Over the last year, Best Buy has been testing new store models to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers. Now the company has launched a new pilot — its first small-format, digital-first store.
The new 5,000 square foot store opened on July 26 in Monroe, North Carolina and provides easy access to services like Geek Squad, along with an assortment of specially curated products and new ways to pick up tech. The twist? The company is encouraging consumers to do everything from shop and get tech advice digitally while in the store.
“This is one more way we’re continuing to invest in our stores to better serve our customers’ needs in an ever-growing digital world and create a more seamless shopping experience,” said Best Buy.
New Ways to Engage
Consumers will have additional ways to shop and receive their products, including new pick-up lockers located outside of the store for around-the-clock pick-up. Additionally, the company is piloting a new shopping experience that is done completely digitally. At the entrance, shoppers will be greeted by a 7-foot-tall digital display that shows them the new capabilities and how they can shop inside the store.
The options include a mobile scanning feature that allows consumers to simply use their phone and scan the QR code on product price tags to shop. Once done, a Best Buy associate receives a notification to ready the item and deliver it to the pickup counter.
Additionally, the store allows consumers to use the Best Buy app to scan barcodes and use the mobile self-checkout option to complete their purchase on several grab-and-go items like charging cables, cell phones cases, gift cards, and more.
Even advice will come digitally, Consumers who need help from an expert can shop live while interacting with Best Buy’s virtual store via call, chat, or video. If they prefer in-person interaction, Blue Shirt associates will be available.
With a smaller footprint, Best Buy can focus on a small selection of “best-in-category” products that span several segments, including home theater, audio, computing, headphones, wearables, fitness, cell phones, cameras, smart home, small appliances, and more. This specific location, however, won’t carry major appliances — though they can be ordered online and picked up in store.
The company will continue its store pilots in Charlotte while it tests this new format.
A Trend in Digital Experiences
Several brands have launched digital-focused in-store experiences. Nike, for example, recently merged in-person shopping with digital experiences, offering consumers a content studio where they can leverage the brand’s customizable backdrops to create content on their social media channels.
Other companies have followed a similar strategy to Best Buy, focusing on streamlined shopping. Amazon, for example, is continuing to update its Dash Cart capabilities in order to optimize the checkout experience. Also, Panera like Best Buy launched an easy in-easy out experience, with its no seating, rapid-pickup store model.