During the COVID-19 outbreak, Best Buy temporarily shut stores and switched to a curbside pickup model. Starting in May, Best Buy will reopen to allow customers to schedule in-store consultations in about 200 of its U.S. stores. Customer will be able to talk to a dedicated expert about technology needs, discuss a potential purchase of a kitchen appliance, and more.
Best Buy’s CEO Corie Barry sent an email to customers Tuesday afternoon, saying the retailer will also resume in-home delivery, installation and repairs — but with new safety precautions. Those services will return in early May, company spokeswoman Carly Charlson said.
The announcements indicate the big-box retailer is trying to get its stores and more of its workers back to business.
Shopping will look different once customers get to stores, the company said. A dedicated employee will shop with each customer, but remain socially distanced. If customers want to try a product, the employee will wipe it down, let them try it and then wipe it again. The employee will escort each customer to the register and later out of the store.
Barry said the company has retained about 70% of its sales compared with last year, even as stores switched to curbside pickup and employees stopped all home visits. She said online sales in the U.S. are up more than 250%, and about half of those sales are picked up at its stores.
MacDailyNews Take: It’s good to see stores like Best Buy starting to reopen and the safety measures they’re going to have in place, but the process seems onerous enough that we’d really need quite the compelling reason to go to a physical Best Buy (“PITA Buy” is more like it) in order to deal with that level of rigmarole.
Best Buy’s press release, verbatim:
Best Buy To Offer New In-Store Consultations
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Best Buy has been working to safely provide the technology essentials people need to work, learn and prepare food at home.
Early on, we closed the inside of our stores to shoppers and moved to a curbside pickup model for customer and employee safety. This works well when purchasing many items. But some purchases, like large appliances or networking equipment, are often made easier with in-person store visit and a conversation with an expert to answer detailed questions.
That’s why, starting in about 200 U.S. stores in May, Best Buy will be offering an in-store consultation service. Customers will be able to schedule appointments with Blue Shirts or Agents for their tech essential needs. Since each customer’s appointment will have a dedicated sales associate, there will be a limited number of customers in the store at any one time to ensure appropriate social distancing takes place.
Because nothing is more important than the safety of our employees and customers, we have created stringent protocols for this new service. Safety measures include:
• Mandatory protective gear for all employees, including gloves and masks, which will be provided by Best Buy.
• Mandatory self-health checks by employees before each shift using a new employee app developed by Best Buy.
• Social distancing guidelines, outlined by signage and enforced by employees, to ensure appropriate distance between employees and customers.
• Sanitization of areas and surfaces in the store before and after each appointment.
For more details on the process, keep reading.
How store consultation works
The process for an in-store consultation is meant to be easy to follow and safe for customers and employees. Here’s how it works.
• Create an appointment: Customers can schedule appointments by phone, online, through the Best Buy app or via live chat.
• Confirmation and pre-call: Customers will get confirmation of their visit, along with reminders via text and email. An employee will call the customer before their visit to go over the process, explain safety measures and get more information about their shopping needs.
• Entering the store: When it’s time for the appointment to start, the customer will be notified to go to the store entrance and check in. A host will go over the consultation and safety process and introduce the customer to their Blue Shirt or Agent. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for shopping carts will be available, and employees will wear face coverings and gloves.
• Shopping: The customer and Blue Shirt or Agent will shop together, following social distancing and safety guidelines. Signs and floor stickers will provide navigation and guidance on safety. For product demos, the employee will wipe the product, let the customer handle it and then wipe it down when the customer is done. Employees will clean surfaces as needed throughout the appointment.
• Completing the Sale: When a customer decides to buy an item, they will be taken to the front registers, where distancing guidelines will be followed and there will be sneeze guards. If using a credit card, the machine and screen will be wiped before and after each use.
• Leaving the store: When the purchase is finished, an employee will escort the customer out of the store.
Meanwhile, you can still order products on BestBuy.com, through our app or over the phone, and have it delivered to your home or brought out to your vehicle through our contactless curbside service. We also offer free, virtual in-home consultations.
Source: Best Buy