The big-box electronics retailer is renovating some of its locations to resemble the sleek, uncluttered look of Apple’s highly successful retail stores, The Wall Street Journal notes. Company officials indicated that the objective is to increase communication between store employees and customers, rather than showcase every item in the store’s inventory.
The stores also adopt other Apple touches. Customers at the test stores aren’t herded toward registers near the entrance, but can complete their purchases at multiple points throughout the store. At a centralized help desk, Geek Squad personnel assist customers with questions, mirroring Apple’s Genius Bars.
Best Buy has seen its sales hit by “showrooming” — customers who browse its displays only to use their smartphones to compare prices and purchase electronics from other stores, usually discount online vendors.
The test store also offers greater selection of tablet computers and netbooks, two product categories enjoying large sales gains.
Analysts remain skeptical that Best Buy can match Apple’s game with its relatively young and high-turnover-prone workforce, but they noted that a greater emphasis on tablets could help sales.
Best Buy shares moved up more than 1% in early Thursday trading.