AfterDawn: Tech news

Wal-Mart targets Circuit City customers

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 19 May 2009 10:15 User comments (18)

Wal-Mart targets Circuit City customers With Circuit City out of the picture several billion dollars in electronics sales is up for grabs. Wal-Mart is upgrading the electronics departments in 3,500 locations to ensure they get a share of that money.
The changes will include additional space for Blu-ray players and movies, high-definition televisions, PCs, and mobile phones.

"Circuit City's business is up for grabs right now and we expect to get our share," said Gary Severson, Wal-Mart's Senior Vice President of home entertainment.

Another major move will be the addition of ePlay kiosks to 77 stores. They will offer DVD, Blu-ray, and video game rentals.

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18 user comments

119.5.2009 11:04

Smart in a way, but I think it was Wal-Mart that had a hand in putting Circuit City out of business to being with.

219.5.2009 11:17

no, blame that all on the ceo and his braintrust idea of how to kill a company.

Wal-Mart will definately get a boost from this but on the down side I expect their customer service/knowledge to be lacking in this area.

319.5.2009 11:27

I think some Walmarts have already upgraded their electronics department because almost half of the stores back wall is mounted with hug LCD TV's, which was not there several months ago.

419.5.2009 11:49

Clearly a smart play for Severson.

519.5.2009 12:01

I agree rosedog, If you need any tech advise you wont find it there. wal-mart is the king of temporary help and no one with any tech sense would work there long for minimum wage or just over.

Still I would welcome cheaper products than you get from them bandits at worst buy

619.5.2009 12:14

Originally posted by cult4me:
I agree rosedog, If you need any tech advise you wont find it there. wal-mart is the king of temporary help and no one with any tech sense would work there long for minimum wage or just over.

Still I would welcome cheaper products than you get from them bandits at worst buy
I think any type of knowledge it out the window these days. Wal-Mart employees rotate departments frequently, so that lawn & garden employee might not be able to tell you much about an HDTV other than the price.

On the other hand, Best Buy is not much better. I used to work there, and the training is very cult-like. They pump you up to sell extra crap, and they tell you why it's great, but with no real proof. Yes, HDMI offers a better picture, but they don't tell you that it's digital picture and sound through one cable; you have to figure that out for yourself. Hence, this is why the blue shirts appear clueless, and deadens the appeal of the overpriced merchandise in the store. Much like Sears!

However, it's still better to have be offered the product (sales pitch) and make the decision in-store, rather than at Wal-Mart where they probably don't have a clue what HDMI is, won't mention it or why you might need it!
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 19 May 2009 @ 12:15

719.5.2009 18:36

You never know. Wal-Mart could always do away with its morons who work in their electronics dept and actually hire workers who can learn some IT or at least some basic electronics skills. They certainly have the money and resources. Pay them some more money and expand the department and they will be a competitive company.

819.5.2009 18:51

I've worked at Best Buy for 2 years and usually enjoy it. At our last store meeting, one topic of discussion was the upcoming conversion of all Circuit City cards into Best Buy cards. I assumed this to mean gift cards and credit cards alike. No word on whether this was a local or company-wide occurrence.

Wal-Mart is Best Buy's largest competitor, both companies know this. Our local Wal-Mart has doubled it's electronics department in the last year, and are now adding a heat wall (HDTVs hung against the back wall) and a specific Blu-Ray section within their media.

I agree with SProdigy up to a point. Yes, selling the product is only a small part of what Best Buy wants its employees to do, attaching "services and solutions" (i.e. Service Plans, Geek Squad services, branded payments options) is the goal for every customer that walks into the store.

However, I disagree with the statements made regarding training and general employee knowledge. While I cannot speak for every Best Buy out there, I can say that the tech knowledge possessed by 80% of the employees I work with is at least "advanced". Not necessarily knowing the board layout inside an LCDTV, nor the memory frequency on a stock Dell notebook, but we can look it up if you need to know. Everyone has their strong/weak points, and yes, the training Best Buy gives is mediocre, but the knowledge most employees have when hired is usually above and beyond what is needed to sell a computer/TV/PS3 anyway. I would say each department is staffed with "enthusiasts" as much as possible.

Now, don't make me out for a Best Buy apologist. I disagree with many of the sales techniques and accessory pricing, but that is not the discussion here. Employees can't do much about the cost of a 6' USB 2.0 cable ($34).

(--To gallagher, I can't remember the last time my "basic electronics skills" were ever needed by someone where I work in the computer department. I think teaching the ins & outs of the tech is more important than soldering skills or programming know-how -- If that's what you meant, of course :)

Sorry for the long post.

919.5.2009 21:18

Depends which Best Buy you go to. The one here in San Diego is filled with idiots...bet they could barely turn on a PS3. The one in Portland, however, seems to have some competent employees.

1019.5.2009 23:52

Bought a DVD Player at wal-mart the other day. When I asked him some questions he didnt have a clue what I was talking about and had to interrupt another employee with a customer to have him answer the questions.

If our wal-mart plans to do this they better get on the ball as the old CC here is in the exact same shopping center complex and HH Gregg has already bought the old CC building and will be opening in about 3 months or less.

1120.5.2009 0:48

Originally posted by Xplorer4:
Bought a DVD Player at wal-mart the other day. When I asked him some questions he didnt have a clue what I was talking about and had to interrupt another employee with a customer to have him answer the questions.

If our wal-mart plans to do this they better get on the ball as the old CC here is in the exact same shopping center complex and HH Gregg has already bought the old CC building and will be opening in about 3 months or less.
Cmon guys, you don't go to Walmart and expect them to know all this tech stuff, even with DVD plyers. How hard is it to do your homework online before shopping at walmart for electronic gear?
This way, you don't waste your time with employees not knowing what the heck you're talking about.

1220.5.2009 6:53

Im waiting for the day the start selling cars...

1320.5.2009 6:57

Quote:
Originally posted by Xplorer4:
Bought a DVD Player at wal-mart the other day. When I asked him some questions he didnt have a clue what I was talking about and had to interrupt another employee with a customer to have him answer the questions.

If our wal-mart plans to do this they better get on the ball as the old CC here is in the exact same shopping center complex and HH Gregg has already bought the old CC building and will be opening in about 3 months or less.
Cmon guys, you don't go to Walmart and expect them to know all this tech stuff, even with DVD plyers. How hard is it to do your homework online before shopping at walmart for electronic gear?
This way, you don't waste your time with employees not knowing what the heck you're talking about.
Youre totally right, better go in their knowing what you want. Circuit City never was great at customer service anyways.

1420.5.2009 8:01

Circuit city hasn't had a lock down on electronics for quite some time now so by saying "Wal-mart targeting Circuit City customers" is way off base. Wake me up when Wal-mart undercuts internet electronic purchases :)

1520.5.2009 11:10

Originally posted by ace62987:
...but the knowledge most employees have when hired is usually above and beyond what is needed to sell a computer/TV/PS3 anyway. I would say each department is staffed with "enthusiasts" as much as possible.
I can definitely agree with that statement about "enthusiasts". I'd say employees that work with music, movies and games are really on top of things, but you won't always find someone who knows what they are talking about with computers or televisions. Sometimes they only know what they are "told" to know/say!

Is Best Buy still using those "segment" stereotypes to sell to their customers? (Jill, Buzz, etc.?)

1620.5.2009 12:11

Quote:
Is Best Buy still using those "segment" stereotypes to sell to their customers? (Jill, Buzz, etc.?)
Technically, yes. It's still part of the customer model, but it's not really used by employees on the floor. My store is a "Ray/Maria" store, so we cater to middle-America. Because of this, we don't have a Magnolia Home Entertainment section, we have a tiny selection of musical instruments (an area that Best Buy is greatly expanding), and several other adjustments designed for family orientation. It shapes our store, but not our day-to-day interactions.

1720.5.2009 13:32

Quote:
Originally posted by Xplorer4:
Bought a DVD Player at wal-mart the other day. When I asked him some questions he didnt have a clue what I was talking about and had to interrupt another employee with a customer to have him answer the questions.

If our wal-mart plans to do this they better get on the ball as the old CC here is in the exact same shopping center complex and HH Gregg has already bought the old CC building and will be opening in about 3 months or less.
Cmon guys, you don't go to Walmart and expect them to know all this tech stuff, even with DVD plyers. How hard is it to do your homework online before shopping at walmart for electronic gear?
This way, you don't waste your time with employees not knowing what the heck you're talking about.
The thing is i did my homework, and knew which one i wanted before going in. Problem is they had it online but not in there store, which is usually very common here. Maybe when I-69 rolls through then things will change.

1825.5.2009 9:41

To Sprodigy -Didn't read all the comments here but read that USING HDMI CABLES ARE NOT NECESSARY, using composite cables give as good resolution. Do a search?

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