November 17, 2005, 12:00 AM

BestBuy.com says it’s about more than electronics with new design center

Seeking to boost consumer awareness that it is more than a consumer electronics retailer, BestBuy.com has launched a new interactive education tool that allows visitors to design their kitchen or laundry area, and stock it with appliances.

 

Seeking to boost consumer awareness that it is more than a consumer electronics retailer, BestBuy.com has launched a new interactive education tool that allows visitors to design their kitchen or laundry area, and stock it with appliances.

Called the Kitchen & Laundry Design center, users can select pre-designed layouts or create a custom room using their own specifications. Layouts are viewed in three-dimensional or two-dimensional graphics and can be rotated 360 degrees right or left. Zoom capabilities, top views, and a button that opens cabinet doors round out the features. BestBuy.com does not sell cabinets, but includes them in the design feature so customers can get a true sense of what their appliances will look like in the home.

All appliances used in pre-designed and that are available for custom layouts are displayed in the right hand border of the page along with their price. Users can click on the appliance to view it separately, read about its operating features, and compare it to like models in the same price range. My Virtual Model, Inc. developed the application.

Once the design is completed, users can save an electronic copy of their design and e-mail it to friends and family to receive feedback. The feature is part of a viral marketing strategy aimed at creating tools and services on BestBuy.com that introduces the site, its products, guided selling tools, and the retailer’s stores to a new audience.

“Best Buy has invested well and wisely in guided selling tools,” says Kent Allen, president of consulting firm The Research Trust. “Once someone commits the time to learn how to use these tools, they will come back. The design center is a very sophisticated use of guided selling applications.”

Guided selling tools, such as the design center, are a way to build in-store traffic by providing visitors to BuyBest.com with just enough information to whet their appetite so they head to a store to view the products in person. Once in the store, Best Buy’s personal shopping assistants can then leverage the customer’s knowledge about the desired product to generate cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

The tactic is also a way for multi-channel retailers to use the web to drive sales across other channels, as well as track online conversion rates outside the web, according to Ken Burke, CEO of e-commerce technology provider MarketLive. “If retailers provide consumers with a page they can print and take to a store, as well as instruct in-store sales personnel to ask how they came to the store, they can get a better sense of who their multi-channel customers are and how they use the web,” says Burke.

 

 

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