The Future of Best Buy Canada: An RCC Breakfast Event by Ron Wilson, COO onstage

The Future of Best Buy Canada: An RCC Breakfast Event by Ron Wilson, COO


This article was written by one of VL’s team members whoattended the RCC’s Leaders in Retail Breakfast Series, featuring Ron Wilson, COO of Best Buy Canada. Inspired by what was heard about Best Buy’s plans, we had to share their thoughts! (Fun fact: did you know that VL is partnered with the Canadian Best Buy marketplace to help retailers integrate with the platform? Find out more here.) 

Keep reading below for the full account!

I recently attended the RCC’s Best Buy Breakfast. Part of the ongoing Leaders in Retail Breakfast Series hosted by the Retail Council of Canada, this particular event was hosted by speaker Ron Wilson, COO of Best Buy Canada. Ron did a fantastic job hosting, and he did not hold back on telling the audience about the future direction of Best Buy, further supporting some of the research we had done for our Best Buy Marketplace How-To Guide!


The Future of Best Buy

Over the course of the hour-long breakfast presentation, Ron Wilson, COO of Best Buy Canada, covered topics such as the Best Buy Marketplace, Best Buy Physical Stores, Best Buy Customer Service, and Best Buy’s general direction, to how Best Buy’s customer experience is boosted by a seamless shopping experience between phone, tablet, PC, laptop, and in-store. Surrounding each discussion point, Ron also detailed various aspects of what makes Best Buy different from the competition.

A theme fully explored in our Best Buy Marketplace How-To Guide, Ron spoke on how the Best Buy (Canadian) Marketplace, now open to third party sellers, has been an ongoing success for the Best Buy banner. Best Buy has continued to introduce many new vendors through the marketplace.

As an example of the marketplace’s success, Ron discussed the luggage category on In its pre-marketplace model, Best Buy did not sell luggage asidefrom backpacks and accessory bags. This is a far cry from today, now among the largest luggage retailers in Canada. Best Buy has been experimenting with many new product categories that complement existing products (as shown in the slide in the image below). With more categories launching and others expanding rapidly (which we break down in our ebook), the future of Best Buy’s Canadian marketplace and Best Buy storefronts is looking good!

rcc-breakfast-retailers-best-buy-marketplace-emmett-graham-picture-oct-2016Ron Wilson, COO of Best Buy Canada, takes the stage for the RCC’s Leaders in Retail Breakfast Series.


Best Buy: In Store and Online

The rapid and ongoing success of the Best Buy Canadian Marketplace model left many audience members inquisitive about the future of the Best Buy store and it’s role in the future Best Buy omni-channel model.

Ron assured us that the Best Buy store locations are here to stay; in fact, in light of the success of the marketplace, he said that most stores are not big enough!

Best Buy has always been an industry leader in store design. The success of Best Buy’s Canadian marketplace has given Best Buy’s stores an exciting chance to pivot and be industry leaders once again. As Ron explained, the new Best Buy store layout will enable quick and easy swapping of displays with less visual obstructions. This new store is designed with both customers and sellers in mind – something that runs against most traditional big box store concepts. Because Best Buy carries cutting edge technology products that tend to have quick successions of newer, more updated versions, having flexible in-store displays will be essential to keeping product displays easy up-to-date and visually attractive, ultimately keeping customers in store longer.


The Next Level of Customer Experience

Best Buy also continues to strive to providing a cutting edge customer experience in-store. In fact, Ron spoke on a new customer service feature that will bring the cohesive experience to new heights. Currently being tested in some stores, Ron told the audience about a new consumer $20/month subscription program that serves as a sort of all-in-one technology concierge subscription service.

Subscribers would be able to call their dedicated specialist for ANY tech-related questions. An expansion of the Geek Squad concept, these specialists can be called to fix or troubleshoot any or all products, carried by Best Buy or not. This program is absolutely amazing in that customers could, as one example, call their “concierge” to ask his/her opinion on the best 30’ TV. This same specialist would both recommend and install said product with no added work for the customer! Sign me up!


The Store Model Meets Distribution Center

Did you know?: Some Canadian Best Buy stores are unique in that each store is its own distribution centre.

This innovative backend arrangement allows products to get to market much faster and allows very high levels of visibility across all shopping platforms. For example: if a customer in Halifax buys a product on, the shipping information will be sent to the nearest Best Buy store for the said item, and the item will be shipped shortly thereafter. With this model, customers also have the option to pick up their products in-store or have items shipped directly to their home.

As Ron pointed out during his talk, this complex mix of delivery and pickup options has and has to have deep visibility across all Best Buy systems. This requires a high degree of very sophisticated data integration within the internal Best Buy technology stack. For businesses selling into the Best Buy Marketplace, this means being fully integrated into the marketplace platform is a must do. (Learn more here.)

The result is that Best Buy gives customers a uniquely transparent and seamless shopping experience across all shopping platforms! This level of sophistication is only possible because of Best Buy’s team of integrators who link the complex API’s of each application to enable data to flow where it’s needed when it’s needed. Most businesses, however, do not have the resources of Best Buy. If you find yourself or your business struggling with linking systems and data, VL can help: learn more here.



The Future of Best Buy

From Ron’s RCC Leaders in Retail Breakfast Series talk, and from the intensive research VL did in compiling our Best Buy Marketplace How-To Guide, it’s clear Best Buy will continue to be an in industry leader in the technology retail space. Through their marketplace and innovative store designs, Best Buy Canada will continue to expand their channel reach and offerings, and attract top talent to fill their sales and service roles.

One bit that Ron Wilson, COO of Best Buy Canada left the audience with really resonated with me was that successful marketplaces run very much like a math equation. With this equation in hand (literal or not), the Best Buy Marketplace ‘knows’ what to look for in terms of their sellers and category mix, and the marketplace offers a constantly evolving platform that allows incorporation of new products and product categories. Best Buy gets these ‘ideas’ from a highly integrated marketplace ecosystem, combined carefully with consumer data and other big data insights.

Ron spoke about the baby products category on as an example of how the marketplace is incorporating new product categories. The baby products category is currently under represented on – there are only 236 items sold on the marketplace while the Best Buy brand (online and in-store) sells a whopping total of 4329 items. You can learn more about what channels are currently underrepresented and how your business can move towards adopting as a sales channel in VL’s Free Best Buy How-To Guide.



A Final Thought On Other Cutting-Edge Omni-Channel Retailers

Wrapping up the breakfast session, Ron was asked what other companies he thought were doing great jobs in the omni-channel retailer space. He mentioned one Canadian company by name: MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op). A smaller, more boutique retailer, Ron’s shoutout to MEC proves that retailers don’t need to be big to have an optimised customer experience! The secret, in VL’s opinion?: The key is the use of reliable, professional data integration service providers like VL who can make moving data into complex channels simple!



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