Best Buy tests in-home service

Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) is piloting a program that sends Geek Squad agents to customers' homes to consult on tech needs. The test business is one of several programs the electronics retailer is launching this year to grow sales and loyalty.

Under the program, experts from the Magnolia Design Center will make house calls to suggest ways to troubleshoot tech issues and suggest new electronic products for the home, reported Star Tribune.

While the service is free, Best Buy hopes to make money through customers purchasing recommended products.

"When it comes to adding tech to your home, picking the right products and getting everything working together can be a little overwhelming," a narrator says in a video on Best Buy's website. "So let Best Buy make it easy with a free, in-home consultation."

Best Buy will be directly competing with similar in-home services such as recent start-up Enjoy, which delivers high-tech products to homes and then helps customers learn how to use them.

Best Buy is hoping to lift sales after last quarter as same-store sales were roughly flat (down 0.1 percent) and are expected to remain so for most of the year. Early in 2016, the company reported disappointing holiday sales.

Thus far, the in-home service has launched in Atlanta, San Antonio, and Austin, Texas. The test will determine if the program goes into other markets – and likely whether or not it should remain free. Best Buy is also piloting partnerships with other retailers, such as Macy's, to try and push electronic sales in more noncompetitive outlets.

For more:
- see this Star Tribune article