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Best Buy Pilots New Membership Program to Adjust to Changing Consumer Behavior

  • Nadine Ghiran - SUBTA
  • Apr 14, 2021
  • 5 minute read

Best Buy Co., the electronics retailer, is testing out a yearly membership program to adapt to the recent changes in consumer behavior due to the pandemic. Best Buy Beta includes numerous perks and benefits to its members for nearly $200/year.

The pilot program is currently available at select stores in Iowa, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania, with plans to be rolled out in 60 stores across six states by the end of April 2021, according to the company.

Photo credit: Best Buy

Best Buy Beta’s debut is part of the company’s five-year plan. This program is the retailer’s greatest effort in meeting its customers’ needs and expectations.

What does Best Buy Beta Offer?

For $199.99/year, or $179.99/year for Best Buy credit card holders, members have access to the following benefits:  

  • Concierge support
  • Free standard shipping and delivery
  • Unlimited Geek Squad support
  • Exclusive member pricing on eligible products
  • Two-year protection on most purchases
  • 60-day return window
  • Free in-home delivery and installation on eligible products
  • 10% off subscription services that are billed through Best Buy

Best Buy Beta will replace the company’s already existing subscription program called Total Tech Support within the 60 stores where it will be offered, a spokesperson told Bloomberg, with plans to take it over nationwide. While the two memberships are similar in nature, Best Buy Beta offers customers more within its subscription.

Total Tech Support


Best Buy Beta


  • Complimentary standard in-home services on eligible products
  • Unlimited, free Geek Squad support

Total Tech Support does not offer customers free shipping in its membership. With more than 60% of all global customers expecting free shipping, Best Buy Beta’s perks could also help please a broad audience while building or improving a long-lasting relationship with subscribers.

Using Subscription to Remain Competitive in the Marketplace

Best Buy Beta is the company’s latest attempt at competing with retailers like Walmart and Amazon. Previously, Best Buy and Amazon teamed up to sell Amazon’s new smart TVs, giving the electronics retailer access to Amazon’s vast customer base. 

Amazon Prime, priced at $119/year, ended 2020 with over 140 million members. Last September, Walmart introduced Walmart+, which is priced at $98/year and includes perks such as free delivery, fuel points, and a “Scan & Go” feature. 

Walmart reported close to $342 billion in net sales at the end of last year, coming close to Amazon’s $386.1 billion. Meanwhile, Best Buy reported $43.6 billion in revenue last year — nearly nine times less than Amazon and eight times less than Walmart.

Best Buy’s CEO Corie Barry unveiled a five-year plan back in 2019 to increase revenue and close the gap between her company and the two other retail giants. Best Buy Beta is part of that plan, playing a key role in the company’s overarching goal to expand its e-commerce services.   

Barry also touched on a company forecast of $50 billion in revenue in 2024, which would require a 3% annual growth over the next five years. Best Buy Beta could once again help achieve that goal by improving customer acquisition and retention rates.

The Effects of Changing Consumer Behaviors

The coronavirus pandemic forced Best Buy to pivot and look for new ways to engage with consumers and establish a strong relationship. Online shopping increased over 170% for the retailer in November 2020, with fewer people going to the store due to stay-at-home mandates. The company’s total Q2 2020 online revenue grew 240% compared to Q2 2019.

The company is implementing cost-effective strategies to prioritize this increase. Several upcoming store closures will relieve Best Buy of hefty leases and maintenance costs, enabling the company to invest in necessary store locations for fulfillment purposes — two-thirds of the company’s online revenue was picked up in a store or curbside, shipped from a store, or delivered by a Best Buy employee, according to Barry — while solidifying its online presence.

The swift shift in consumer buying behavior also resulted in Best Buy announcing that it would reduce work hours and cut an undisclosed amount of jobs from its stores, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Our workforce will need to evolve to meet the evolving needs of customers while providing more flexible opportunities for our people,” a spokesperson told USA TODAY.

Customers are more interested in an online shopping experience and Best Buy recognizes that. The implementation 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, in a press release.

With limited options and competitors already ahead, Best Buy Beta is the company’s best solution for increasing revenue and establishing a foothold in the subscription world to continue providing the best customer service.

Key Takeaways:

  • Best Buy unveiled a new membership program called Best Buy Beta.
  • The subscription cost is $199.99/year, or $179.99/year for Best Buy credit card holders.
  • The benefits include unlimited Geek Squad support and exclusive member pricing on eligible products.
  • Best Buy Beta is the latest attempt at rivaling against subscription services like Amazon Prime and Walmart+.

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