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Circuit City — Not really surprised

Circuit City files for bankruptcy after closing 155 stores. (story here)

My condolences to all of the employees who lost their jobs as a result of this down-sizing. I've been there and I know it's hard. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Am I the only one who isn't a bit surprised about this news?

The store did many things poorly, in my not-so-humble opinion.

1. Branding.
Granted, I'm a person who isn't very techie (great at marketing, stinky at technology) — but what the heck is a circuit? And, why would I ever need one?

I have never in my long life (I'm mid-thirties already… eek!) – said “Boy, I sure could use a new circuit. Let's go to Circuit City!

In fact, I'd be hard pressed to think of any time I've ever said “Let's go get a *anything* at Circuit City.” The branding was awful. It didn't bring *any* images to my mind of things as I drove past.

Compare this to Best Buy. Yes, I *do* regularly need the “Best” buy. That's where I'll go.

2. Branding again/Store Layout.
So, the few times I did venture into Circuit City (only because it was next door to the Pet Store) — I walked in and ran smack dab into a wall. Why was the store circular and how in the heck was one supposed to glance around to begin “impulse shopping”?

It seemed that everything in the store was tucked away, hidden from view. Small rooms everywhere. It was very claustrophobic.

Compare this to Best Buy. I walk in and my eyes open wide.

ooh! Big Screen TVs. Wow! Computer stuff. Awesome! My son runs off to the Wii section. And, inevitably, on my way out, I have to walk past the movies and I grab one or two on impulse.

3. Did I mention branding?
When I need a washer/dryer, I think “Sears” and I shop there.
When I need a DVD or Wii game — off to Target or Best Buy or Amazon.
When I needed (or I should be saying wanted) a Big Screen TV — off to Sam's.. or Best Buy.
When I need a spare computer part — we run off to the “geek” store that's run by a couple of local guys. If they aren't open — off to Radio Shack or Best Buy.
Printer ink? Office Depot.

At *no* point in my life have I thought “I NEED a Circuit!” — or I probably would have gone to … Best Buy! 😉

ok. I'm being all snarky again, but honestly, I do think that Circuit City's branding stunk — if you can't tell.

Now, Best Buy isn't perfect either, but I do think they do things a lot better, if the amount of money I've spent there is any indication.

But, the greater question is… What does YOUR business say to people?

  • Does your name bring the right images to mind?
  • When people walk into your “store” (website) — do they see everything you have to offer?
  • Are you on the tip of their mind when they think of something they need that you offer?
  • Do you encourage people to trust you and spend money with you? Or do you shuffle them through a maze of confusion on their way around and out?

Don't be a Circuit City. Learn from them.

Please feel free to share your Circuit City thoughts. I'd honestly love to hear them.


I appreciate shares and I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.

  • Christie

    I totally agree Nicole. A circuit sounds like something I would call an electrician for! My hubby and I went to a Circuit City last year on a trip to the US and I wanted to see if they had better stuff than Canadian Best Buys. Ummmmmm, no. The store was grungy and gross, the selection was crazy limited and the sales people were indifferent. I seriously wonder how they have lasted this long! Hubby and I were both shocked at how bad it was. I feel bad for the employees, but they should have gotten jobs at Best Buy.

  • gwen


    You have made some really good examples here. I hate going into Circuit City. However, at best Buy It is like an electronic candy store that lures you deeper inside.

  • Anonymous

    Circuit city closes forever.

    And nothing of value was lost.

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