An Idea For Best Buy

I posted this tweet last night.  A typical IP address connected to a router begins with either 192, 172, or 10. An IP address beginning with 169 is a self assigned IP address.  This means the device did not get a connection to the DHCP server.  How pathetic is it that a major electronics retailer has WIFI that is broken?  This is a perfect symbolism of why I do not shop at Best Buy very much. What would it take to get me to shop there more?

Let's go back to the broken WIFI.  Why is all free public Internet terrible? Apart from not using the right vendor (Aerohive), it is probably because it is viewed as an expense. What do we do with expenses? We cut them. Quality WIFI seems to be an afterthought.  They throw up pointless splash page logins, create bottlenecks on speed, and block IMAP email.  At my office, we've got so much bandwidth that the only thing I block on our guest network that is different from our staff network is access to internal resources (printers,etc).  I don't use a splash page login (with terms of use that are never read).  I want it to be easy to connect (and reconnect in the future) and I want it to be a good experience.

How does this affect Best Buy? We all know the trouble Best Buy is in.  They sell a lot of products that are moving to digital distribution, American's have fallen out of love with Big Box stores, and it has a hard time competing with Amazon (on price and convenience).  Let's consider Starbucks. Why do I go to Starbucks for a $1.65 cup of black coffee when my gas station sells it for $.85? It is usually because I am going their to meet a friend or to relax and read my Instapaper queue (I download ahead of time because their WIFI is terrible).  Here is what I am suggesting to Best Buy:

1. Open a small coffee shop/lunch spot and have plenty of places to sit

2.  Have the best WIFI (Aerohive) and the fastest Internet connection you can get

3.  Have private meeting areas where people can meet with clients or co-workers (no charge for renting)

4. Have a person around who can help with technical issues (not a my computer is broken person, but a I can't open this file person) for free

5.  Offer a ton of free training classes on your products (by people who are doing more than reading a sales pitch)

This would create a reason to go to Best Buy.  If I am traveling and need a place to work for an hour, I'd be looking for a Best Buy because I'd know their Internet would be fast and reliable.  If I need something that Best Buy sells, I'll likely pick it up while I am there (rather than ordering from Amazon).  Best Buy would become convenient again.

While we're at it, dump the Geek Squad uniform. Let the folks wear jeans and a Geek Squad t-shirt.  They look ridiculous in the current uniform.