The new shopping model responds to increased consumer demand for a contactless, streamlined shopping experience

Best Buy Opens First Digital-First Store
The new store model responds to growing consumer demand for a contactless and hassle-free shopping
Best Buy has opened its first digital trial store in Monroe, North Carolina. The small 5,000-square-foot store (less than 15% the size of a typical Best Buy store) offers customers a variety of technology products to try out in-store, including wearables, smart home devices, and computing devices.

Similar to Apple Stores, customers can try purchasing items directly from the floor and also interact with the “Geek Squad” for any questions or issues. However, Best Buy’s goal is to digitize this entire process and encourage visitors to shop, talk to experts, and view items using the Best Buy app. Products on display have QR codes that customers can scan, with salespeople taking them to the right customer to try on. There’s also live store support with experts on hand through Best Buy’s virtual store, reachable via voice or video call.

Bulk cabinets are located outside the store for customers who want to keep larger online orders out of reach, while a 7-foot-tall screen greets customers as they enter the store to provide information about the store’s offerings.

Consumer habits continue to be impacted by the pandemic, with increased demand for contactless and hassle-free shopping, as well as persistent inflation rates dampening consumer habits. To cope with this changing climate, retailers are using digital tools, including robotic assistants, portable scanning devices, and automated delivery of online orders to not only provide a contactless experience but also reduce labor costs as stores feel the pressure of declining customers.

Best Buy’s news comes as part of its business model to experiment with new store formats for “better service… If the Monroe store proves successful, other iterations of the digital model could be rolled out more broadly.”