishers - debate how the value chain must develop to service revenue goals, I am struck by how mobile applications serve so many purposes for marketers. For some, mobile apps are simply a part of an integrated marketing campaign, meant to service new customer acquisition goals. Other mobile apps help national advertisers localize offers through the use of the phone's GPS or cell tower coordinates.  A mobile app may simply add new chapters to an existing consumer-product brand story by offering opportunities to create or retain loyalists in a deeply entertaining or innovative way with the brand.

So, mobile apps - what are they good for? Read some of my thoughts after Rutberg WI09 here.