Best Buy to Relocate Entire Movie Stock to Unorganized Bins by 2014

Let me start by saying that I am a Best  Buy Reward Zone Premier Silver member. I guess that means that I’m a boss like Rick Ross in the Best Buy world or something like that. I’ve achieved this status by pretty much only buying movies and TV shows. Rewind to two weeks ago. I walked into my local Best Buy to browse the movie sales like I always do and what I saw caused me to become overwhelmed – so much so that I walked out of the store to go to another Best Buy. When I went to the other Best Buy, I was equally overwhelmed. What could be so overwhelming, you ask? Best Buy has combined their DVDs and blu-rays into one section! You may not think this is a problem but until you’ve seen it but trust me when I say that it is not a pretty sight.

It looks cluttered with the two formats sharing the same shelf space. Boxes are of differing sizes, there are more spines than covers displayed, and sale tags are almost non-existent. One of my favorite things about Best Buy is that I can walk in at any given moment, and be greeted by a sea of sale tags that give me butterflies. Yes, I’m a dork. That’s part of the fun, going to Best Buy to see the sales that aren’t in their weekly ad.

I’m sure this is Best Buy’s way to phase out DVD and crown Blu-Ray as the top dog of physical visual media formats but who wins in this situation? Let’s face it – people will buy the wrong format. They’re just dumb. For example, my local library puts a sticker on all blu-ray cases that reads: “BLU-RAY DVDS ONLY PLAY ON BLU-RAY PLAYERS”. People have to be told that blu-ray “DVDs” are different than DVDs. Lately, Best Buy’s sales on blu-rays have been unbeatable with dozens on sale at $7.99 and $9.99 every week, likely an incentive to get DVD buyers to switch format. Additionally, Best Buy has been running their Upgrade and Save (trade-in a used DVD and receive a coupon for $5 of a blu-ray $9.99 and higher) promotion with more frequency. One would think that combining the formats in the same selling space, would be the perfect opportunity to exploit blu-ray prices and set prices lower than those of DVD. But, alas, the sales I’ve come to know, love, and stack with other promotions are gone!

Actual photo of me in the movie section at Best Buy

In addition to lighter sales, I am now forced to look at a format that I’m not interested in and will never be interested in again. I can see the appeal to get DVD owners interested in blu-ray but my Best Buy visits will now be three times longer and ten times more frustrating as I have to look at DVD copies of every movie Best Buy has to even see what I may want to purchase. There is no clear winner here. All shoppers regardless of which format they prefer will be forced to look at products they have no interest in. What if all video games were arranged alphabetically regardless of console? How would an XBOX 360 gamer feel about having to be forced to sift through hundreds of third-party Wii games to find the 360 title he wants to buy? VHS and DVD formats were never combined as a way to get VHS viewers to adopt DVD.  Why not focus on selling blu-ray players to encourage blu-ray sales in the blu-ray aisles?

3D blu-ray titles are also mixed in alphabetically. I do not own a 3D blu-ray player but this could be frustrating for someone who does. It is such a special niche market and those items deserve to be displayed separately so buyers can find them easily. Additionally, Criterion Collection titles are separated out by genre. There wasn’t a standard among Best Buy stores before – some stores had them lumped together under C, some had them alphabetically, and others did a weird combination of both. Now buyers have to guess which genre Best Buy classifies a title under. Is the Criterion documentary For All Mankind action, comedy, drama, or horror? It’s none of those but it has to go somewhere.

Bottom line, Best Buy is in the selling business and it needs to thoroughly assess its selling practices. The only way to encourage blu-ray sales using the format and not the player is to eventually make it the only option. Putting the two competing formats together will not have an end result that will justify the product placement. Many DVD purchasers are unaware of the differences between DVD and blu-ray other than price. Putting the two formats together further facilitates that divide. Making the DVD selection smaller and growing the blu-ray selection is necessary — and keeping the formats separate is doubly necessary. Best Buy is still trying to gather its wits after closing 50 stores nationwide earlier this year and appointing a new CEO and perhaps this was part of the wit-gathering process. I hope that Best Buy recognizes this flub and corrects the issue.

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About Christine Pyles

I have an unhealthy obsession with Prince, The Artist, The Purple One. You know who I'm talkin' 'bout. I have a shaved head and I like being dudes with hair for Halloween. My nerd claim to fame is my love of Thor, The Wire, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and that I am the human version of C-3PO. Follow me on Twitter - @XineSoundclash. I'm real funny.

Posted on October 17, 2012, in Movies, Opinion, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Best Buy is one the way out becaise the company just makes dumb choices. Take for insatnce the music section, how many people do you really know buying boat loads of cd’s any more? Then why dedicate a qtr of the store to them? An entire row of alarm clocks are you kidding me. Best Buy is just a showcase for Amazon, let’s be honest. Nice post and good luck hunting;)

  2. Excellent opinion piece, Christine. Hope you don’t mind me rambling for actually quite a while, since you brought up a number of good ideas.

    I can see why a company would do this. If I walked into a store to buy Ghost Dog on DVD, I would go to the movie section and look under G. I don’t have a Bluray player of any sort, but if I saw both versions sitting next to each other, I might consider buying a Bluray/DVD combo version if it weren’t too much more expensive than the DVD copy, or if the extras were interesting enough.

    However, after all the hassle I assume customers faced with the whole Bluray vs HD-DVD business years ago, I would assume Best Buy (and other companies) would be as clear as possible with its customers with its movie products. The Bluray cases are a little smaller and thinner, but the DVD cases aren’t the generic black Amaray cases anymore; there are slim cases in many colors, bulky boxsets, and some movies have blue movie covers. (This also assumes the customer is not color-blind or more broadly doesn’t have the time to research the various movie formats in-store.) I know I’ve been in situations where if I have two products labeled the same thing, but I’m not sure which will better suit my needs, I’ll just put both down and leave.

    Also, good luck completely phasing out DVD. Seriously. Not just because I still happen to collect VHS tapes of obscure movies or for the sake of owning certain favorite movies on as many formats as I can find. I was at Half Price Books a while ago looking for obscure VHS tapes and I overheard two people looking over the movies and asking ‘oh, do we own [this romcom]?’ ‘What about this [generic 90s movie that probably plays on TV every week]?’ I don’t blame them either. If someone isn’t really that passionate about movies, then he or she or they aren’t shelling out the big bucks for new technology. They probably still own a VCR, don’t really care about all this new fangled technology, and wouldn’t mind taking home a stack of movies for less than the price of driving to the store. Good for them, because when you need to sell off your old 3D TV to buy the latest TV, they will probably buy it from you, so, win-win.

  3. Christine, you are DEAD on! I could add quite a bit to this, but I won’t hijack your space here. I’ll only add a couple of things that frustrate the living hell out of me, in addition to what you said. I was at one of the Best Buy stores when this “transition” started. I asked the lady re-working the shelves what was going on, and she told me they were combining DVD & Blu-Ray in the same space. I asked why and she told me because it would make movie shopping much easier. My ass! Adding on to what you already spoke of, how many times do you walk down a movie aisle and see a sale tag on a blu-ray you want only to find that there are absolutely no copies of said movie? Oh, but there is a DVD copy (not on sale) of that movie, though. Awesome!! 😦 Plus, I’ve compiled a long wish list of movies I want to add to my collection. I’m talking almost 2000 movies. It doesn’t matter which Best Buy store I go to, I bet on any given visit, I am able to find maybe 5% of those movies on my list. The stock/selection is absolutely awful, if you ask me. Even fairly new releases are rarely in stock for long. This means I have to either go to BestBuy.com or amazon.com to find the movies I want. And then it becomes a fight with myself on whether or not I really want to pay $3.99 or more to have them shipped to me, in addition to the regular price. Maybe I’m anal, but I’m still not comfortable buying used blu-ray movies without having them right in front of me. Maybe it’s a trust thing, maybe I just don’t want to risk ripped artwork or scratched discs. And don’t even get me started on the ridiculous $7.99 blu-ray bins. All it is is a big barrel with over 100 blu-ray movies thrown in. I’ve not tried it yet, but I bet it would take me an hour alone to sift through that whole bin to see everything inside. Plus, other customers throw non-sale priced movies in there as well. And I’m sorry, but the 10 or so pictures of the movies that are supposed to be in the barrel does no good either. Bottom line: I want to be able to go into a store like Best Buy, sometimes knowing what titles I want to buy, and be able to find them, buy them, and take them home. I don’t want to have to walk out the door thinking, “Man, that was very disappointing. Their in-store selection stinks!” And I certainly don’t want to have to then have to go back home, go online, and make the purchase online, pay the stupid shipping fees, and on top of that, have to wait a week or more to get the movie in my mailbox. Some retailer, new or otherwise, needs to come along, and stock every blu-ray title available on their shelves, with the good prices that Best Buy offers, and with the great sale prices Best Buy offers as well. Can you imagine how much a store that did this would do? I certainly would never go anywhere else. Not too much to ask, is it?

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