Best Buy offers a new way to shop with its first-ever digital-first small box store
Best Buy is today opening a new digital-first, small box store concept that it believes will change the way consumers shop for the products it sells.
The new 5,000-square-foot store, located in Monroe, NC, features a curated selection of “best-on-category products” in audio and home theater, cameras, cellphones, computing, small appliances, smart home tech and wearables.
Shoppers entering the store are greeted by a seven-foot digital display that will explain how to shop.
Most of the products on display in the store are there just for that — display. Shoppers can test how a product works and, if they decide to buy, simply scan the QR code on the item’s price tag. An order is then sent to the store’s Blue Shirts who pick it up in the backroom and bring it to the register for the purchase to be completed.
The store also features some grab-and-go items such as cell phone cases, charging cables and gift cards. Customers with the Best Buy app can scan an item’s barcode and use mobile self-checkout to make a purchase.
The traditional Best Buy customer experience is often defined by the experience of working with the chain’s Blue Shirt associates to get questions answered. Customers in the new store will have that option or they can shop live with an expert from Best Buy’s virtual store. This can be done via call, text chat or video chat while shopping in the store.
Best Buy CEO Corie Barry, last August, announced that the retailer was piloting a virtual store in the lead-up to the 2021 Christmas selling season.
“We are building out a physical store in one of our distribution centers that will have merchandising and products and will be staffed by dedicated associates, including vendor-provided expert labor, but it will have no physical customers,” Ms. Barry said at the time. “Instead, customers can interact with our experts via chat, audio, video and screen sharing depending on their preference and be able to see live demos, displays and physical products.”
Best Buy has been testing a variety of store concepts, including outlet stores. The chain earlier this year said it would open four new outlets this summer to its 16 existing locations as it moved toward its goal of doubling the number of outlets by the end of 2023.
- Best Buy unveils first ever small-format, digital-first store – Best Buy
- Best Buy builds a virtual store to assist customers remotely – RetailWire
- Has Best Buy found an outlet for future growth? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect customers to respond favorably to the shopping experience offered in Best Buy’s new small format store in Monroe, NC? How likely is the chain to migrate some of this experience to its bigger box stores?