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Best Buy launches new $200 membership program to fight Amazon business

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    Best Buy announced on Wednesday that it is piloting a new membership program. The program is called Best Buy Beta and offers customers special discounts, free product installation and delivery, as well as unlimited tech support for $199.99 per year or $179.99 for customers with the company’s store credit card. The membership program is currently being rolled out to select stores in Iowa,

    Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania, but will be available in Minnesota, North Carolina, and Tennessee in April. It will encompass about 60 stores within the month. The program puts Best Buy in direct competition with Amazon Prime, which provides a similar offering for $119 per year and had over 150 million active members last year, according to data from Statista. Amazon and Best Buy have long competed for customers, and a recent report suggests Amazon has examined further offerings that could threaten Best Buy’s brick-and-mortar operations. Last week, Bloomberg reported that Amazon had looked into creating its own brick and mortar discount stores for electronics and home goods. That same day, Best Buy’s stock dipped lower. Just last month, the retailer announced it was laying off 5,000 employees and planning to close more stores. While Best Buy saw sales rise over the past year, fueled by the work-from-home boom, the company noted in its recent earnings call that sales have begun to drop off.

    Best Buy’s new membership program seems to fall in line with the company’s goals. Before the onset of the pandemic, Best Buy announced a five-year plan that focused on adding to e-commerce sales. The new program also focuses heavily on tech support through unlimited access to the Geek Squad, as well as 24-hour concierge services — a sector where the company thrives. Allison Peterson, Best Buy’s chief customer officer, said in the company’s press release that it was looking to continue developing membership programs. Best Buy already offers a Total Tech Support program for $199.99 per year, as well as a points program. The Total Tech Support program will be replaced by Best Buy Beta at the stores where the new program has been launched. Best Buy is not the first retailer to attempt to expand its membership programs. In September, Walmart unveiled Walmart+, a program that gives customers discounts on fuel and free delivery options. Read more

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