Best Buy Launches First 'Mobile' Effort

Best Buy MobileBest Buy plans to reach out to consumers through its first marketing campaign focused on Best Buy Mobile, a newly designed section of the retailer's stores dedicated to cell phones. About 970 full-size stores were recently converted to showcase wireless and cellular devices. Each store now offers more than 95 handsets from manufacturers like Samsung, Nokia and Research in Motion (RIM), and beginning in September, Apple.

Many of the advertisements will likely highlight Apple's iPhone 3G or Samsung's Instinct, two phones not typically sold through retailers. The ads also will feature services and customer support. Consumers can expect to hear radio advertisements in select locations. The retailer plans to run television ads, as well as market to potential customers through in-store circulars and signs displayed throughout the stores.



Although specific marketing plans are still being finalized, it's clear that the message will focus on Best Buy Mobile's "value proposition," such as special deals on RIM's BlackBerry handsets or customer support.

It's a new twist for the retailer, says Jeff Dudash, Best Buy spokesman. "We were part of Best Buy's overall drive-time advertising strategy, both in the spring and now during the back-to-school season," he says. "It's the first time in the history of Best Buy that mobile phones have been advertised in broadcast, so this reflects the marketing efforts taking place around Best Buy Mobile."

Worldwide mobile handset shipments should reach 1.4 billion in 2009--up from 1.3 billion this year and 1.2 billion in 2007, according to iSuppli, a research firm in El Segundo, Calif.

Earlier this month, Best Buy became the first retail store outside of AT&T Mobility and Apple's own retail stores to start selling both the 8GB and 16GB versions of the iPhone. It also agreed to sell mobile phones and accessories in airport kiosks. The retailer has been expanding services in wireless and mobile for more than a year as part of an agreement with Carphone Warehouse, United Kingdom.

Best Buy in May acquired 50% of The Carphone Warehouse's retail business for about $2.1 billion (£1.1 billion) to take advantage of the company's expertise in mobile products, bundle services, and ability to operate smaller stores within their big-box locations.

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