By Frank Vascellaro


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)Best Buy is back, and on a roll.

Their stock shot up 15 percent last week following an increase in sales and profits. It is a far cry from where the Minnesota-based company was just three years ago.

CEO Hubert Joly says success is based on recreating the customer experience.

He was excited to show WCCO around the Best Buy on Lyndale Avenue in Richfield.

“This is the ultimate candy store, right?” Joly said. “This is the ultimate toy store. There’s so much to look at.”

Joly took over as CEO of Best Buy in September of 2012. While browsing the Apple store within the store, you quickly realize why he also calls himself a salesman.

“They have the new computers that they just launched,” he says. “For Black Friday we have great promotion for the iPad Pro.”

Part of his strategy to save Best Buy was to match online prices of competitors like Amazon, offer free shipping and remodel the retail stores. He showed us his Microsoft Surface book.

“It’s a beautiful PC notebook, and it’s a tablet,” he said.

He also invested in training the “blue shirt team.” The retail sales force does not work on commission. Instead, Joly pushed them to increase their product knowledge.

Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly (credit: CBS)

Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly (credit: CBS)

The comeback would be based on the customer.

“It’s all about training,” Joly said. “You will notice that one of the key things that [Best Buy employees] have, all of them: two ears, just one mouth. This is to ask questions and make sure we understand what are you going to use it for.”

Like most of his 125,000 employees, Joly uses many of the things he sells. One of those items is a high-end drone with a moving camera to record “beautiful pictures.”

“Images that you couldn’t record with a normal camera,” Joly said.

The company also developed a new mobile app and made a significant online investment.

People usually begin shopping on the web, but some things — like 4K TVs — need to be seen in person. The size and resolution are amazing.

“It’s simply a better picture quality,” Joly said. “What is important for people when they buy a TV? Picture quality. And there’s real innovation that is taking place. And the prices are going down very quickly.”

He calls home connectivity an emerging category and is positioning Best Buy to provide technology to turn on your lights, lock your doors and create the ultimate smart home.

“Again, I just got four of them because you put one in each room,” Joly said. “It’s plug and play, so you have an app on your phone, and then, you know, two minutes after you’ve plugged it, you’re speaking to the device and you’re having a conversation.”

It’s taken years to implement the “renew blue” turnaround. Morale and sales are up, and Joly is optimistic.

“Technology is evolving. It’s more and more exciting, it’s also more complex. Customers need help with it,” Joly said. “And we’re uniquely positioned with our online asset, out stores and our Geek Squad ability to go to your home to help you with that. And we’re seeing that what we’re doing is resonating with customers.”

Best Buy opens at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, and then reopens at 8 a.m. on Black Friday. Click here to check out some of their doorbuster deals.

Frank Vascellaro

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