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Best Buy turning 60 of its locations into Apple Store copycats

July 06, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • A new report says Best Buy is converting 60 of its more than 1,000 U.S. stores to a new format that closely resembles that of Apple's retail stores.
A new report says Best Buy is converting 60 of its more than 1,000 U.S. stores… (Elise Amendola / Associated…)

Good artists copy, but does the saying apply to retailers too? Best Buy hopes so, as it's converting 60 of its locations into Apple Store lookalikes, according to a new report.

The new stores, dubbed "Best Buy 2.0," take several plays from Apple's book, including a new help desk reminiscent of Apple's Genius Bar, more focus on mobile devices, and the ability to let shoppers pay from more locations.

The help desk, called Solution Central, is manned by Best Buy's Geek Squad, according to the report. The desk includes chairs so that customers can sit down and connect with employees, who have been getting more training to improve the service they give customers.

Best Buy is hoping better service will lead to more visits per year from customers.

The stores, which take on a blue and white color scheme, are about 20% smaller than Best Buy's usual 58,000-square-foot locations, according to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the news. The stores also focus more on smartphones, tablets and e-readers rather than TVs.

Best Buy said half of its shoppers nowadays use the showroom to check out gadgets but look for better deals online. That's up from 10% just two years ago.

The company's executives told the Journal they hope the new stores become a hangout for customers where they'll want to go to learn more about devices and, the company hopes, buy them there.

"This is catch-up, if you will, but there's much more to come," Best Buy interim Chief Executive Mike Mikan told the Journal.

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