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Not Shipping Holiday Orders by Best Buy Is A Deadly Sin


In the business of direct retail sales, that is retailing via catalog and/or internet, a retailers’ performance is measurable in ways that go far beyond metrics for bricks and mortar stores. Online it’s easy to evaluate number of clicks to buy, conversion rates (shoppers to buyers) and abandoned carts, etc. In a physical store if a consumer can’t find the size or color they want they leave, perhaps without the retailer even knowing they missed an opportunity to sell a product to that specific consumer.

Online – it is totally different. Every move by a site visitor can be evaluated. That data in the hands of a good direct merchant is used to improve performance, manage inventories, determine what products to feature and how to communicate to consumers.

Communication is at the core of great consumer relations. Best Buy doesn’t seem to get it.

Best Buy is known for prioritizing their bricks and mortar stores over their online stores. And now their online shoppers have found that out in a very painful way. Black Friday weekend shoppers at we’re told as recently as December 23 that orders placed Thanksgiving weekend would not be shipped prior to Christmas. With no back order notices and no other communication, consumers were caught flat-footed by Best Buy’s lack of communication and seeming little regard for customer service.

From the Huffington Post, “Tom Nenon, a philosophy professor at the University of Memphis, is vexed with his online shopping experience at Best Buy, a sentiment shared by other U.S. Internet shoppers this holiday season. Just days before Christmas, he received an email from the top U.S. consumer electronics chain informing him that his online order for a 42” Samsung TV will not be fulfilled.

“You can count on me not being a Best Buy customer anymore,” Nenon told Reuters on Friday, adding that he was disappointed that the chain tried to make him buy an older model at the same price as a replacement, rather than trying to make amends for its shortcoming.”

Best Buy’s self-destructive interaction here is perplexing. It costs real money, perhaps $250 or more to attract and convert individuals to become shoppers on a retailers website. If so, why would a retailer like Best Buy seemingly go out of their way to repel customers? I’m not a Best Buy insider so I can only speculate. But this type of decision-making begins at the top of the management chain – and that’s not a good sign for Best Buy.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Nelson Serrano permalink
    01/16/2012 9:56 pm

    On December 13th 2011 we had ordered several items from for a combined birthday-Christmas gift. A week, or so
    after placing the order we received an email from Best Buy explaining that some of the items we had ordered are on “back order”
    and will be shipped in about two weeks. Please keep in mind that when we ordered this there were many, many “out of stock”
    items on the website. and, that every item that was selected for our order was “available and ready for shipping” according to the website.
    This was very upsetting news, but we understood that things happen and that we would just have to wait. Thursday, January 12, 2012
    – we received another email from Best Buy. Informing us that one of the items we ordered is “no longer available” and that our order
    has been “canceled” by Best Buy. After getting this email we immediately contacted customer service, they informed us that there is nothing they can do since the items are no longer available, so we contacted the manufacturer of the product and was informed that the items are still being made and being sold worldwide. We checked again with Best Buy and they could not answer why if they still were dealing with the manufacturer, why they could not make the item available. We had to spend a gift less Christmas and a gift less birthday thanks to Best Buy.

  2. 01/17/2012 6:16 am

    Your story is a sad one to hear.

    It is unfortunate that Best Buy, while considering your order just an order (and not a gift of importance), chose to not communicate or offer alternatives to its customers. Backorders happen. But the manner Best Buy handled these backorders reflects how out of touch the company is with the consumer.

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