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The Associated Press reports that Best Buy, “trying to make itself indispensable to shoppers as people shop more online,” is rolling out a new service that has salespeople making house calls on customers “to help make recommendations on TVs, streaming services and more.”

The move comes after a successful five-market test of the service. Best Buy CEO Hubert July says that it has been found that “shoppers spend more at the home than they do at the stores,” and that it works in both the company’s and shoppers’ best interests when Best Buy can make itself part of the conversation.

The AP writes, “Skeptics had been prepared to write Best Buy’s obituary just a few years ago, predicting it would follow its now-defunct rival Circuit City as shoppers used stores as a browsing showroom and then bought online. But the company has cut costs and improved stores and training. Best Buy is also working to forge deeper partnerships with its suppliers, and offering more online services.

“Joly said Best Buy would do more marketing of the in-home service. Right now, sales associates are promoting it in stores — when they talk to shoppers about products, they often will recommend setting up a home visit. Consultation topic range from getting recommendations for TVs to streaming or smart home services. That complements the Geek Squad service, which offers tech repairs and at home installations for a fee.”

The story notes that there may be some competition in this segment: Amazon “has reportedly also been trying out a program that sends its employees to shoppers’ houses for free ‘smart home’ recommendations.”

In other Best Buy-related news, the Star Tribune reports that the retailers is expanding the availability same-day delivery services - rolling it out from the 13 markets where it is now available to 14 more next week, and to a total of at least 40 by the end-of-year holiday shopping season.

According to the story, “Best Buy also is drastically cutting its fee for the service from $14.99 to $5.99. And Best Buy has added more products to the list of thousands of eligible items, from phone chargers to tablets and headphones.”
KC's View:
This plays into something that we’ve talked about a lot here on MNB over the years … the idea that for retailers to differentiate and distinguish themselves, they have to a resource for consumers as well as a source of product.

There’s no question in my mind that retailers can play a critical role in the decision-making process for consumers, especially in categories where there may be clutter and confusion. You know, like in retail environments where there are tens of thousands of products to choose from.

Anything that retailers can do to help shoppers be smarter can go a long way not just toward bolstering the bottom line, but in creating and maintaining the kinds of relationships than can make a difference long-term.