CompUSA, a previous “top three” electronics retail chain in the US, is now back in action with a whole new strategy. After filing for bankruptcy two years ago, and now a member of parent company Systemax, CompUSA is coming back with lower prices and remodeled stores.
Most controversially, CompUSA is enabling comparison shopping by way of every computer in the store (via the web). Ever wanted to go to the store to look at a product and then go home and order it on the web at a cheaper price? Now you can make your purchase with Amazon, at CompUSA, based on the product you like in the store. Of course, that’s not what they’re shooting for.
Gilbert Fiorentino, chief executive of the Technology Products Group at Systemax, calls the new approach “retail 2.0.” They are introducing crazy prices, a more organized store layout and the ability for customers to educate themselves prior to making a purchase. In their day, CompUSA was posting about $5 billion in sales across 216 stores nationally.
So will CompUSA have what it takes to make a sustainable return to the retail market? Time will tell, but as a consumer who wants extrinsic satisfaction post-purchase, I enjoy walking into a store to by my electronics.
With Circuit City out of the mix, having sold everything from their products to the shelves and registers, Best Buy is really the last electronics-focused, big-box retailers (Fry’s doesn’t count).
So with a wide-open market of opportunity I think they’ll be successful, so long as they focus on their core strategies and don’t deviate from their evolutionary vision of “retail 2.0.” It’s going to be challenging, but if they can make it work it will be well worth the reward.
Check out CompUSA Comes Back From the Dead for more info on the comeback.