In the last month, super big box retailer Best Buy has announced partnerships with both Mitsubishi (for EV vehicles) and now with Ford (syncing customers with SYNC). What's Best Buy up to?
Automakers have enthusiastically embraced the concept of cars-as-consumer electronics — or at least ways of transporting our music and conversations without hassle. The other concept they're on board with? Electrification. The former is an area where Bust Buy is already in a great position and the latter, through home-charging installation, is an area of potential growth.
It's an interesting market position for Best Buy to stake out. Dealerships have always been the main contact point for dealing with car technology, but the mix of negative associations with most service departments and the frightening thought of asking a dude in an oil-stained jumpsuit to handle your Blackberry leaves an opening for the right company. And Best Buys are everywhere.
For the moment, other than requiring you buy the phone from them before they help you, there's no direct charge associated with a Geek Squad tech helping you get your iPhone to connect to your Focus. The deal with Mitsubishi involves using EV vehicles as Geek Squad rides, is limited in reach, and has no real impact on customers.
According to Barry Judge, the Chief Marketing Officer for Best Buy, "Customers are taking us into this space. We want to help them connect with technology where they are using it, in this case cars. We are always talking to interesting companies about new things."
We don't envision a future where you go to a mechanic to replace your brakes and a Geek Squad tech to resync your iPhone, but we're not convinced this isn't what Best Buy is thinking.
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