Best Buy is spreading its backyard wings.
Adds new outdoor collection and more in-store displays
By Alan Wolf, YSN
Six months after acquiring outdoor furniture maker Yardbird and just in time for backyard entertaining, Best Buy has extended its foothold in the category.
The last remaining national CE chain is pressing its geographic advantage by opening Yardbird showrooms in stores in Denver, Chicago and Washington D.C., and has added outdoor furniture displays in its Pacific Sales Kitchen & Home premium appliance sections within several Southern California locations. More stores-within-a-store are planned, the retailer said, and the products are also available online at BestBuy.com and Yardbird.com.
In addition, the company has added a new Ludlow collection to the Yardbird line, this one featuring all-weather hand-woven wicker on oversized, rust-proof aluminum frames. The customizable collection allows consumers to create a loveseat, sofa or custom sectional based on whichever configuration best suits their backyard space.
Best Buy bought the six-year-old direct-to-consumer business from father and son founders Bob and Jay Dillon last fall. The Dillons operate eight showrooms across the country, which carry Yardbird-branded love seats, sectionals, sofa sets, chairs, fire pits, and pillows.
Best Buy rounded out its outdoor offerings last summer by adding a cooking assortment that includes grills and ovens by Weber, Traeger, Lynx, Char-Broil and Ooni.
In an interview with CNBC, Best Buy’s chief merchandising officer Jason Bonfig said the chain plans to add Yardbird and e-bike and e-scooter displays to about 90 stores, or nearly 10 percent of its roughly 1,000 U.S. flagships.
At the same time, the company has introduced a new product category— skin care — that includes facial cleansing, light therapy, and microdermabrasion products, and can be found in about 300 Best Buy stores.
According to Bonfig, the retailer’s expanded assortment is dictated by customer queries in-store and clicks and searches on its website. For example, shoppers have inquired about patio furniture when purchasing an outdoor TV or sound system. “Our answer in the past has been ‘No, we actually don’t have an assortment of that,’” he told CNBC.
Best Buy has long experimented with product categories and services outside its core consumer tech competency. Indeed, founder and former chairman/CEO Dick Schulze once explained to this reporter that the choice of the company’s name was left intentionally vague, to allow for eventual expansion into other businesses.