Electronics retailer Best Buy this week announced the debut of a new, significantly smaller “digital-first” store, a major redesign of its popular massive warehouse outlets that greatly reduces the number of employees needed for staffing amid an ongoing labor shortage.

The “small-format” store, debuting in Monroe, N.C., will roll out “a new digital-first shopping experience that encourages customers to do everything from shop, select your product and get advice digitally while in the store,” the company said in a press release.

Significantly smaller than the tens of thousands of square feet for which the store’s locations are usually known, the Monroe location looks to be a pivot for the store away from a classic big-box format to a leaner and less personnel-heavy retail outlet. 

The Monroe store will feature a “curated selection” of products, the company said, as well as “mobile self-checkout” and apparently minimal interaction between shoppers and staff. 

Notably, customers upon entering will be “greeted by a 7-foot-tall digital display” rather than a live human being.

“We’ll continue learning from our store pilots in Charlotte as this new small-format store test gets underway,” the company said. 

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