Best Buy shares recently jumped nearly 20% in one day when they announced comparable sales increased 1.6% in the past quarter. Analysts had expected a decline of 1.5 percent. One of the surprises was the increase in sales of mobile phones.

Recognizing the opportunity with smart phones, Best Buy has recently redesigned their mobile departments and put them front and center in their stores.

“It’s literally one of the first things you’ll see in the store,” said Carly Charlson, a Best Buy spokeswoman.

Some of changes to Best Buy mobile departments include:

  • additional specially trained employees
  • expanded presence from major carriers
  • big menu boards will highlight various promotions to offer more clarity
  • a new section dedicated to the growing category of prepaid and unlocked phones

In smart phones, Best Buy competes with thousands of Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile stores and kiosks. But Best Buy has the advantage by offering all the major carrier plans in one place. Plus, most smart phone users prefer to purchase at a brick and mortar store where they can better understand new phone options, ask questions, transfer their info to new phones, etc.

For Best Buy, the focus on mobile looks like a smart move. Just a two percent increase in market share would result in more than $1 billion in incremental sales from smartphones alone.

Plus, incremental mobile sales will increase store traffic, a key objective for the company. And since smartphones aren’t gender specific, more smartphone sales will generate more store traffic by women – another important driver for Best Buy growth. More store traffic means more sales of TV’s, computers and large appliances – a boost to overall sales.

It’s clear, the mobile phone category can be a tremendous long-term growth opportunity if Best Buy can continue to leverage it. That is, get the word out about their unique buying experience and offer better deals than anyone else.


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