As part of its effort to end its retail slide, Best Buy is testing smaller stores that borrow various aspects from Apple’s highly successful retail stores.
Best Buy has one prototype store in Richfield, Minn., which has a “Solution Central” table staffed by its Geek Squad employees that looks akin to Apple’s Genius Bars according to The Wall Street Journal. The test store also offers customers the ability to pay for products at several locations rather than in checkout lines, much like Apple does.
Best Buy’s stock has fallen 33 percent over the last 24 months, and sales at its stores have dropped almost 2 percent in each of the last two years.
Referred to as “Best Buy 2.0” by interim chief executive Mike Milkan, the experimental, Apple-ish stores are trying to supply a new focus on ensuring that customers can speak with employees who can assist them, not displaying as many gadgets as possible.
Best Buy is attempting to curtail “showrooming”, a trend where customers visit a physical store, such as Best Buy, to check out a product, and then go home to purchase the product from an online retailer such as Amazon.
In March, the company announced its intention to close 50 stores and cut $800 million in costs. After the closings, Best Buy will have about 1,050 stores remaining in the U.S. 60 of those will be converted to the “2.0” format.