Best Buy is the latest retailer to announce that it is closing all stores due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The company will instead offer curbside pickup and delivery, much like many other retailers have done over the last week as the coronavirus pandemic evolves.
Update 4/29: Best Buy has announced that starting in May, it will allow customers to schedule in-store consultations. The new policy will go into effect at around 200 stores in the United States, according to CNBC. Best Buy will also resume in-home delivery, installation, and repairs in May.
Shopping will look different once customers get to stores, the company said. A dedicated employee will shop with each customer, but remain socially distanced. If customers want to try a product, the employee will wipe it down, let them try it and then wipe it again. The employee will escort each customer to the register and later out of the store.
Best Buy has not yet provided more details on the future of its plans.
Like other retailers — including Apple — Best Buy’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak has been evolving at a rapid pace. The company originally intended to keep its retail stores open, but with limited hours and a maximum number fo 15 customers in a store at a time.
That changes today, however, with Best Buy CEO Corie Barry saying that the situation is “unprecedented and changing at a pace all of us are working to keep up with.” Starting Sunday, March 22, Best Buy is shifting entirely to curbside service and delivery.
What this means is that customers can place an order on the Best Buy website or in the Best Buy app and request pick up at their local store. If a customer is unable to place an online order, they can go to the store and have an employee go inside to check availability:
Beginning Sunday, March 22, we will offer contactless curbside service at all locations across the country where state or local laws allow. Rather than ask you to come into our stores, any items you order on BestBuy.com or the Best Buy app will be delivered to your car curbside. If, for any reason, you didn’t order the product in advance and the product is in stock in the store, one of our employees will be more than happy to go get it in the store and sell it to you while you remain in your car.
Best Buy also acknowledges that the coronavirus pandemic is causing a surge in demand for products that people need to work from home. “We are seeing a surge in demand across the country for products that people need to work or learn from home, as well as those products that allow people to refrigerate or freeze food,” Barry said.
Switching to curbside and delivery only will mean Best Buy needs fewer employees working at a time, but the company has committed to paying employees for two weeks, even if their hours are cut. “All field employees whose hours have been eliminated will be paid for two weeks at their normal wage rate based on their average hours worked over the last 10 weeks,” the company said.
Best Buy is a major vendor of Apple products, while it also offers repairs for iPhones and other devices at over 1,000 locations. There’s no timetable given for when Best Buy plans to reopen its stores.