Slowly, methodically, Best Buy continues to lay the bricks of its e-commerce infrastructure as its website nears a long awaited relaunch.
The site, www.bestbuy.com, is presently under construction and is no longer selling music and movies. Visitors are informed that a new online store, set to "open shortly," will offer thousands of products and services that can be bought, returned and exchanged either through the site or at the chain's big box locations.
The only question is when. In January, the company said it had secured online authorization from most of its CE suppliers, and would launch within the quarter. More recently, executive VP/marketing Wade Fenn, speaking at an e-tailing investor conference, said the new click & mortar site would be up by September, with a full-line assortment available in time for holiday sales. But a Best Buy spokesperson told TWICE that the revamped site is slated to begin selling CE products by the end of this month, and would add new merchandise throughout the summer.
In the meantime, the company is conducting a dry run of the Microsoft supported cyber store by having employees place test orders.
In other preparatory actions:
- The retailer's Internet subsidiary, BestBuy.com, forged an online alliance with RollingStone.com, giving it access to the pop magazine's music news, reviews, webcasts, videos and photographs. BestBuy will also become RollingStone's exclusive online retailer of CDs and cassettes, and will create and manage a new co-branded version of RollingStone's online store.
- BestBuy.com hired DDB Worldwide to develop a $50 million ad campaign for the cyber store that will encompass online and traditional media.
- BestBuy.com hired Everypath to develop wireless web applications that will allow online shoppers to make purchases at the site via smart phones and Palm VIIs.
In related news, Best Buy has joined the WorldWide Retail Exchange, a business-to-business marketplace created in March by 14 international retailers.
The chain joins such retail heavyweights as Kmart, Target, J.C. Penney, CVS, Walgreens and Britain's Marks & Spencer in the venture, which will allow members to procure merchandise, supplies, equipment and other business-related goods and services from a wide range of suppliers.
The WorldWide Retail Exchange was created several weeks after Sears, French retailer Carrefour and Oracle announced plans to develop a similar business-to-business buying service.