Circuit City Plugs Into Social Networking

Circuit City LogoElectronic retail giant Circuit City has turned on to community building with the launch of its community (link disabled, Circuit City has since gone under but was rescued and revived by Systemax) – complete with forums, photo galleries and blogs (and tagging). The forums are already quite active and give customer service experts a chance to answer questions in a timely manner, creating a rich knowledge base in the following categories:

* Home Entertainment & MP3
* Computers
* Cameras & Camcorders
* Car Electronics
* Gaming
* Movies & Music

NOTE: THE CIRCUIT CITY COMMUNITY NO LONGER EXISTS. WE KEPT THIS BLOG POST UP TO DESCRIBE WHAT CC DID, WE STILL THINK THAT’S VALUABLE.

Sub-forums include Windows Vista, XBox and GPS navigation systems. So far the most popular forums are TV and Home Audio.

Gadget Blog Screenshot

With resident blogger Matthew West getting the party started, anyone else can sign up to contribute their own content. No seriously, jump in any time. Anyone? Anyone?

Bueller?

The photo gallery includes a November photo contest (will there be one every month?) as well as a Car Electronics, Black and White Photography and more. I’m not sure why people would want to post pictures of friends and family on this website, but there’s a category for that too.

I think this is a great move for Circuit City not only to open up their brand but to allow users to create the content that will translate into tons of long-tail keyword traffic. It also helps Circuit City discover common product problems and support issues. When customers post in the CityCenter rather than third party forums, it makes it much easier for Circuit City to discover needs and respond to customers.

CityCenter runs on Pluck technology.

So go check it out and let me know what you think of this. Is it “YASN” (Yet Another Social Network)? Does this provide value above and beyond other electronic retailers that would make you a loyal CC shopper? Will sparks fly between the newbie gamer and the Guitar Hero? Are you just sick of social media? Talk to us.

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9 Responses to “Circuit City Plugs Into Social Networking”

  1. eCopt says:

    I think it’s very innovative and creative of CC to implement something like this into their site. Not necessarily any one feature alone, forums and blogs are quite common, but the whole attempt to offer more ‘community building’ and networking features.

    It’s not something I expect a lot of other major retailers are thinking of right now and it may take awhile for it to become a trend we see, if ever (retail blogs are just becoming common in the space, it’s quite a jump to implement community features for most I think).

    Whether or not a major retailer should inlcude social networking would depend on the customers and products, there may be several benefits to putting customers in a place where they can interact, but there’s some companies who might actually hurt their business by putting their customers in touch with one another. It’s all about the business model.

    Great find and write up Linda. Thanks for sharing.

  2. eCopt says:

    Maybe not so long before it becomes trendy…

    http://www.wine.com/V6/community/

  3. Thanks for the write-up. To answer your question about the photo contest, yes, there will be others. While the Pluck platform is new for us, we’ve had customer forums for nearly two years now, and a monthly photo contest has been a staple for a while. The blog is new as of last week (hence the lack of commentary), and in the near future, we’ll be posting our first podcasts, and (hopefully) providing the capability for user-generated video. Feel free to email if you’re interested in discussing further. Or better yet, leave a comment for me!

  4. @eCopt

    Thanks Matt. Great find on the wine.com community too. Certainly if the early adopters are successful we’ll see this becoming more mainstream.

    @Matthew,

    Thanks for stopping by and jumping in. I thought your forums looked a bit older than a week old ;-)

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  8. Bonnie says:

    I just entered and won a Nov. 2008 circuit city online photo contest…it was a huge thrill for me and the company communicated with me up till 1/12/09 saying they’d be sending me the prize shortly, a Nikon P80 – but they never sent it out. They went out of business shortly after but it was public knowledge this was happening and still they promised to send it. They lied.

  9. Bonnie,

    Even though I left in June of last year, I can tell you with 100% certainty that the reason you never got your camera is because the person who ran that program got laid off on January 16, along with 95% of all CC employees. You should consider contacting Nikon USA directly.

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