Best Buy, which began testing used game sales in some of its Canadian stores a year ago, has begun testing the waters in the U.S. by installing kiosks in its Dallas and Austin locations.
"This week, several of our Dallas and Austin stores will test a kiosk-based model that allows customers to insert their used games into a kiosk that will scan it for functionality, and immediately issue a voucher that is instantly redeemable for a Best Buy gift card," Barry Judge, CMO of Best Buy, wrote on his blog.
Judge went on to say that Best Buy will also be testing the sale of used games in those stores, while some of the kiosks will also rent games (and movies).
If any of this sounds familiar, it's because Wal-Mart made a similar announcement just one month ago, launching a limited pilot program of 77 "Video Game Buyback" kiosks in 2 percent of the chain's 3.656 total U.S. stores.
Engadget has gotten its hands on what it is calling “a leaked internal memo” which outlines Best Buys plans for the roll out of Windows 7. In addition to giving us the timelines for free upgrades, it also spells out pre-order plans, and a look at the new pricing model. The memo which describes Windows 7 as “Vista that works”, will first be made available for pre-order by customers on June 26th.
Home Premium upgrades will start at $49.99, while the professional edition will be sold at $99.99. These prices (if true) are significantly more reasonable than Vista upgrades which started at $129.95 for Home Premium, and $199.95 for Business. Pre-ordered copies won’t ship until the official October 22nd launch date, but at least this guarantees you the pricing shown above.
In addition to pre-order sales, Best Buy also outlined its “Technology Guarantee Program” which will allow people who obtain copies of Vista after June 26th to receive a free upgrade. According to the memo, this will apply to both new PC sales, and retail copies bought separately. If this is true, this might be a good way to upgrade your PC to Windows Vista for next to nothing in the months leading up to 7’s release.
The moral of the story here is that if you were planning on buying a new PC from Best Buy, you should probably hold off until June 26th. If the contents of the memo are legitimate, this will likely be a painful lesson for Best Buy who will probably find it much more difficult to sell new PC’s for the next couple of weeks.
As if Geek Squad, the PC repair portion of mega electronics chain Best Buy, needed any more damage to its geek cred, it went and got punked by a local Oregon Fox News team. But what's most surprising is how easily the undercover news team did it.
Taking a problem-free PC, the investigators pulled the IDE cable out of the hard drive and told local PC repair shops in the Portland-Metro area that the system wouldn't boot. This included a pair of Geek Squad locations, the first of which identified the problem and fixed it free of charge. Kudos then, right?
Wrong. The second Geek Squad location charged $70 off the bat for a diagnosis, which isn't particularly egregious. But after two days of waiting, a tech called back to inform the undercover team that their hard drive was broken. If that weren't bad enough, the tech claimed it would cost up to $580 to fix the problem! That's not all. Geek Squad said it found a virus and suggested that the 'owner' buy a new PC instead of having the 'broken' one repaired.
"We take any misdiagnosis very seriously, and I personally feel horrible that we missed this opportunity to be consistently accurate," Steve Carter, Geek Squad District Manager, wrote in a statement. "I'm working closes with my Geek Squad agents going forward to ensure that the highest level service is maintained consistently for our customers in Portland."
For those of you that still have a Circuit City credit card in your wallet, fret not – the minds at Chase have decided to allow you to use that (still good) card at Best Buy!
In a letter from Chase, Circuit City cardholders were told, “Chase has arranged for you to be able to use your account at Best Buy for all of your consumer electronics needs… In May 2009, we will be sending you a replacement Best Buy branded credit card that you can begin to use as soon as you receive it. Your account number and all of your existing rates, fees and terms will remain the same, which means that any existing regular or promotional financing balances will be treated the same way they are today.”
So, good news! If you hopped on board the sinking boat, you’ll soon be taxied via life raft to the bigger, still floating boat.
Who in the right mind wouldn’t want to save $100 on the purchase of a brand new iPhone? Goodness knows I would, but now it looks like members of Best Buy’s Premier Silver Reward Zone are getting that perk with the purchase of any 8GB or 16GB model of Apple’s big seller.
Still, other non-premier Rewards Zone members will have the option to take half a c-note off of the retail price, which isn’t too shabby. Keep in mind that this is in addition to other discounts that will be given when you sign up for a new plan.
So you’re not a member of the Rewards Zone and you’re looking to cash in? Looks like you’re out of luck. This promotion is only for members that joined before the 21st of this month (when the deal began). If you are a member, you have until the 28th.
Given that the economy is down in the dumps, it would be expected that online retailers are treating all of their customers with all the respect that they possibly can… right? Wrong. According to an annual report from Forsee Results more than one-third of the 40 online venues surveyed in a report on retail satisfaction finished with lower scores than they did at this very same time last year.
While many of the retailers’ scores remained the same, a meager one-quarter of them saw an improvement. At the top of the list is Washington’s own Amazon.com, with an 84 percent satisfaction rate, a two percent improvement over last year. All the way at the bottom is Neiman Marcus with a dismal 69 percent. Other notables are Newegg.com’s 78 percent, BestBuy.com’s 73 percent and Dell.com’s 73 percent.
While these percentiles might not give off the impression of poor performance, bear in mind the millions upon millions of people doing business with these companies online during the holiday season. Having a good 30 percent of the people that do business with you walk away unhappy is a very large number indeed.
Better than expected Black Friday sales weren't enough to offset what has been a supremely disappointing third-quarter for Best Buy. For Q3 2008, Best Buy reported earnings of $52 million, or 13 cents per share on revenue of $11.5 billion. Wall Street was expecting much better numbers to the tune of 24 cents per share. The disappointing earnings represent a 77 percent tumble from the same quarter last year.
"The historic slowdown in the economy and its effect on our business over the past 90 days have been the most challenging consumer environment our company has ever faced," Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson said in a statement. "We believe that there has been a dramatic and potentially long-lasting change in consumer behavior as people adjust to the new realities of the marketplace."
Moving forward, Best Buy will look to restructure starting with offering voluntary buyouts to most of its 4,000 corporate employees, followed by possible layoffs if the buyouts aren't taken.
Rival electronics retailer Circuit City has also been going through financial woes of its own, recently entering into bankruptcy and closing many of its stores.
Whether you're looking to purchase a standalone Blu-ray player or going for the entertainment combo kill with Sony's Playstation 3 console, the cost of entry remains a prohibiting factor for many consumers. This gets compounded by the fact that upscaling DVD players cost far less than Blu-ray while still offering a better picture than standard DVDs. But what if you could pick up a Blu-ray player for under $100?
Now you can, in a roundabout sort of way. Best Buy has started selling Insignia's NS-BRDVD Blu-ray player for a cent under $200 and with it a coupon book for $100 worth of Blu-ray flicks from Disney, Touchstone, and Miramax. The player itself is pretty spartan with few of the features found on higher end models, and it remains to be seen whether $100 in free movies will prove enticing enough (for $1 extra per month, Netflix subscribers can add Blu-ray titles to their queue), but it is the least expensive Blu-ray player around. Kinda.
Know of any good Blu-ray player deals? Hit the jump and post a link!
And so the Napster saga continues (or, depending on your perspective, it comes to an end). The former peer-to-peer pioneer gone legit music service managed to avoid being gobbled up by an ice cream store owner, but the temptation to sell ultimately proved too strong for investors eager to cash in rather than continue to face stiff competition.
According to The Wall Street Journal, electronics retailer Best Buy has agreed to buy Napster for $121 million, which includes $67 million of cash and short-term investments on Napster's books. The acquisition values the digital music service at $2.65 per share, or almost double the closing price on Friday, which sat at $1.36.
"Best Buy intends to use Napster's capabilities and digital subscriber base to reach new customers with an enhanced experience for exploring and selecting music and otehr digital entertainment products over an increasing array of devices," said Best Buy president and COO Brian Dunn.
Napster's chief executive Chris Gorog is expected to remain in his post, along with the company's other senior executives. Best Buy also said it currently has no plans to relocate the music service's Los Angeles headquarters.
Was this a good move for Best Buy? Hit the jump and let us know your thoughts.
Say what you will about Best Buy's Geek Squad and Circuit City's Firedog computer repair centers, but no matter what amount of ridicule each one might receive in tech circles, those without access to a next-of-kin techspert find themselves using the oft overpriced (and sometimes overzealous) services offered by each. Now Wal-Mart wants a piece of the fix-my-PC pie too.
According to the mega-chain, Dell is testing a repair and installation service for electronics in up to 15 of its stores in the Dallas area. The "Solution Stations" will not only offer PC repair, but HDTV and home theater installation, wireless support, and other electronic services.
"For Wal-Mart, the program provides an opportunity for us to understand more about what our customers need and expect in home installation and technology services, within a specific market," the company said in a statement on its website. Wal-Mart also indicated that the program is a small pilot and that there are currently no plans to expand outside of Dallas beyond the 15 select stores.
And what about pricing? According to the Dallas Morning News, memory installation will run $29 in-store, or $99 if making a house-call. To install a wall-mounted TV, connect cables, and integrate three video components, it is charging $289.
So it's official; you can now get everything and the kitchen sink at Wal-Mart, and that includes PC repair. But would you want to?