The web is influencing customers’ buying decisions at consumer electronics retailer Best Buy Co. and contributed significantly to the company’s 28% increase in sales last year, Best Buy says. Sales reached $19.6 billion for the year ended March 2 and the company this week announced 3-for-2 stock split in May, its seventh since 1985. Best Buy, which operates more than 1,900 retail stores under Best Buy, Future Shop, Sam Goody, Suncoast and three other brands, has a web site for each brand.
Best Buy doesn’t break out online transactions as percentage of sales because the web and store channels are so tightly integrated, a spokeswoman says. But the web played a key role in Best Buy’s cross–channel strategy. Company surveys in the fourth quarter showed that 39% of customers visited the web site before shopping the store; 19% said their store purchases were heavily influenced by research they’d done at the web site.
Numbers in both categories have increased significantly in the past year, says the spokeswoman, showing that the web and stores are increasingly linked in shoppers’ buying behavior. “We don’t see that consumers see a difference between shopping online and in store, because so many do research online and shop in the store. So we report the sales as one number rather than breaking it out separately,” she says.