On Wednesday, electronics big box store Best Buy launched a test of a new membership program, Best Buy Beta. For $199.99 a year, or $179.99 for Best Buy credit card holders, members get exclusive pricing, unlimited technology support from the Geek Squad, additional protection on most product purchases, free standard shipping, and free installation on most products and appliances. Best Buy Beta also includes 24/7 concierge service via phone, chat or email using the Best Buy app.
At launch, the pilot program is available at select stores in Iowa, Oklahoma and eastern Pennsylvania. Later this month, Best Buy Beta will expand to additional stores in Minnesota, North Carolina and Tennessee, for a total of about 60 stores in six states. For now, prospective members can sign up for a Best Buy Beta membership in participating stores.
“As we look to evolve our membership programs, the goal of Best Buy Beta is to create a membership experience that customers will love and to leave them feeling confident throughout their relationship with Best Buy,” said Allison Peterson, Best Buy’s chief customer officer. “This pilot offers premium service, complete with support aimed at anticipating our customers’ needs.”
Highlights of the Best Buy Beta membership program include:
- An additional 24 months of protection on new tech purchases at no additional cost
- Exclusive member savings and discounts
- Free expert service and support on all tech products, regardless of where items are purchased, via call and chat. Members can also use the Google Assistant app or smart speaker to ask a Best Buy concierge to call them.
- 20% savings on labor for repairs
- Free standard delivery and installation on eligible purchases
- Extended 60-day return window and no restocking fees
- Everyday savings on subscriptions – 10% on most subscriptions billed through Best Buy, plus savings on Microsoft Office, Philo Live & On-Demand TV, Pandora Plus, TIDAL, and more
This new membership program does not replace Best Buy’s current Total Tech Support membership program which is available for $199.99 per year. This umbrella program covers all the tech in the member's home, plus 20% off repairs and advanced services, and $49.99 per visit set-up of technology like home security in a member's home. That program is separate. The My Best Buy Points program is also still available.
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Best Buy Beta’s price point is pretty steep for members, but the membership program could pay for itself for shoppers who buy a lot of technology and frequently need tech support or need help with installation of certain products. From Best Buy’s perspective, this new program gives the company another stream of revenue, making it less dependent on product sales. This is especially important as people have shifted their shopping habits to do more online shopping. How successful the program is depends, to an extent, on pricing, but also on user experience. Is this a service people want and need, and can Best Buy offer the 24/7 concierge service seamlessly? On a side note, we'd like to thank Best Buy for not calling the program Best Buy+ or Best Buy Pass.