revealing retail metrics

brand-as-business bit:  In a recent feature, Bloomberg Businessweek detailed “The Battle for Best Buy, the Incredible Shrinking Big Box.”  It was an informative piece about the retailer’s challenges but what caught my eye were the stats outlining key retail metrics:

  • first, real estateCostco leads the pack of featured retailers at $1,031 and GameStop is not far behind — who knew?  Perhaps GameStop is indeed reinventing itself successfully.  Also, although Apple stores are specialty stores and so not a direct comparison to any of the listed brands except GameStop, it’s worth noting that the company averages $5,647 in sales per square foot at its U.S. stores, according to research by RetailSails.
  • e-commerce — I wasn’t surprised to see Amazon top the list of sales for e-commerce charts, but the #2 e-tailer, Staples, was somewhat unexpected — I suppose small businesses are buying big ticket office equipment and furniture online — again, who knew?!  Importantly, though, at $48.1BB Amazon’s sales dwarf any other brand’s.
  • customer base — Of online consumer electronics shoppers, 25% visit bestbuy.com, 41% visit amazon.com, and only 3% visit apple.com.  While this reinforces the sad state of bestbuy.com’s consumer appeal, it also indicates that a lot of shoppers are visiting sites other than Best Buy”s and Amazon’s — where are these people shopping?  Hmmm… Also, general “online CE shoppers” are not buying at apple.com — either they are buying in Apple stores, or they’re not buying Apple at all — methinks it’s the former.
  • conversion — 31% of bestbuy.com shoppers buy something vs. 81% of amazon.com shoppers and 76% of apple.com shoppers.  This tells me bestbuy.com shoppers are primarily using the site to browse or to reverse showroom (research online, then buy in store).  Neither of these behaviors are necessarily bad, provided the company figure out a way to capture more of the sales when shoppers do convert to buyers.

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