August 12, 2022

Best Buy launches small format ‘Digital First’ stores

Best Buy this week opened its first small-format, “digital-first” outlet, a 5K SF store that offers mobile self-checkout and lets customers scan product QR codes for pickup at 24-hour front desk or locker pickup, the electronics chain announced this week.

Best Buy’s first small-format 5K SF store opens in Monroe, North Carolina, with what the company calls a “curated” product selection as well as a live employee service for advice on products, which allows buyers to contact experts online via voice calls, video links or chat.

The company’s announcement says the store is stocked with “best-in-class” products, including televisions, home theaters, computers, phones and wearables. Major appliances are not sold in the small format outlet, but customers can order them online and pick them up at the Monroe outlet.

Buyers can also scan products on display in the outlet – small-format stores are geared towards product demonstrations – and employees will bring items from the stockpile to the front register for pick-up. For smaller products, the Monroe outlet has placed pick-up lockers outside the store where customers can pick up a scanned order 24/7.

The small-format pilot store also offers a collection of what Best Buy calls “on-the-go” items — charging cables, cell phone cases, gift cards, and more. – which are available for mobile self-service payment. Customers who scan the barcodes using the Best Buy app can check out, collect their stuff and go.

Small format stores also offer the expert advice and repair services of Best Buy’s Geek Squad.

As it adapts to customer preferences for online shopping, Best Buy has experimented with several concepts to adjust its big-box stores — which typically have a footprint of up to 40,000 square feet — and introduce new outlets that sell open-box products at discounted prices. and are equipped to handle more repairs than the old store format.

The company has experimented with store sizes ranging from 14K SF to 35K SF. In existing big box stores, Best Buy has reduced its retail floor footprint and limited certain SKUs to make room for in-store fulfillment of online orders.

“Our belief that [is] there is no single, perfect store, rather it is a blend of different types of experiences working together within a specific community,” Best Buy said in a statement.

Over the past year, Best Buy has rolled out new store concepts in the Charlotte market, reducing its total in-market square footage by 5% and increasing in-market customer coverage by up to 85% by adding 260 outlets access for picking up customers and employees. deliveries, according to a transcript of Best Buy’s first-quarter earnings call.

The small-format POS that debuted in Monroe is the company’s second effort to introduce a mobile POS. Several years ago, Best Buy launched a series of outlets with smaller store footprints than s2K SF in malls, but closed them in 2018.

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