Prices are skyrocketing and Best Buy has a plan to entice shoppers looking for deals on TVs and laptops: no more factory outlets.
Over the next year, Best Buy will double the number of outlet stores it has to 32 — starting with new outlets in Chicago, Houston, Phoenix and Manassas, Va. — and add a the point-of-sale deals section at its website, the company said Wednesday.
Best Buy has been operating outlet stores since 2014, offering discounts on TVs and major appliances that have been returned, repaired, exchanged or discontinued by manufacturers. It also has a similar “open box” discount section in most of its approximately 1,000 stores.
Now the chain is opening new outlet stores with a wider assortment of products, including laptops, tables, game consoles and cell phones. It will add more services to those stores, such as same-day delivery, curbside pickup, and a Geek Squad center where shoppers can get tech support.
Best Buy thinks it needed to expand its point-of-sale strategy to better attract customers who buy based on the discounts they can find.
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Outlets are also a way for Best Buy to attract new buyers and re-engage old ones. The retailer has flourished in recent years, but faces stiff competition in the consumer electronics business from Amazon, Costco, Walmart and others.
Best Buy said 16% of customers who shop at current outlets have never purchased from Best Buy and 37% have not made a purchase from Best Buy in the past year.
Outlets are “important to customers,” Damien Harmon, executive vice president of omnichannel at Best Buy, said in an interview. “When you don’t have a solution like that…you also potentially disengage customers.”
Opening new outlet stores also has other benefits for Best Buy, Harmon said.
It allows the retailer to move discount sections out of their regular stores and free up space to showcase new full-priced merchandise.
And it gives Best Buy, the retail industry’s largest recipient of returned consumer electronics, another way to sell these products and keep them out of landfills.
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