Best Buy has made yet another startup acquisition that enriches its customer value with innovative digital products: GreatCall, a San Diego-based startup offering health and medical alert devices and services.
Most retailers’ “innovations” have been incremental digital tech investments that extend their retail value proposition and customer value. It’s great to see Best Buy investing in adjacent industry disruption innovations, moving the tech product retailer into the healthcare market with its own products and services that give senior citizens fast health insights, treatment reminders, and urgent engagements with doctors and nurses.
Adjacent industry disruption is a classic example of the benefits that come from customer obsession. Go deep in your understanding and recognition of your customers’ ultimate objectives, and you will find broader values that you can deliver to address customer needs that extend beyond your traditional industry and engagement model. In this case, Best Buy leveraged its Geek Squad customer engagements, which are common for seniors struggling with setup and maintenance of their home tech products. A clear use case with these products is to engage with their healthcare providers and monitor their health — an area of clear growth in the mobile market. Best Buy started this adjacent industry disruption last fall when it acquired Assured Living, a service that uses sensors to track movement and sleep patterns. GreatCall helps it accelerate the ROI of this innovation stream, as it brings in over 900,000 customers and $300-million-plus in existing revenues.
What can you learn from this move by Best Buy? Why, how, and what benefits come from prioritizing innovations that position you as the disruptor. As detailed in my report on this subject, Best Buy started by learning from its customers about their broader needs, partnered with third parties who were already driving new digital transformations that address these needs in adjacent markets, and made the business case for expanding its business with net new values that move well beyond their traditional retail value proposition.
While many articles about this acquisition have positioned this as a disruptive response innovation against Amazon’s moves into healthcare, that is an incorrect assumption. While Amazon clearly announced its plans to expand into the healthcare market prior to Best Buy’s moves, Amazon’s acquisition of PillPack this summer came nine months after Best Buy’s preeminent move with Assured Living. And this effort by Best Buy isn’t based off of Amazon’s statements but is a direct response to its own customers’ needs. Had it waited for Amazon to bring its healthcare solutions to market and only then started down a competitive path, that would have been the typical “innovative” response we see all too commonly. But this is Best Buy innovating in advance of a potential disruption and expanding its customer value further. Well done!
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