A recent article on Retail Technology Insider explored the possible consequences of Best Buy’s decision to halt the sales of Kaspersky products in response to allegations of potential Kremlin influence. And now with Office Depot following suit, Modern Marketing Today thinks there is something to be said about these retailers’ decisions to preemptively pull these products from a branding perspective.

The concept of brand preservation is important to discuss here. By proactively choosing to remove the Kaspsersky products from their shelves, Best Buy and Office Depot position themselves as companies that put the safety and best interests of their customers first.

If they chose to wait for some sort of federal-level mandate to halt the sales of these products in their stores, it wouldn’t necessarily be harmful or reflect poorly on their brand, but their proactivity certainly feels more genuine. Especially considering the fact that they are offering to replace existing Kaspersky products with different ones, resulting in a potential revenue hit in the short term, but likely rock-solid brand loyalty from these customers down the road.

What do you think? Are Best Buy and Office Depot making the right choice in banning these products and offering to replace them free of charge? Or could they be seen as backpedaling away from a brand that they supported for years? Let us know in the comments.

You can read the full article originally published on Retail Technology Insider below:

As a result of allegations stating that Moscow-based cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab could be unduly influenced by the Russian government, Best Buy is officially halting sales of any of Kaspersky’s products in their stores. Joe Keenan at Total Retail reported that, “[Best Buy] will allow customers who have purchased the software or who have active subscriptions to exchange it for another product within the next 45 days.”

We’re also seeing the rejection of Kaspersky products at a federal level. According to Fedscoop, “DHS ordered the removal of Kaspersky products from federal networks last week within the next 90 days.”

Federal agencies have been wary of Kaspersky products since a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in May with six major intelligence agencies voicing their concern for the possible damage Kaspersky products could do, given their penetration in both the public and private sectors, explained Andrew Liptak at The Verge.

This is an interesting, pre-emptive move we’re seeing from Best Buy and reflects on their foresight as a retailer. If it is found that Kaspersky has ties to cyberespionage, Best Buy will be lauded as a forward thinker with their consumers’ best interests in mind.

Or could this be seen as a potentially detrimental precaution that could result in diminished profit margins for Best Buy with a damaged relationship with the Kaspersky brand? It appears that Best Buy is choosing to err on the side of caution in this instance.

We’ll be interested to see if other retailers still currently offering the Kaspersky software like Amazon and Walmart will follow suit or if Best Buy will choose to bring those products back to their shelves upon further evaluation of Kaspersky’s intentions.

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