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Best Buy to start reopening stores—by appointment only; resuming home ops

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Best Buy Corp. will gradually start reopening some stores but, initially, customers will need an appointment to enter. It also is resuming home delivery and other at-home services.

Starting in May, the consumer electronics giant will open select locations for in-store consultations. Customers will be able to schedule appointments (by phone, online or app) with dedicated sales associates to come into a store and discuss their technology needs. The service will launch in about 200 of Best Buy’s approximate 1,000 U.S. stores. 

“Since each customer’s appointment will have a dedicated sales associate, there will be a limited number of customers in the store at any one time to ensure appropriate social distancing takes place,” the company stated in a release.

Best Buy laid out a detailed plan for how the in-store consultations will work (see end of article). It also noted the participating stores will follow stringent safety measures that include mandatory gloves and masks for all employees and mandatory self-health checks by employees before each shift using a new employee app developed by Best Buy. Social distancing will be reinforced with signage and enforced by employees, and sneeze guards will be placed near the front registers. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for shopping carts will be available.

In addition, Best Buy, which pivoted to a curbside pickup model and stopped at-home services amid the outbreak, will resume in-home delivery, installation and repairs in early May, but with added safety precautions. 

“Our employees will follow new safety guidelines before, during and after an in-home visit that meet or exceed CDC guidance,” CEO Corie Barry said in an update on the chain’s website. “These requirements will apply equally to any third party entering your home on our behalf. As you would expect, we will not offer this service in communities where local governments ask us not to or where, in our view, things are not as safe as we require.”

In-Store Consultation Model
Here’s how Best Buy’s in-store consultation model will work. Customers who schedule an appointment, will get confirmation of their visit, along with reminders via text and email. An employee will call the customer before their visit to go over the process, explain safety measures and get more information about their shopping needs.

When it’s time for the appointment to start, the customer will be notified to go to the store entrance and check in. An employee go over the consultation and safety process and introduce the customer to their dedicated sales associate. 

The customer and sales associate will shop together, following social distancing and safety guidelines. Signs and floor stickers will provide navigation and guidance on safety. For product demos, the employee will wipe the product, let the customer handle it and then wipe it down when the customer is done.

If a customer decides to buy an item, they will be taken to the front registers, where distancing guidelines will be followed. If using a credit card, the machine and screen will be wiped before and after each use. When the purchase is completed, an employee will escort the customer out of the store.

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