Best Buy is piloting a membership program that’ll offer subscriber perks similar to Amazon Prime and Walmart+.
Best Buy Beta is rolling out starting today in three US states. However, you’ll have to pay $199 per year—significantly more than the $119 annual fee for Amazon Prime and $98 for Walmart+. (Best Buy card holders only need to pay $179 a year.)
In return, subscribers will get free shipping and exclusive prices on some products in store and online. They’ll also get unlimited “Geek Squad” technical support, up to two years of protection on eligible products if they break or fail, and free in-home installation on most appliances.
Best Buy Beta members will also be able to return purchased products within a 60-day window instead of the standard 15 days. There’s also free next-day or free same-day deliveries when available.
The company is offering the membership program first in select stores based in Iowa, Oklahoma, and eastern Pennsylvania. It then plans on expanding the program to retail locations in Minnesota, North Carolina, and Tennessee later this month for a total of 60 stores.
The program arrives as Best Buy is trying to bolster its e-commerce business, which now accounts for about 43% of its domestic sales. During 2020’s fourth quarter, the company’s online sales also grew almost 90% year over year. Still, the company will have to play catch-up to Amazon and Walmart, which not only sell electronics, but also groceries and household items.
Currently, Best Buy offers a separate $199-a-year “Total Tech Support” membership plan, but it largely focuses on helping customers install appliances. According to Bloomberg, the company is going to replace the plan with Best Buy Beta in the select markets. The retailer is also mulling whether Total Tech Support will be phased out nationwide for Best Buy Beta, but no decision has been made yet.