Best Buy to allow in-store appointment shopping at 200 stores starting in May

Starting in May, Best Buy says it will allow customers to make appointments for in-store consultations in some 200 of its stores across the country. 

The Richfield, Minnesota-based retailer closed its stores in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and moved to a curbside pickup model for customer and employee safety. 

Best Buy said curbside pickup works well for purchasing many items, but some purchases such as large appliances or networking equipment are made easier with an in-person store visit and talking with an expert. 

At the 200 stores offering the new, in-store consultation service, customers will be able to schedule appointments with sales associates. The retailer said there will be a limited number of customers in the store at one time to ensure proper social distancing takes place. 

Best Buy said it will provide protective gear for all employees, including gloves and masks, which they will be mandated to wear. Employees will also be required to perform self-health checks before each shift using a new employee app developed by the retailer. 

All areas and surfaces in the store will be sanitized before and after each appointment, the retailer said. For product demos, employees will wipe down the product, let the customer handle it and then wipe it down when the customer is done.

Customers will be able to schedule appointments by phone, online or through the Best Buy app. 

Best Buy had announced earlier this month it would furlough approximately 51,000  U.S. employees while its stores were closed. However, Best Buy said none of those furloughed employees will be brought back to support this new service.