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Retail Industry Updates

At Best Buy, Customers Can Get Their Very Own Sales Associates

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We like how Best Buy is initiating the reopening of some its stores that have been closed for several weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a bit Orwellian, but so is just about everything these days.

Beginning this month, Richfield, Minn.-based Best Buy, which operates about 1,000 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, began offering an in-store consultation service at about 200 of its stores, according to the company’s website blog, which states that customers can schedule appointments with Best Buy sales associates for their tech essential needs.

So if you want to buy a new television, you can go to Best Buy and have your own sales associate help you. How is Best Buy doing this? Since there will be a limited number of customers in the store at any one time to ensure appropriate social distancing, there are enough employees who are available for one-on-one consultation.

Early on in the crisis, Best Buy closed the inside of its stores to shoppers and moved to a curbside pickup model for customer and employee safety, which works well when purchasing many items. But the retailer said that some purchases, like large appliances or networking equipment, are often made easier with an in-person store visit and a conversation with an expert to answer detailed questions. With the easing of restrictions, Best Buy can now offer that.

The process for an in-store consultation is meant to be easy to follow and safe for customers and employees. Here’s how it works:

• Customers schedule appointments by phone, online, through the Best Buy app or via live chat.

• Customers get confirmation of their visit, along with reminders via text and email. An employee will call the customer before their visit to go over the process, explain safety measures and get more information about their shopping needs.

• When it’s time for the appointment to start, the customer will be notified to go to the store entrance and check in. A host will go over the consultation and safety process and introduce the customer to their sales associate. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for shopping carts will be available, and employees will wear face coverings and gloves.

• The customer and sales associate will shop together, following social distancing and safety guidelines. Signs and floor stickers will provide navigation and guidance on safety. For product demos, the employee will wipe the product, let the customer handle it and then wipe it down when the customer is done. Employees will clean surfaces as needed throughout the appointment.

• When a customer decides to buy an item, he or she will be taken to the front registers, where distancing guidelines will be followed and there will be sneeze guards. If using a credit card, the machine and screen will be wiped before and after each use.

• When the purchase is finished, an employee will escort the customer out of the store. 

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