Best Buy Launches Membership Program to Rival Amazon Prime

August 19, 2018 Mountain View / CA / USA - Best Buy shop entrance to one of their locations in south San Francisco bay area - Image.
Sundry Photography /

Best Buy said it will pilot a new membership program in select markets in an attempt to grab market share from Amazon Prime – or at least protect its own turf.

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In a Wednesday blog on the company’s website, Best Buy said the new program, called Best Buy Beta, will give members special discounts, unlimited Geek Squad technical support, up to two years of protection on most product purchases, free standard shipping and delivery, and free installation on most products and appliances.

The cost is $199.99 per year for regular customers and $179.99 per year for Best Buy credit card holders. Membership also includes access to an exclusive concierge service that gives members access to Best Buy’s concierge team 24/7 by phone, chat, email or through the Best Buy app. The program is currently being rolled out to select stores in Iowa, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania, with stores in Minnesota, North Carolina and Tennessee next on the list.

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If those kinds of services sound familiar, they are. As Business Insider noted Wednesday, Best Buy Beta will be in direct competition with Amazon Prime, which provides a similar membership program for $119 per year and had more than 150 million active members last year, according to Statista.

Michael Baker, a retail analyst at Davidson & Co., told CNN Business that Best Buy’s membership program is yet another example of the electronics retailer’s strategy to win customers through better customer service and technological expertise rather than just product sales. And with a membership program, Best Buy can generate recurring fees from customers.

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The membership program comes after a strong year for Best Buy, which has enjoyed a rise in sales of products such as laptops and kitchen appliances as more Americans worked and cooked at home. The company expects sales to taper off this year, however.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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