twice connect
careers

Best Buy Using Web, Mobile Apps To Drive Sales

10/01/2009 08:55:16 AM Eastern

New York - Best
Buy is launching new applications for the Web and mobile phones â€” the latter
developed by Google â€” to help drive sales and traffic this holiday season and
beyond.

 

Best Buy chief marketing officer Barry JudgeThe online apps
will appear on Best Buy's recently relaunched

 Best Buy's Dunn Upbeat On Chain's Holiday Prospects

Facebook page, which now features
Best Buy's full catalog of products and services, and is followed by some 1
million visitors, or "fans."

New features will
include a "Hint Hacker" that allows visitors to select a desired holiday gift
and send an email alert to a potential gift-giver. The recipient can then opt
in to receive product-related advertising, prompted by cookies, whenever
surfing online.

Other applications
include a Facebook Secret Santa; a "Holiday Morning Simulator" cartoon
Christmas card featuring photos selected by the sender; and a 25-song catalog
of holiday tunes, sung by a chorus of Best Buy Blue Shirts, that have been
altered to address gift-purchasing questions and can be attached to emails.

Best Buy chief
marketing officer Barry Judge, speaking at a media briefing here yesterday,
said the new applications are the fruits of the company's recently launched
Best Buy Remix API (application programming interface) initiative, which allows
outside developers to tap into the retailer's massive catalog of data, pricing
and images.

He said the
revamped Facebook site has the potential to attract up to 3 million to 4
million followers.

Best Buy has also
partnered with Google to develop traffic-driving applications for mobile
handsets. The first, slated to be released next month, will provide customers
with directions to the nearest Best Buy in response to a product query, and will
even guide them to the correct location within the store.

Shawn Score,
president of Best Buy Mobile â€” the wireless initiative launched three years ago
with Carphone Warehouse â€” said the retailer is also launching a dedicated Best
Buy Mobile Web site in October. The site will initially provide product
information and reviews, but will add sales and activation functionality after
the holiday season.

The new
initiatives come in addition to traditional marketing efforts. Despite a
smaller holiday advertising budget, Judge said the company will air six or
seven TV commercials this coming season that position the chain as "a place for
great gift ideas." The spots, which will feature Best Buy's "Twelpforce" â€” the
2,500 staffers who answer technology questions via Twitter â€” will also highlight
gaming, home theater and computer bundles, and iRex and Sony e-readers.

The spots will be
supplemented by vendor commercials, newspaper inserts and email marketing,
Judge said.