Three years ago Best Buy launched the Jill Initiative (read the Washington Post article here) as part of a larger customer profiling and segmenting strategy designed to target the most profitable segments with a customized approach that would appeal to each. Men were divided into three customer segments - Buzz (the young tech enthusiast), Barry (the wealthy professional man), Ray (the family man). Women were identified as Jill - a suburban soccer mom and CEO of her family's household - and only Jill. Particular stores were targeted to better serve Jills, which included things like pink and red balloons at the entrance, a special customer service desk festooned with fake purple flowers and stuffed animals and specially-trained associates in pastel shirts vs. the traditional royal blue. Best Buy reported that sales to Jills had increased 30% as a result of the new approach, though some questioned if the company missed out on the opportunity to reach, say, Maries (tech savvy entrepreneurs) or Tracys (post-college, pre-family professional women) by directing all of their efforts to Jill. Over 50% of the population who make the majority of electronics purchases represented with one profile? It didn't add up. Then the whole thing sort of went quietly away and Jill wasn't heard from or referenced again.
Recently, Springwise reported on a new "for and by women" Best Buy store in Aurora, CO which is the result of feedback from 40 local women as well at the company's Women's Leadership Forum or WoLF Pack, which is an internal movement to develop female leadership within the organization. Earth tones and products grouped into living areas as well as family-friendly restrooms and racecar shaped shopping carts are some of the adjustments. No pink balloons or pastel shirts and no mention of Jill at all. Love this idea but wonder if it was necessary to call this a "women's store." Is there any reason men wouldn't want to shop there? Likely not, with the exception of some guys being turned off by the idea of shopping in a women's electronic store. And that's a shame. Perhaps like Jill herself the women's store tag will simply fade away and Best Buy will just become the best place to shop for home entertainment and electronics overall.