The Best Buy Geek Squad has some new nerds moving into its turf.
Walmart is quietly launching a new program called the Tech Services Initiative at select stores in Northwest Arkansas and the Dallas area. Similar to the Geek Squad technology support service introduced by Best Buy in 2004, the Tech Services Initiative provides customers a variety of remote, in-home and in-store technology assistance for an annual fee of $89.99. Customers can sign up online or in a participating store.
As part of the offering, security solutions provider McAfee and retail service delivery platform True Network Solutions are partnering to provide members with one year of the McAfee Total Protection service to defend 10 devices against viruses and other online threats.
Devices can include phones, computers, tablets, smart home devices, Chromebooks, WiFi and other networking hardware, TVs, and printers. Walmart will support almost any device brand, regardless of where it was purchased.
McAfee and True Network Solutions are also supporting Walmart Tech Services Initiative offerings including a U.S.-based, 24/7 call center with English- and Spanish-speaking tech experts, unlimited virus protection and removal, unlimited troubleshooting and device repairs, and unlimited PC tune-ups. Remote technical support personnel can only access a member’s computer with their express consent and a unique one-time code.
Walmart originally began testing a pilot program in select stores by offering both consumer electronics and technology services to customers. It is now rolling out Walmart Tech Services to more stores based on positive customer response. McAfee and True Network Solutions have signed a five-year deal to support the program.
Best Buy has been slowly building out its Geek Squad offering in recent years, including the bundling of Geek Squad services for all devices in a customer’s home (whether purchased at Best Buy or not) as part of a wider paid membership program called Best Buy Beta. In 2013, Best Buy and Target piloted a partnership that positioned Geek Squad agents in Target stores in Denver and Minneapolis, but did not move forward with the combined service. Other retailers including Amazon and Staples have also made efforts to provide technology services to customers.
“Our commitment to delivering easy-to-use security solutions is further made possible through this collaboration,” said Pedro Gutierrez, senior VP at McAfee. “We are proud to partner with True Network Solutions to give a new set of customers better peace of mind, especially at a time when the need for security solutions is higher than ever as today’s consumers leverage digital devices for nearly all daily activities.”