Best Buy is announcing it is opening new stores, though a whole new retail format. The retailer unveiled its first “digital-first, small-format” store that caters to customers in a way that better caters to changing consumer habits.
The new store is contained in 5,000 square feet of retail space, much smaller than the average 38,500 sq feet of its usual “big box” stores. The store has a curated showroom of products across the most popular categories of consumer tech including home theater and audio, computers, headphones, wearables, fitness, smartphones, cameras, smart home, and small appliances. These stores will not carry full-size home appliances like their big box stores.
The stores will also have a Geek Squad area where customers can get consultation and setup services, and the store will be set up to handle online orders either in-store or outside using new pickup lockers that will be available even after store hours.
If a customer wants to buy a TV or smartphone, for instance, they can scan the QR code of the item and pay on their mobile device. Best Buy employees will receive the order digitally and retrieve the item from the stock room to hand to the customers. Store patrons will also have the option to use Mobile Self-checkout for smaller items like phone cases, charging cables, and gift cards. For those who’d rather not use digital shopping, ‘Blue Shirts” will still be available to help customers.
Best Buy is no stranger to the small retail format. In 2021, the company closed down all of its remaining Best Buy Mobile stores. These retail stores were even smaller and could be found inside malls, competing with wireless carrier stores selling mostly smartphone plans, mobile devices, accessories, and various portable electronics – though in a smaller retail footprint than these new digital-first stores.
The first Best Buy location piloting this new format is to open in Monroe, North Carolina. Meanwhile, the company is also piloting a more experiential-focused store format in Charlotte, North Carolina that’s also equipped with around-the-clock pick-up lockers , more Geek Squad service space, and premium home theater and luxury appliance experiences.