Best Buy Mobile tests new mall-based stores to focus on a key customer need: getting all of their mobile technology to work together
Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) today announced it is launching unique, stand-alone stores in malls that aim to help customers get more from their mobile lives. The new, larger Best Buy Mobile stores will help customers navigate the wireless landscape by offering unprecedented choice of a full range of mobile devices including phones, laptops, and other handhelds as well as teaching customers how the devices work together.
The stores target mall shoppers that don’t traditionally shop at Best Buy’s big-box stores: women and younger shoppers; so-called “tweens” and teenagers. Currently, this audience shops multiple retailers for many of their products. Through the new store format, Best Buy Mobile will simplify their shopping experience, bringing all of the products as well as the service plans and accessories needed for their mobile lifestyle under one roof.
“The new Best Buy Mobile stores are based on one simple idea: technology is better when it works together,” said Shawn Score, president of Best Buy Mobile. “Today, life happens on the go. On good days, technology helps. On bad days, the gadgets don’t work. This store is designed to help people get more from their mobile life.”
The new Best Buy Mobile store incorporates:
- A specialized assortment of mobile products featuring mobile phones, ultra-portable notebook computers, mobile media devices and accessories
- Knowledgeable, non-commissioned associates including Geek Squad agents
- Best Buy Mobile’s Walk-Out-Working program which provides multimedia and smart-phone set up
- Straight-forward pricing, including no rebates
- Product repairs, loaner phones, and additional services that keep the technologies up and running
At 3,000 square feet, the new Best Buy Mobile stores are double the size of the original stand-alone Best Buy Mobile stores, yet not as large as traditional Best Buy stores, which average about 40,000 square feet. The stores offer consumers impartial, informed advice in a boutique-like setting.
On tap at the new stores are “Experience Zones;” designated areas for customers to interact with the products and learn how they work with each other as well as etching machines that “tattoo” mobile devices with personalized messages and/or photos. Dedicated “kids zones” will give shoppers a nearby place to drop off the kids yet still keep an eye on them while they shop. A Geek Squad Precinct will be located within each store for all services needs.
Stores will launch in three mall locations this month:
- The Mall of America in Bloomington, MN (Oct. 17)
- Fair Oaks Mall, in Fairfax, Va. (Oct. 17)
- Woodfield Mall, in Schaumburg, Ill. (Oct. 31)
Best Buy is uniquely positioned to help its mobile phone customers. Over the last two years, Best Buy has converted special sections of its 965 U.S. stores to Best Buy Mobile stores as well as launched more than 30 stand-alone Best Buy Mobile stores. Customers have responded positively to the new mobile phone experience. The conversion of the Best Buy Mobile store-within-a-store concept drove a strong double-digit gain in U.S. mobile phone connections during the second quarter and Best Buy also experienced a nearly triple-digit gain in comparable store sales of mobile phones and accessories.
Best Buy Mobile was created as a joint venture with leading U.K. mobile retailer The Carphone Warehouse Group (CPW) in 2006. The stores feature one of the largest selections of carriers, handsets and accessories available anywhere, as well as a highly-trained staff to help customers make the most of their mobile phones.