Best Buy's New Loyalty Program Doubles Down On In-Store

Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) has launched a new mobile-oriented loyalty program called My Best Buy to replace the big-box electronics chain's Rewards Zone program, Mobile Commerce Daily reported last Wednesday (Sept. 18).

In the new loyalty program, customers will get bonus points for checking in using the Best Buy iPhone or Android mobile app when they walk into a Best Buy store. Loyalty program members will also receive exclusive promotions through the Best Buy app. All customers who currently have a Reward Zone account will automatically become My Best Buy members, the company said. Best Buy claims to have 40 million Reward Zone customers.

The Best Buy app has effectively been converted into a loyalty-program app, letting customers view their points and past purchases and promoting the benefits of the program. Customers who spend more get additional benefits, including free shipping and extra time for merchandise returns.

But it's arguably the geofencing element of the new app and loyalty program that could have the biggest impact on customers. Best Buy's chronic problem has been that customers came into the chain's stores to shop but not to buy. If shoppers used their phones inside the store, it was to order from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) or find who else had an even lower price online—or at least that's how the showroom-for-Amazon story had it.

The reality has always been more complicated, and the fact that Best Buy now appears to have turned itself around under the guidance of new CEO Hubert Joly suggests that the showrooming problem was always overblown. But now that Best Buy can tell when mobile customers—especially loyalty customers—are physically in the store, the chain has to leverage that with more than just generic offers.

Best Buy knows (or could know) everything that its loyalty customers have looked at on its e-commerce and mobile sites. It has the ability to make targeted offers once the customer is actually in the store, undercutting any showrooming impulse with a mobile marketing push of its own. If Best Buy doesn't take that extra step, it's efforts at extra in-store engagement with its best customers may be largely wasted.

For more:

- See this Mobile Commerce Daily story

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