Best Buy Launches New $199.99-a-Year Membership Program

Best Buy Beta will offer free installation and deliveries and unlimited tech support, and be available in about 60 stores by the end of the month.
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Best Buy  (BBY) - Get Report unveiled a new membership program that includes such features as free installation, unlimited technical support and members-only prices on select products and services.

The subscription service, called Best Buy Beta, will be available in about 60 stores by the end of the month and cost $199.99 a year, or $179.99 for those who have the company's branded credit card.

Best Buy Beta will also offer free deliveries and a concierge service that’s available to answer questions 24 hours a day. 

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Best Buy Protection or AppleCare plans are included for up to 24 months with purchases of eligible products, while membership is active.

The new service is already available at some stores in Iowa, Oklahoma and eastern Pennsylvania, and will soon expand to locations in Minnesota, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Best Buy's services accounted for just 4% of its U.S. sales in the fourth quarter, the same share as in the previous year’s quarter, according to Bloomberg.

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Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Best Buy introduced a five-year plan, called Total Tech Support, that focuses on providing more services and expanding e-commerce and new areas such as health care.

Total Tech Support will be replaced by Best Buy Beta in the pilot markets, a spokesman told Bloomberg. It might eventually replace Total Tech Support nationwide, but that decision has not yet been made.

Best Buy's move comes as more retailers are looking to offer subscription services. Amazon's  (AMZN) - Get Report Amazon Prime had 142 million members in the U.S. at the end of 2020, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

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In February, Best Buy posted stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings, but missed sales forecasts and cautioned that pandemic uncertainty could alter demand trends in the months ahead.

Shares of the Richfield, Minn. company were off slightly to $120.64 at last check on Wednesday.

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