Will Best Buy’s customers love its new service and savings plan?
Best Buy is testing a new membership program — Best Buy Beta — that will deliver benefits including unlimited technical support from the retailer’s Geek Squad, exclusive pricing, free standard shipping of online orders, extended 60-day return windows and installation of most appliances and consumer electronics purchases at no extra charge.
Best Buy is currently running the pilot program for Beta at select stores in Iowa, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. It will expand to other locations in Minnesota, North Carolina and Tennessee later this month. About 60 stores in total will be involved in the test.
Best Buy customers will pay $199.99 per year ($179.99 for Best Buy credit card holders) to join the Beta program. As members they will have 24/7 access to the retailer’s concierge service via chat, email, phone or the Best Buy mobile app.
“As we look to evolve our membership programs, the goal of Best Buy Beta is to create a membership experience that customers will love and to leave them feeling confident throughout their relationship with Best Buy,” said Allison Peterson, Best Buy’s chief customer officer, in a statement. “This pilot offers premium service, complete with support aimed at anticipating our customers’ needs.”
Best Buy will migrate customers in its current Total Tech Support program to the Beta plan in the pilot markets. Those in other markets will continue with Total Tech Support as-is.
Best Buy declined to comment on any of RetailWire’s questions about details not included in its announcement.
The retailer’s test of the program comes on the heels of a record fiscal year in 2020 when consumers, forced to work and attend school from their homes during the novel coronavirus pandemic, went on a shopping spree for the various types of technology they needed. Same-store sales for the year jumped nearly 10 percent. That said, Best Buy’s leadership understands that 2020 was an outlier and that a year-over-year decline is likely when 2021 is in the books.
Total Tech Support and now its apparent replacement in Best Buy Beta are intended to accentuate the retailer’s strengths — service, extensive in-store network and buying power — to give the chain a competitive edge over a wide variety of rivals, running from Amazon.com to Walmart, that offer membership plans of their own (Prime and Walmart+).
- Best Buy Piloting Paid Membership Program In Select Markets – Best Buy
- Best Buy Reports Fourth Quarter Results – Best Buy
- Best Buy is handing out bonuses, paid time off for vaccines and pink slips. Huh? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect the Best Buy Beta annual subscription program to be broadly popular with the retailer’s customers? What do you see as the benefits and potential drawbacks of the Beta plan from an organizational as well as competitive standpoint?