Best Buy’s New Normal Isn’t Business as Usual

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Best Buy’s New Normal Isn’t Business as Usual

By Jacqueline Barba - 05/05/2020
Source: Bestbuy.com

More than a month after closing stores and pausing in-home Geek Squad tech support and repair services, Best Buy is resuming some of the operations (where state and local restrictions allow).

After more than a month on pause, services that are re-starting include connecting appliances, per recent statements from the company and CEO Corie Barry on the company’s corporate blog.

“… We’ve taken the time to build what we believe are the right processes, acquire the right equipment, and create the right employee training," Barry said. “In short, we believe we’ve learned how to perform essential work in your home safely, for both you and our employees.” (Best Buy also widely shared a video detailing the at-home safety measures it has established. See below.)

The Minnesota-based retailer, which was deemed an "essential" business during the pandemic, is also opening to shoppers for appointment-only, in-store consultation services with a dedicated employee at 200 U.S. stores. Customers can schedule an appointment by phone or through the Best Buy app or website via live chat. Much like a hair salon appointment, customers will get a confirmation call prior to their visit, along with reminders via text and email. An employee will meet the shopper at the store entrance at the time of an appointment to go over the process, explain safety measures and get more information about the shopper's needs.

The customer and designated Blue Shirt employee will shop together, complying with social distancing guidance via navigational signage. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for shopping carts will also be available. Customers can still handle and trial products, while the employees will wipe the items clean before and after.

The retailer will also monitor store capacity to accommodate social distancing guidance. Best Buy is also mandating:

  • Protective gear, including gloves and masks, for all employees, provided by Best Buy.
  • Employee self-health checks before each shift using a new employee app developed by Best Buy.
  • Social distancing protocols guided by signage and floor markers, and enforced by employees.
  • Sanitization of high-traffic surfaces in the store before and after each appointment.

Best Buy has been only operating a curbside pickup service (as well as home delivery) since March 22, when it took its in-home agents out of the field, cancelling all scheduled installations, haul-aways or repairs for large items like refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers and TVs. On March 23, the retailer stopped in-home deliveries of these large items and instead began offering free delivery as far as the customers’ doorsteps. The retailer claimed the pickup service has worked very well for some purchases, but not for large appliances or networking equipment where Best Buy leverages its stores as a physical showroom and relies heavily on in-person, expert consultations to close the sale.