What's ironic is that it was this exact strategy that had led to Best Buy's sensational growth in the US, culminating in gracing the Harvard Business Review as the 'poster child' of social media enabled customer service, 'Twelp Force'.
But best of all, and most instructively for other UK retailers, PC/World did it all in the right order. First, they retrained the staff, in what 'help' really means. Definitely improved basic customer service, but then giving the colleagues (as I'm sure they're called), a real understanding of what customers really want – advice up front on which product to buy, help with installation, after sales service and even recycling of obsolete products. Finally, turn the colleagues from just shop floor assistants to real experts in TV, PC, and white goods.
Next revamp the retail environment, light and merchandise the products in a way that reflects that this is an exciting, innovative, technology rich category, and takes best in category learning from Apple and John Lewis. And negotiate exclusive distribution arrangements with the one brand that can provide a beautiful aura over everything – Apple.
And finally, and only finally, when the colleagues and experience lives up to it, use advertising to communicate the new positioning. Brand ads to showcase the 'differentiation' featuring unexpected examples of service – washing machine recycling; wall mounting Smart TVs; ads to talk to the technological expertise of the new colleagues (Darth Vader). And then product and price ads to 'compete' in the market. But product and price ads that have a '21st century tech' feel consistent with the new retail environment, and end with the Currys/PC World philosophy – We can help.
In the fascinating world of retail, Currys/PC World is a masterclass in survival and adaptation.
|Adwatch (Nov 28) Top 20 recall: Currys/PC World|
|1||(–)||McDonald's||Leo Burnett/OMD UK||49|
|3=||(–)||Lloyds TSB||RKCR Y&R/MEC||37|
|3=||(–)||Microsoft Surface||BMB, in-house/UM London||37|
|7||(19=)||Currys/PC World||M&C Saatchi/Walker Media||33|
|9||-12||WH Smith||DLKW Lowe/Carat||31|
|10=||(-)||Costa Coffee||Karmarama/Zenith Optimedia||29|
|12||(-)||Sony||Wieden + Kennedy Portland/OMD UK||27|
|16||(-)||Toys R Us||Active Pictures/MEC||22|
|17=||(33=)||Panasonic (Lumix G5)||LLR + Brave/Vizeum||20|
|17=||(-)||National Lottery||AMV BBDO/OMD UK||20|
|17=||(29=)||Tesco||The Red Brick Road/Initiative||19|
|Webwatch (Nov 28) Top 20 recall:
|3||(–)||Sony Pictures (Skyfall)||Spinnaker/Manning Gottlieb OMD||34|
|5||(–)||Paramount Pictures (Madagascar 3)||In-house/MEC||27|
|6||(–)||Marks & Spencer||In-house/In-house||24|
|8||(–)||Halifax||Adam & Eve DDB/MEC||19|
|12||(-)||Macmillan Cancer Support||Ranch/Vizeum||14|
|13=||(-)||Microsoft||BMB.LLP + In-house/In-house||13|
|15||(-)||Motorola Razr i||Goodby Silverstein + Ogilvy & Mather/Mindshare||12|
|16=||(-)||Mercedes Benz||Weapon 7/Maxus||11|
|18=||(15=)||YouView TV||Adam & Eve DDB/OMD UK||10|