We went to Best Buy after it decided to pull most CDs from stores and saw all of the changes it's making to compete with Amazon

  • Best Buy has started pulling most CDs from its stores as of July 1.
  • The company said in a statement to Business Insider: “The way people buy and listen to music has dramatically changed and, as a result, we are reducing the amount of space devoted to CDs in our stores. However, we will still offer select CDs, vinyl and digital music options at all stores.”
  • Even though CD sales are dropping and physical format music is being pushed out by streaming services, many were upset with Best Buy‘s decision to pull most CDs from stores.
  • I went to a Best Buy store myself to see why it may have made this decision, and what Best Buy is doing to compete with online retailers like Amazon.

Digital music streaming sites have been growing rapidly, all the while making CDs less and less relevant.

In February, Billboard reported that Best Buy had plans to pull most CDs from its stores as of July 1. Even though CD sales have been dropping rapidly for years, people were shocked and upset with Best Buy’s decision to start pulling them from its shelves.

One reason for the ongoing decrease in sales is the rise in music streaming and digital media. With products like CDs becoming obsolete and other products being sold for lower prices online, Best Buy is fighting to stay relevant in an increasingly digital marketplace.

“The way people buy and listen to music has dramatically changed and, as a result, we are reducing the amount of space devoted to CDs in our stores. However, we will still offer select CDs, vinyl and digital music options at all stores,” the company said in a statement to Business Insider.

The CDs that will still be sold in store will be “value CDs,” according to Best Buy.

Carrying fewer CDs isn’t the only thing Best Buy has done in recent years to keep its product offerings fresh and relevant. And while Amazon, a major competitor of Best Buy when it comes to electronics sales, continues to blow past analysts‘ expectations, Best Buy’s efforts seem to have paid off for it as well. It reported 7.1% same-store sales growth in the first quarter of 2018 and plans to open a new store for the first time in seven years.

I recently went to a Best Buy store in New York City to see what’s happening, and I saw how Best Buy is making major changes to compete with Amazon:


The Best Buy I went to had three floors. Throughout the store, there were areas that mimicked Apple stores, Microsoft stores, and Samsung stores, with huge selections of products from each brand.

Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

It also had two Amazon displays: one on the top floor by the mini-Apple store …

Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

… and another on the ground floor by home security.

Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

Generally speaking, the prices were pretty high throughout the store. These $US69 Instax cameras go for at least $US10 less on Amazon …

Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

Source: Amazon


… and you can buy a six-foot phone charger on Amazon for half the price of what Best Buy sells them for.

Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

Source: Amazon


Best Buy has had to step up its delivery game to compete with Amazon’s Prime Now offerings. Best Buy same-day orders have to be placed by 3 p.m. to be delivered by 9 p.m. the same day, whereas Prime Now delivers all day within two hours of an order being placed.

Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

I made my way to the soon-to-be-gone CD section of the store, all the way in the back on the third floor. It was abandoned — there was one employee in the back, and no customers. There was one double-sided display of CDs, which was surrounded on all sides by DVDs.

Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

On one side of the display, there didn’t seem to be any method to organising the CDs. They were all in one section labelled “Music A-Z,” with everything mixed together.

Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

The other side looked like it had newer releases. There were quite a few empty spaces, and only a handful of albums had more than one or two copies on display.

Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

The CDs shared a room with photography gear, vacuums, analogue phones, coffee makers, and other household items, which was confusing. Removing most of the CDs seems like the next logical step, considering how abandoned they seemed in this store.

Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

Directly outside that section of the store was a display of blank CDs, DVDs, and storage. There were more blank CDs in stock than USB drives, which felt outdated considering so many computers don’t even come with CD drives anymore.

Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

It took a while to find the vinyl records, which were located two floors down from the rest of the music. I couldn’t make sense of the selection here. There were brand-new releases, movie soundtracks, and albums that were decades old, from all different genres, mixed together. The selection was small and seemed totally random.

Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

Looking beyond the CDs, the rest of the store seemed pretty up-to-date, with a huge selection of TVs …

Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

… and a busy video game section.

Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

An area where Best Buy thrives is customer service. It had customer service reps and members of its “Geek Squad” readily available throughout the store.

Jessica Tyler/Business Insider

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