ExSKUse Me? (Rant: Big Box Electronics Retail)
This is going to be one of those blogs where I go into Old Man Mode, and bear in mind I’m only 37.
Whenever I go into a big box retail electronics store (Best Buy, hhgregg, etc.), beforehand I have gone online, found the exact thing I need, confirmed it is in the store I will be going to via that store’s website, and written down the SKU number along with the name and model number of the item on a piece of memo pad paper.
Sales staff – particularly those under the age of 27 – get very annoyed when I present them with that piece of paper and say, “One of these, please.” They don’t like that. I’ve written down the name of the product, the model and the SKU, and I get “the look”, as in the look of, “Why are you wasting my time?” Well, sales dude or dudette, you’re on the floor, I’m a customer, being polite, here’s the SKU, now go get it. Obviously I don’t say it like that, but you get the point.
And why don’t I go and find the item myself? Because THE STORE KEEPS CHANGING AROUND. There is zero consistency between one month and the next for any big box electronics retailer. Things keep shifting, moving, shifting, moving again and the vicious cycle continues. I’m surprised they don’t provide you with a handheld GPS at the door just to find stuff given how often things change.
Radio Shack is one exception to the norm here. Love or hate that store, if you walk up to the counter and give them a SKU, they’re happy to fetch what you want to buy. Why? Because RS’s SKU system is one of the best in the business. They have their SKU system down to a science so well that even an employee with only two day’s worth of training can find an item by SKU easily in any Radio Shack store. RS lives and dies by the SKU, and said honestly that makes me a very happy camper because they genuinely appreciate customers who come in and know what they’re looking for.
My guess as to why other big box electronics retailers hate customers who present SKUs is because there is zero opportuntiy to upsell you anything at that point. You know what you want, you’re locked in on getting just that product and nothing else, and there’s nothing they can do about it. That ruffles their feathers, but I seriously don’t care. Maybe it’s time they changed their floor sales policy to not so heavily rely on upselling just to make a buck.