How will physical retail begin again after a nationwide pause? Slowly.
After closing all of its stores to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, Best Buy will now offer in-store consultation services in about 200 of them.
The retailer is also resuming in-home Geek Squad tech support and repair services, and will continue to offer home delivery contactless curbside pickup at all stores.
“The world has learned much more about the virus, and we’ve taken the time to build what we believe are the right processes, acquire the right equipment, and create the right employee training,” said Best Buy CEO Corie Barry in a statement. “In short, we believe we’ve learned how to perform essential work in your home safely, for both you and our employees.”
Consumers seeking assistance with tech support or buying advice can schedule in-store consultative appointments online, through the Best Buy app, or via live chat with a company employee.
In order to ensure appropriate social distancing, appointments will be limited. All employees will undergo health checks before beginning a shift using a new app the company developed specifically for its associates.
They will also all wear Best Buy-supplied gloves and masks, and surfaces and areas will be sanitized in between appointments. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for shopping carts will also be available; products will be wiped in between demos, and credit card machines will be wiped in between uses.
Consumers will receive email and text confirmation of their visits, as well as a phone call from an employee to review the safety measures and collect information on their needs.
When they arrive, customers will check in at the store entrance. They will be accompanied by a Best Buy employee, who will shop alongside them in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Customers will also be escorted by an employee when they leave.
Best Buy is also applying signs, floor stickers and sneeze guards for added protection.
The company furloughed over 51,000 of its employees earlier this month to help offset steep declines from store closures. While its patchwork of contactless services enabled it to retain about 70% of its sales, the company nonetheless instituted labor and salary cuts.