Apple and Best Buy: When good retailers go bad

Nothing can be more detrimental to a retailer than arrogance. Once it gets too big and has blown away any competition, retailers often focus more on serving their own needs, customers be damned.

Two best-in-class retailers have recently begun showing signs of self defeating arrogance in a way that makes me wonder if they haven't "jumped the shark," or crossed over irrevocably into a period of decline. In this case, both Best Buy and Apple fit the bill.

This time last year, Circuit City had begun liquidation, leaving Best Buy as the only electronics retailer. There are many dangers when a single retailer emerges to dominate a shopping channel or category. Consumers suffer from the lack of competition, service declines and choices are limited only to what that retailer chooses to carry. Product manufacturers are often held hostage in order to play in the only game in town. Innovation declines and laziness sets in.