By: Nick Gambino
Best Buy is doing its best to keep up with the times. That means updating their format and offering what the public is looking for. That’s the idea behind their newest endeavor. They just opened their first digital-first store in Monroe, North Carolina.
Unlike a typical Best Buy that fills a massive footprint, this new store is only about 5,000 square feet and carries a limited inventory, though not as limited as you might think. They will still sell most smaller electronic products as well as large TVs, but they won’t carry large appliances or other such big-box products. And as we said it’s “digital-first,” which needs some explaining.
“[It] will feature a curated selection of our best-in-category products, the expert services customers know and love like Geek Squad, and new ways to pick up your tech,” a Best Buy blog post reads. “Plus, we’re testing a new digital-first shopping experience that encourages customers to do everything from the shop, select your product and get advice digitally while in the store.”
It looks a lot like Best Buy’s answer to the Apple Store. It’s not surprising as that model has been copied by a ton of tech companies, including Microsoft. When you first enter the store, you’ll be greeted by a 7-foot digital display that will explain all the new stuff and how you might engage with the space.
Part of this digital-first model will include grab-and-go items where shoppers (users?) will simply pick up the product, scan it with their Best Buy app, pay for it through their phone and walk out. This will mainly apply to smaller items like charging cables, gift cards and phone cases.
Any larger items that aren’t grab-and-go are still easy to purchase. Scan the QR code on the price tag with your phone and a Blue Shirt will grab it from the back room and ready it at the checkout counter for you.
For now, this smaller store is just a pilot in the Charlotte area. If it proves successful, they might just roll them out to rest of the U.S. If they downsize their current stores to this new model and place larger appliances and products online, this could significantly reduce their overhead.
Unfortunately, large appliances usually require an in-person perusal before you purchase it, so I don’t know if this would work out in reality.