The 4th of July is one of the biggest shopping holidays of the summer. Consumers often score Black Friday-level markdowns on tech, patio furniture and appliances as well as clothes from stores like lululemon and American Eagle.
This year, Best Buy is getting in on the action by launching a new membership program that will rival the likes of Amazon Prime and Walmart Plus. The retailer is nixing the $35 minimum order requirement for free shipping, introducing a new tier for members and giving My Best Buy credit cardholders even more rewards and financing options. The changes are set to kick in June 27, according to a company release.
Customers who previously signed up for the retailer’s TotalTech membership will be automatically moved over to the new tier. The paid tier will cost $99 per year or $10 per month, which compares to the current pricing of Amazon Prime ($120 per year for Prime Plus) and Walmart’s Walmart+ service, which costs a flat $139 a year for free shipping on orders of $35 or more.
The paid tier also comes with access to the retailer’s in-store gaming and tech repair services, and a free subscription to its Blue Label streaming service. Members can also use the My Best Buy app to earn rewards on select purchases, and return items online or in-store for free.
Best Buy is hoping to increase loyalty among its base of around 100 million total members. It has already started to do so with the addition of same-day delivery in some markets, which it says is a “nationwide benefit” for paying members.
In the past, Best Buy has offered its members access to exclusive 4th of July sales as well as an early look at Black Friday deals. The retailer is still offering those benefits for its new membership tier, but it will also be expanding the number of early access events for its existing members.
The new membership program is part of an effort by Best Buy to change the way it interacts with consumers, especially as the pandemic continues to eat into sales at brick-and-mortar stores. In its earnings call last year, the retailer’s CEO Corie Barry outlined plans to boost digital engagement and reimagine its role in brick-and-mortar locations. The retailer has since rolled out a new store-signing program and a few other changes, though the latest news seems to signal that it is continuing to struggle with consumer demand. The company recently reported its worst quarterly revenue growth in nearly a decade. Its stock has lost more than half its value this year. Best Buy operates more than 1,200 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Its subsidiaries include Geek Squad and Magnolia Audio Video. It is headquartered in Richfield, Minnesota. It also has operations in China and elsewhere. Its parent company is Best Buy Holdings.