There’s a lot of buzz in and around the industry about Best Buy’s financial woes and how it may actually take the company under. In fact, there are all sorts of celebratory LinkedIn posts and Tweets abound that the HomeAV market will be upright, again, when Best Buy goes bankrupt.
But that will be the worst thing ever for the HomeAV market and the CEDIA integrator community.
Sure, there’s no doubt that Best Buy has put a pounding on many HomeAV installers. What was once just a box-house morphed into the largest custom integration firm in the USA and is just slaughtering any and every AV dealer that tries to compete with it in low-end or even mid-range priced AV installs. Over the course of ten years, the Best Buy Geek Squad went from being PC repair-men to all-out HomeAV integration guys — and now they even program Control4 control systems. There’s probably no other company that has single-handedly kicked-ass in the custom AV integration space like Best Buy has — and it’s the most profitable division (many say it’s carrying the company right now).
And I can see why, after you’ve been getting your butt’s kicked and your company completely thrashed by them, you’d want to see Best Buy go under. It’d give you your hardware business back, huh?
Well, you’d be dead-wrong. And, wrong in more ways than one.
Not only would Best Buy’s demise just make the Internet retailers (those same ones that Best Buy is ironically claiming is killing them because of showrooming – the practice of going to a store like Best Buy to pick out your new HDTV and then going online where it’s 5, 10 and even 20 percent cheaper to buy it) stronger, but it would make them the more proactive at getting into more of the HomeAV space. It wouldn’t be just TVs that Amazon would be selling, but higher-end speakers, switchers, signal routing and distribution and even control systems – and I mean big ones – the Crestrons and AMXs.
But, there’s even a bigger problem with Best Buy going under that should be worrying you. You see, the fact that Best Buy has taken much of the hardware business away from the HomeAV market has not only weeded out the trunk-slammers out there, but it’s also forced many of you to stop focusing on making money through product sales and moved you towards selling more and more intellectual property. Stuff like systems design, labor-based integration services, simplification expertise, service and 24-hour monitoring are way, way more profitable than selling gear. And, if Best Buy goes belly-up, I think you may de-focus from all that you’ve done to build up your service expertise and refocus your efforts on product sales, only to find yourself head-to-head with Amazon — a battle you CANNOT win.
So, for all you Best Buy haters out there, beware! You might just get what you’re hoping for and it may just put you out of business…