Your Favorite Technology Retailer: BestBuy or Wal-Mart

walmart-bestbuy.jpgSome of you are scratching your head and wondering how Wal-Mart could be seen as a “technology retailer” for small businesses. With the loss of Circuit City there are not too many national retailers selling technology, in particular technology for small businesses and SOHO users.
The battle is going to be between Best Buy, Staples and Wal-Mart.
Knowledge @ Wharton writes Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, is using its dominance in the global marketplace across all retail categories to position itself as the low-price option in consumer electronics. The chain also has massive reach with consumers. More than 800 million people a year visit a Wal-Mart store to buy everything from groceries to sweatpants to gasoline. In what’s seen as an attempt to compete with Best Buy, the chain is adding a new emphasis on electronics, including big-screen televisions and Apple iPods.
For smart small business owners, I don’t think low price alone is enough to court them to Wal-Mart.
Best Buy and Staples advantage is that they have staff trained in technology and the inventory of retail products geared towards small businesses.


If you want to buy a toaster or TV – Wal-Mart is definitely a place you should look, but when it’s time to buy a router, scanner or multi-function printer you should consider Best Buy or Staples. If you know what you are buying and Wal-Mart has what you need at a cheaper price, go for Wal-Mart. But if you are NOT sure what you are buying and do not consider yourself technical adept, let Best Buy and Staples professionals help you.
Keep in mind that even with a retailer professional helping you, this does not mean you’ll have the right product. Just like getting gas from a gas station attendant – some are real nice and some are not. In the same way, being helped by a technology expert who has 1 year of experience is much different than being helped by an expert who has 10 years of experience helping small businesses and who on the weekends plays with his network not with a Frisbee.
Keep in mind that Amazon.com, CDW (much more than Amazon) and other online retailers are also contenders. Although CDW does not have retail stores they have a broad and aggressively priced selection of products and have account managers who act as personal technology concierges for businesses.

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook

One thought on “Your Favorite Technology Retailer: BestBuy or Wal-Mart

  1. Mor Sela, ProCompare.com

    Before you head to the store to buy your technology, you better do a quick research to answer the following questions:
    1. What technology do I need?
    2. What brand/model/version should I buy?
    3. Where to buy?
    Few tips for doing it:
    1. This is sometimes a straightforward question (e.g. I know that I need a laptop), but sometimes there are several options for doing the same thing and it’s not clear which one is best for you. For example, you may buy a PBX to handle all your telephony needs, but you could get it as a hosted service as well. To help you answer this question, you probably better consult with an IT expert who is experience with your specific type of business.
    2. This is a critical question. There are many products to choose from and a sales-person may not be knowledgeable enough to provide you the right answer. If you try online sources such as ProCompare.com, you may easily find the top rated products and you could read experts’ reviews to learn more about how well these products really perform, what are their pros and cons.
    3. Now that you know what to buy, it becomes fairly simple to find the best retailer to buy it from. Your best bet is to check a couple of comparison shopping sites such as shopping.com and pricegrabber.com.

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