Koolio

Thoughts & news on technology…well, mostly

Why Circuit City is getting killed by Best Buy


Before I begin telling you my recent shopping experience with Circuit City I want to say one thing: for any retail or consumer product/service company, I believe, at a minimum, Sr. Management (CEO, VP, COO, etc.) should be *required* to purchase their own products.  This way, they experience what their customers deal with and can resolve them.

Experience #1:

Two days ago, I got a coupon ($15 off any purchase over $99) in the mail from Circuit City and we (my girlfriend and I) decided to use it to by a digital camera (Canon SD870 IS) last night. Long story short, the coupon code wasn’t entered into their system and the customer service rep was 100% useless. We were told to try the coupon the following day (today) and it still wasn’t working. So, we called the 800 number again and asked to speak to a manager. The manager was able to take our order and apply a $15 credit. Needless to say, we wasted a total of 45 minutes trying to buy a product.

Experience #2:

I bought a Sandisk 2GB SD card (the one that has a built-in USB adapter) and chose in-store pickup. My order was placed last night at 11:30pm. Today, at around 10:45am, I get a voicemail from the local Circuit City store (Somerville, MA) saying the memory card is sold out and wanted to know if I wanted a refund or to have it shipped to me from the warehouse. I called back at 7pm and they told me my credit card was refunded. In case if you don’t know, Circuit City has a “guarantee” that you can pick up your item in-store within 24 minutes after placing your order. If they don’t have your order ready within 24 minutes, you get a $24 gift card. So, I called my local Circuit City and asked about getting the gift card…guess what? Yup, I was denied. Why? Because they called me within 24 minutes to tell me the item was sold out. Bottom line: that “guarantee” is a crock of crap. They’ll never give you the gift card.

What Circuit City does wrong:

  1. The IT team is not in-sync with the Marketing team with those coupon codes
  2. The customer service team is not empowered to rectify these types of issues
  3. The website shows items in-stock for store pickup when they’re not – a bad inventory management system

In the end, they’ve made the whole purchase experience very difficult and frustrating.  Now, Best Buy isn’t perfect by any means but at least I haven’t experienced these issues there.  In fact, Best Buy makes it very easy to spend your money there…which is part of the reason why Circuit City is getting killed – just compare their stock prices ($7.00 vs. $52.00).

Ok, enough of my ranting…

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Filed under: Retail, Shopping, Thoughts

5 Responses

  1. Matt says:

    Agreed 100%-I won’t step foot in a CC. Too many bad experiences!

  2. koolio says:

    Hey Matt!

    Yeah, I think this is the last time I shop at CC…ugh.

  3. Matt says:

    Funny you mention this. I actually work at Future Shop (owned by Best Buy). Future Shop is actually better than Best Buy but is only in Canada.

    I just wanted to say that as an employee of a retail store I am completely appalled at those stories. I can tell you that $15 off a Canon SD850IS is nothing considering the price of the camera. If I was there and my system wasn’t working there is no way I would put the onus on the customer to come back on their own time again so they can get a stupid coupon to work that the RETAIL store makes.

    If it happened to me I would simply discount the product $15, or even just call a manager and I’m sure they would be happy to discount it for you. I’m just curious, but have you had any problems at Best Buy?

  4. koolio says:

    Matt, CC needs someone like you to clean-up their retail act. It’s amazing how poorly managed that company is and how un-customer focused they are.

    Regarding Best Buy, I’ve never any issues using their coupon codes or in-store pickup. I did have one issue a few years ago: I bought a 20″ Apple Cinema Display (aluminum version) on BestBuy.com and 2 weeks later, the price dropped $200 or $300. So, I went to the brick and mortar store asking for a credit (using the 30 or 60-day price protection policy) and the kid at the returns counter said they couldn’t do it b/c it was purchased online and that I’d have to mail it back to BestBuy.com and re-purchase it. Long story short, I asked for a manager and he processed the refund.

    I learned something from that experience: Best Buy and BestBuy.com are two completely separate entities. Yes, they’re owned by Best Buy but they operate as separate entities. I was pretty peeved at the time and the only thing that saved Best Buy was that manager who had some common sense and refunded me the difference.

  5. Unan says:

    I work at a major electronics retailer (#1 in the country hint hint) and the issue you had with the website being completely separate no longer exists. Its hard when new ‘kids’ are getting hired and they take it upon themselves to say “no I cant do that” to a customer, when in fact they can. Discounting a camera would be a piece of cake, especially when you have the coupon in front of my face.

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