BestBuy has begun stocking a range of eco-friendly vehicles including an electric motorbike. But the promotion may be as much about attracting curious shoppers as being a serious selling strategy.
The firm has been selling electric vehicles in 21 stores since May. Today it’s giving that scheme a boost by hosting the launch of the Enertia, an “electric urban commuter bike.” While normally you’d expect a motorcycle to launch at a dealership, Best Buy itself has invested $10 million in the firm which makes the bike.
The bike offers a top speed of 55 miles per hour, with a 45 mile range and a three-hour charge time. Clearly nobody’s going to be hitting Sturgis in bike week with the Enertia, but it’s being marketed as a credible option for urban transport.
The hold-up is that it costs $12,000 which, while arguably a reasonable price for a vehicle, is not exactly in the budget of most Best Buy browsers. Douglas McIntyre of 247wallst.com speculates Best Buy is stocking the bikes mainly to get customers to take a look inside stores, a strategy that may be more effective than simply advertising slashed prices.
The Wall Street Journal notes it may also be a response to a logistical opportunity. The widespread switch to flat-screen television sets has left the firm with more space in stores to experiment with new products ranges. It notes successes in giving more prominent positioning to musical instruments such as electric guitars, previously seen by the chain as a specialist good. (No doubt that range has done well thanks to the popularity of games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band.)
Brammo, the firm behind the Enertia, insists Best Buy is a suitable outlet for electronic vehicles. It notes Enertia has a built-in web server which could be used for features such as an on-board camera for travel journals and labels the products as “a lot closer to consumer electronics than to transportation.”