Enlarge /. Extended warranties and unlimited technical support – even for things you didn't buy from Best Buy – are more of a potential added value for Best Buy Beta than the ubiquitous free shipping.
Best Buy is offering a new membership program called Best Buy Beta in some test markets. Similar to Walmart's Walmart +, the new program targets Amazon's hugely popular Prime member service – but focuses on Best Buy's own corporate strengths in addition to the usual benefits of free shipping.
For $ 200 per year or $ 180 for Best Buy credit card holders, Beta members can get unlimited tech support from Geek Squad, including extended protection (up to two years) on most purchases, free standard shipping, and free installation for most Products and devices. There is also a 24/7 concierge service available exclusively to Beta members via phone, chat, or email.
The details contained in Best Buy's company announcement about the concierge service are slight, but it sounds like some kind of generic "niece or nephew who is good at technology" who can answer questions. (Nibbling as a service?)
The $ 200 annual fee for Beta is significantly more expensive than Amazon Prime ($ 120) or Walmart + ($ 100). However, the value-added services focus heavily on a human element and not on simple economies of scale. The added cost could be a breeze for customers particularly prone to technological confusion.
The pilot program is currently available in select stores in Iowa, Oklahoma, and eastern Pennsylvania. An expansion to Minnesota, North Carolina and Tennessee is planned soon. If you're in the 24/7 NaaS market but don't live in one of Best Buy's pilot areas, you can subscribe to the company's existing Total Tech Support program for the same price, but with significantly reduced benefits.