While many shopper marketing programs are being scrapped or put on hold in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Best Buy has quickly rolled out its own COVID-19-inspired promotional efforts capitalizing on the increased demand for home technology as much of the country prepares to stay home, indefinitely.
On bestbuy.com, a “be-at-home essentials” home page carousel ad last week briefly touted “Room-refreshing appliances, the latest work-from-home tech, and personal health-monitoring devices,” while a “Shop Now” button leads to a dedicated hub for related categories.
Positioning its offerings as “the tech you want for a cleaner, more productive home,” the hub showcases six different “be-at-home essentials” categories, including:
- Home office tech such as computers, printers, software and “more to make working from home smarter and more productive.”
- Home cleaning and care such as air purifiers, vacuums, spray cleaners and “more to keep your home clean and sanitized.”
- Health monitoring equipment spanning thermometers, blood pressure monitors, glucose monitors and UV sanitizers.
- Home gym equipment including exercise bikes, ellipticals, treadmills and post-workout massagers.
Each category directs to a dedicated e-commerce page listing pages of relevant products. A “be-at-home essentials” top-of-page ad also runs throughout various pages within the site.
Prior to deploying the digital marketing effort, Best Buy reportedly saw a boost in sales on work-from-home-related items like adaptors, chargers, monitors, keyboards and laptops as well as appliances like freezers and refrigerators as people continue to worry and stock-pile food amid the coronavirus pandemic. Current Best Buy employees told multiple news outlets including Vice’s Motherboard that they believe the company is trying to maximize sales as people are preparing to self-quarantine.
Some Best Buy employees compared the crowds in their stores as worse than those drawn on Back Friday. That was, however, before the company began limiting the number of shoppers it allowed in stores at one time, resulting in longer lines outside. "We have resorted to selling things like monitors and adapters as they are coming [off] the truck. Yesterday, we had all of our boxes open on the floor and we were just digging through product[s] to find the correct cables for customers," current employees told Vice, adding that the company tripled its sales target.
However, following these reports, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said in a March 19 message to customers about how the company is responding to COVID-19 that at this point, no employee is required to come to work if they aren’t comfortable with it. In addition, all employees who are sick or need to care for children that are out of school will be paid. She added that due to reduced hours and short staff, affected employees will still be paid the amount of their regularly scheduled hours.
As of March 22, the consumer electronics retailer also moved to “contactless” curbside service, allowing only employees into its stores. Plus, all in-home installation and repair has been temporarily suspended and will be rescheduled, and all in-home consultations are being conducted virtually. Meanwhile, Apple and Microsoft stores have closed until further notice.
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NOTE: For more images from this story and more, visit p2pi.org. Path to Purchase Institute members have access to more than 2,800 images and 360 articles of marketing and merchandising activity at Best Buy, along with a full Retailer Profile outlining the chain’s operations and strategies.