Back in the 90s and early 2000s, Fry's was the place to buy stuff. It was overwhelming with options, but it was a nerd's paradise. In my opinion, their largest mistake they could have possibly have made was to match online pricing. While there is a limit as to how much more they can charge over online prices, there is no way to truly compete. If they want to be a relevant retailer, they need to follow go with a new strategy. First, hire employees that understand the products they sell. One of the best ways to do this is to offer incentives to hobbyists to work there, by offering good employee discounts on the products they sell. When I say good discounts, I mean not making ANY profit on employee purchases. Offering this to even short-hour part-time salespeople would really increase the service that they offer to their customers. I would also provide a mechanism for employees and customers to provide feedback as to what they are looking for in products. You also want to incentivize customers to provide feedback as to the level of service they received from the salesperson. For example, say I was purchasing components to build a new PC. A salesperson walks me through chosing a CPU, a motherboard and a few accessories. They're employee ID is tagged to my receipt. I am then told I can get 10% off my next purchase of $100 or more by filling out a survey, reviewing what I thought of my shopping experience and the salesperson that helped me. This allows the company to evaluate good salespersons and what customers want. Yes, it is going to mean that prices of items will go up, but I would gladly pay a little more to have a good experience and walk out of the store with exactly what I wanted. Sure, I could just buy what I want on Amazon, but then I have to deal with shipping (which is improving on some items to be same day or next day) but I don't have the chance of seeing it until it arrives. When I am working on a project, whether it is a home improvement project, an automotive/RV project or an electronics project, there are many times where I realize I need something immediately and all work ceases until I have the right item or tool. This is where Amazon cannot compete. I've worked on building projects where I've been to Home Depot or Lowes three or more times in one day. I've also had times where this has happened for electronics projects. Sadly, I've tried to do this over the past 3-4 years, going to Fry's and have found their options have gone from many, to few, to ZERO for basic need items.
Fry's also needs to realize who their competitors are. Am I going to go to Fry's for a new washer and dryer? No. Am I going to go there to buy a vacuum cleaner? No. Coffee maker? No. A popcorn maker?!? Why the heck would I go there for that?!?! It is an ELECTRONICS store. This is where I would go for components and electronics items. This is where I would go for a new hard drive. A new computer monitor. I would go there to buy the newest and coolest audio and video components; stuff that goes beyond simple stuff you can buy at Walmart, Target and Best Buy. With Radio Shack going out of business, there is no other chain store I am aware of that is a competitor to Fry's. THAT is what Fry's needs to acknowledge. Their competitor is NOT Walmart, Target, or even Best Buy. Their competitor is NOT Amazon or NewEgg. True, they sell many things that Amazon or NewEgg sells, but they are a local store that offers a wide variety of items with salespeople that can help you make decisions. Fry's is shooting themselves in the foot, or possibly their head by trying to compete against these other businesses. They need to realize their market and take advantage of it.