Hurray! Another company who gets it. Best Buy is using personas to redesign their stores. And they have more than one persona. Another Hooooyaaaah. They have Buzz (the young tech enthusiast), Barry (the wealthy professional man), Ray (the family man) and, Jill.
In the Washington Post’s article – Retail – Profiling for Profit, Best Buy talks about “Jill” and the changes they made to the store in order to accommodate her.
"Jill,"is a code name for a soccer-mom type who is the main shopper for the family but usually avoids electronics stores. She is well-educated and usually very confident, but she is intimidated by the products at Best Buy and the store clerks who spout words like gigabytes and megapixels.
Pink, red and white balloons festoon the entrance. TVs play "The Incredibles." There is an expanded selection of home appliances as well as new displays stocked with Hello Kitty, Barbie and SpongeBob SquarePants electronic equipment.
Well – you’ve certainly made the store more “kid friendly.” What else
To customers, this group (devoted to helping Jill) is known as personal shopping associates, and its members wear pastels instead of the royal blue shirts that other salespeople in the store sport.
Do the pastel shirts still clearly mark them as Best Buy Employees? Why change the color of the shirts? Did this cause any confusion? Does Jill wonder why an employee in a pastel shirt is helping her while men are helped by the normal looking employees in the usual branded colors?
The employees offer to walk her to her car in the rain with a pink umbrella.
Ok, love the umbrella, but why that pink again? Why not use the big bright brand colors? Make her last image of you an umbrella that’s branded with your colors instead of “pink”.
We’re officially stepped off the train into stereotypeland. So what else?
The music over the loudspeakers has been turned down a notch and is usually a selection of Jill's favorites, such as James Taylor and Mariah Carey.
Ok – Stop. James Taylor? James Taylor?????? Mariah Carey, ok if it’s her latest album – but James Taylor???? What else do they play, Anne Murray? John Denver? Look at any Adult Contemporary playlist (they target the coveted female 25-54 market) and will you find James Taylor? No. What you will find is Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5, Sheryl Crow, Shania Twain, and Matchbox 20.
I’m not saying Best Buy has Jill completely wrong – there is definitely a “mother” who “lives for her children” who would be thrilled to be greeted by Sponge Bob Square Pants and The Incredibles playing on the TV’s. Training employees to be helpful without spouting “techno speak” and making the environment less testosterone driven is definitely going to help your sales with women.
Best Buy’s increase in sales speaks for itself – they are obviously having success thanks to their better understanding of “Jill.”
But I think there’s a minimum of one other female persona they need to address. How about the Type-A woman business owner? Or a more electronically savvy divorced woman who’s setting up a home of her own and looking for a wide screen TV?
2 – women are involved in almost 75% of all electronic purchases
3 – women are increasing interested in gadgets, from DVDs, to iPods, to digital cameras for themselves and for their families
Best Buy may have more personas that weren’t cited in this article, but if they don’t, I’d have to ask – you feel men are different enough that they need at least 3 different personas to encompass their different buying processes. Do you think all women can fit into one persona?
Another question – how do you handle “Jill” on your website? Hmmm – may have to take a look at that. Let me fire up my pink computer, grab my pink notebook and ponder the site through my pink framed glasses. (wink)