Best Buy's Strategy: 'Renew Blue, Ignite the Possible'

What is driving Best Buy’s Turnaround? Hubert Joly and Sharon McCollam. They are retail’s hottest dynamic duo.

Mr. Joly has set a terrific tone at Best Buy by establishing aggressive goals without over-promising on timelines. Like Walmart and Macy's, Best Buy is making tremendous strides in turning its physical footprint into an asset rather than a liability. As part of that, it has also ditched the myopic store-centricity that hobbled it in the past and is harnessing synergies between physical and digital, a feat that Ms. McCollam helped Williams Sonoma pull off prior to joining Best Buy. Branded shop-in-shops are another way that Best Buy is making the most of its bricks-based assets while allowing it to position as a flagship location for its partners. Doing so enables Best Buy to garner financial support from them, generating another revenue stream. Best Buy is firing on all fronts.

Read the full discussion and article online at Retail Wire.

Walmart Small Formats a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Walmart's small format push is a multi-dimensional proposition. Alternative formats obviously allow Walmart to penetrate under-served markets that can't support Supercenters, but they are also a critical link in Walmart's digital strategy. 

As Gisel Ruiz, Walmart's U.S. EVP and COO pointed out in a recent presentation, rural Walmart Express stores are turning items like bikes and smartphones into best-sellers, even though they aren't available in Express locations. Customers are taking advantage of Walmart's site-to-store capabilities in greater numbers and Walmart is light years ahead of other large-scale retailers in this capability. Walmart is also intentionally maintaining price integrity between formats and online rather than playing games which should engender shopper trust for the long term. Based on my comparisons, Walmart is also doing a great job of optimizing algorithms as its online prices regularly beat Amazon's.

Walmart is in ramp-up mode, building scale, flexing format attributes to suit specific markets and relentlessly refining the supporting logistics. This is a marathon, not a sprint and I wouldn't bet against Walmart's long-term success.

Catch the rest of the discussion at Retail Wire.

Kroger Buys

Kroger is smart to jump on the buy-don't-build bandwagon with its acquisition of Vitacost. E-commerce capabilities are one thing but Kroger's latest deal also brings a portfolio of health-focused owned and partnered brands, a highly-desirable user base and a robust online marketplace filled with unique items (that, thanks to Kroger’s Harris Teeter acquisition, will also be picked up in Kroger stores). Given its years-long relationship with Dunnhumby, Kroger is uniquely poised to make the most of the data insights that come as part of the deal as well. This one's a winner!