Best Buy has operated outlet stores since 2014, offering discounts on TVs and major appliances that have been returned, repaired, exchanged or manufacturers have discontinued. It also has a similar “open-box” discount section at most of its approximately 1,000 stores.
Now, the chain is opening new outlet stores with a larger product assortment, including laptops, tables, gaming consoles and cell phones. It will add more services to these stores, such as same-day delivery, curbside pickup and a Geek Squad center where shoppers can get tech support.
Best Buy believes it needed to expand its outlet strategy so it can better appeal to customers who buy based on which discounts they can find.
Best Buy said 16% of customers shopping at current outlet stores had never purchased from Best Buy, and 37% hadn’t shopped at Best Buy in the prior year.
Outlet stores are “important to customers,” said Damien Harmon, Best Buy’s executive vice president of omnichannel, in an interview. “When you don’t have a solution like that … you also potentially disengaged customers.”
Opening new outlet stores carries other benefits for Best Buy, too, Harmon said.
It allows the retailer to move discount sections out of its regular stores and free up the space to showcase new, full-price merchandise.
And it gives Best Buy, the retail industry’s largest recipient of returned consumer electronics, another way to sell those products and keep them out of landfills.