In a move that’s been anticipated within the industry for quite some time now, Verizon and AT&T announced today that they will be opening micro locations inside select Best Buy locations. Best Buy has become a hodgepodge of stores as of late, being a hub for both Samsung and Apple experience shops in addition to housing their own Best Buy Mobile wireless stores. With Verizon and AT&T now adding to the mix, Best Buy could truly become a one-stop-shop for all your electronic needs.
Why Best Buy? Why Now?
Those will likely be the two biggest questions behind this new strategy of AT&T and Verizon, and the answer shouldn’t be all that surprising. Opening smaller experience stores affords the two largest carriers in the US the ability to still offer their products and services, but with dramatically cheaper operating costs. There’s no commissioned sales reps to pay, because Best Buy employees will be manning these locations. Without having to actually pay for brick and mortar stores, both companies would save gobs of money, which they’ll in turn reinvest in more micro stores which will save them even more money. In the end, we could be looking at the start of the death of dedicated wireless retail stores.
With consumer focus shifting more and more towards connected devices, AT&T and Verizon have to find more ways to get their devices into the hands of those willing to pay for them. Most customers that go into a Best Buy location are usually there to check out a new TV, but now they’d be able to walk out with that and service to go along with it. Sales of wearables are increasing month over month, with the Apple Watch, Pebble, and Samsung Gear line all leading the way. It is these types of devices and services that AT&T and Verizon will be looking to showcase inside their Best Buy experience stores, and with more customer eyes on said products, this move will pay huge dividends for all parties involved.
As far as a time-table for this to start happening, AT&T has committed to opening their stores by the “end of 2015” while Verizon plans of dropping at least 100 locations in Best Buys across the nation by the end of the month. The wireless industry is already undergoing a massive shift in business strategy, could this latest move be its boldest yet?
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