Best Buy is launching a new membership program called Best Buy Beta in some test markets. The new program, somewhat like Walmart’s Walmart+, focuses on Amazon’s hugely popular Prime membership service, but focuses on Best Buy’s own strengths in addition to the usual perks of free shipping.
For $200 per year — or $180 for Best Buy credit card holders — Beta members get unlimited technical support from Geek Squad, including comprehensive protection (up to two years) on most purchases, free standard shipping, and free installation on most products and devices . There is also a 24/7 ‘concierge’ service available exclusively to Beta members via phone, chat or email.
The details Best Buy’s company announcement about the concierge service is sparse, but it sounds like some sort of generic “niece or nephew who’s good at technology” that can answer questions. (nibbling as a service?)
Beta’s $200 annual fee is significantly more expensive than Amazon Prime ($120) or Walmart+ ($100), but its value-added services focus heavily on a human element rather than simple economies of scale. The added cost may seem like a no-brainer for customers who are particularly prone to technological confusion.
The pilot program is currently available in select stores in Iowa, Oklahoma and eastern Pennsylvania, with plans to expand to Minnesota, North Carolina and Tennessee soon. If you’re currently looking for 24/7 NaaS but don’t live in one of Best Buy’s trial areas, you can subscribe to the company’s existing Total Tech Support program for the same price, but with significantly lower benefits. .
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