It wasn’t too long ago that Best Buy‘s (NYSE:BBY) viability was in doubt. E-commerce retailers like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) were taking market share, and many of Best Buy’s stores simply weren’t set up well to compete. In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on Dec. 13, Fool.com contributors Jason Hall and Danny Vena discuss Best Buy’s impressive transformation and what could be ahead.
Jason Hall: This company is an absolute survivor. You go back to the early 2000s when Best Buy was really just emerging as a national player. What a lot of people don’t know is that the company almost got put out of business for bait-and-switch tactics because they had a high-pressure commission salesforce, and they were baiting and switching. And the company, they still deny that, but the reality is that’s what they were doing.
They came away from it, they dropped their entire sales staff to hourly, changed the model completely. Coincided with the birth of the internet and people not really needing to find a salesperson to explain the difference between two dryers anymore — that’s what the internet is for. They revolutionized their business and went on a 10-year raging growth path. Then the internet started to become the enemy of the business, as Matt was talking about. Then they were able to pivot with their omnichannel. That’s worked really well.
I think just right now, they’re dealing with the fact that everything they sell has a semiconductor in it. There’s not enough of those around anymore. If that’s a problem in the near term. But I think it’s an opportunity in the long term because everything they sell has a semiconductor in it, that means they are selling the things that people want. I think it fits right in the middle of this pack. It’s a good, strong business. It’s a survivor, probably not a market beater, market killer anyway, probably a run-at-market-perform business. But I think it’s pretty well positioned.
Danny Vena: Yes, this is a company that I voted probably the high end of middle of the pack. I voted this No. 4 [out of 10 “holiday shopping” stocks]. For me, I think one of the more overlooked things about Best Buy, and I absolutely agree with everything that Jason said and the fact that the company has done remarkably well at doing the omnichannel business during the pandemic. They had folks order stuff online, pickup in store so they could get it right away. They were able to tap into that remote work from home, trends that happened.
I think one of the most overlooked things about what Best Buy has done is they have introduced essentially a subscription program. They already had one where you could pay $199 a year and you could bring in your computer and have them diagnosis it. They could add software, they could do a lot of things. Now, they have changed that to where you get unlimited calls with Geek Squad. They will help you with essentially anything having to do with electronics. That I think is going to be a high-margin business. I think it’s going to lift their margins. I think it gives them an opportunity to keep their brand front of mind with consumers.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.