Great article in this week’s issue of Business Week. It focuses on Best Buy’s progress over the past year to become the “last major electronics retailer standing.” One of the focuses of the article is Best Buy’s willingness to take chances, such as entering the electric mobility market with scooters, electric bikes, and the Brammo Enertia:
In late 2007, Craig Bramscher, chief executive of Brammo, started searching for an investor and retail partner for the Enertia powercycle, a full-size motorcycle that drives like an electric scooter, with no clutch, gears, or transmission. He thought Best Buy was a natural fit, since the company already has service bays for car stereo installations. A few months later, while munching on hors d’oeuvres at a dinner party with a longtime friend, he discovered the friend knew Patel, and the two got in touch. “I thought they were the only company innovative enough to take a risk on us,” Bramscher says.
Within weeks, 30 Best Buy employees were in Brammo’s Ashland, Ore., headquarters to vet the Enertia. The team spent two days in the skunkworks lab, tearing apart the powercycle and grilling Bramscher’s team to determine whether it fit into their growth strategy. They ultimately were convinced, and in August 2008, Best Buy invested $10 million in the company.
As the retailer began lining up approvals in the test markets of California and Oregon to be licensed as motorcycle dealerships, Dunn sent Bramscher a brief note over Twitter. “We’re exercising muscles we didn’t know we had,” he wrote. Best Buy is now pushing to expand the availability of the Enertia to other states.