When you want to buy a new laptop, choosing among hundreds of online and physical stores can be confusing as every store sells a variety of models at different prices.
One of these places is Best Buy, the retail giant that specializes in consumer electronics.
But should you really buy a laptop from them?
Let’s take a look at some of the strengths and weaknesses of Best Buy to help you decide whether it’s a good place to buy your laptop.
Is Best Buy A Good Place To Buy A Laptop?
Yes, Best Buy is one of the leading electronic stores in the US and among the best places to buy a laptop.
Best Buy is the only retailer with nationwide showrooms for electronics around the US.
They also have branches in Canada.
The company sells products for any budget, from entry-level to super-premium appliances and laptops.
They match online retailers in terms of price, so you don’t have to worry about getting the lowest prices.
Also, they offer numerous deals and discounts that you can use to buy products at lower prices, and you can buy from their open box section if you want to save some money.
Best Buy hosts various third-party sellers that offer both new and refurbished devices.
The company claims they only work with wholly vetted and approved sellers that offer only grade A refurbished products that are as good as new ones.
Best Buy sells products at its brick-and-mortar locations and online.
You can go to their stores and see the product you want to buy, and if in doubt, you can talk to their salespeople and ask for guidance.
Most Best Buy employees know how their products work and can help you decide which item best suits your requirements.
If you have a problem using your product, their Geek Squad reps will give you solutions or offer alternatives.
If you want to return your laptop for any reason, they have good return policies that will help you return it during the given period, even if you have lost the package.
Best Buy has about 2.3 million member customers who engage with the service about 2.5 times per year.
Apart from laptops, the company sells mobile phones, peripherals, headphones, drones, video games, digital cameras, and even refrigerators.
Best Buy’s Strengths
Best Buy was founded in 1966 as an audio specialty store but has evolved into one of the largest consumer electronics retailers in the world.
Over the years, the company has grown into one of the best places to buy laptops and computers.
Here are some of the main reasons for Best Buy’s success:
1. Retail Strategy
Many people choose Best Buy because of its convenient shopping experience enabled by its omnichannel retail strategy.
You have three options when shopping from Best Buy: shop in-store, shop online, or order online and pick up your order from a local store.
Despite the dominance of online shopping, some still prefer to buy from a brick-and-mortar store.
Although walking into a store to discover and purchase a laptop might not be the most strategic option, some people prefer it over the anxiety of combing through online reviews and comments.
Also, Best Buy is a good option if you need an item today or don’t trust online shopping platforms and worry that they will send you a nicely boxed rock.
In addition, physical stores give you a chance to get hands-on time with what you’ve decided to buy after searching the net.
For instance, if you want to switch from Windows to Mac, you can go to the nearest Best Buy store and feel the product.
This test drive helps you choose wisely and not hate yourself for blindly buying a laptop just because it was on sale.
Another way you can shop from Best Buy is through its website.
When ordering a product online, you can choose to have it shipped to your place or pick it up from their stores.
Since this multinational retailer has enough locations around the US and Canada to support most people, Best Buy can compete with dominant online shopping platforms like Amazon.
2. A Good Selection Of Laptops
Best Buy has a robust portfolio of trusted brands, including Microsoft, Dell, HP, Asus, Lenovo, Sony, Apple, and Samsung, among many others.
Best Buy offers a wide enough range of products to give you the freedom to choose, but not so many that they face problems keeping things stocked.
In addition to its physical stores, Best Buy has a comprehensive laptop site that provides its own take on a guided laptop search.
You can search their website for laptops based on brand, hardware components, or features.
Many of their laptops have free shipping, and the price-matching ensures you get a fair deal.
The company has also figured out how to effectively use its showrooms.
Best Buy made deals with large electronic companies, such as Samsung and Apple, to display their products.
These companies rent square footage within Best Buy stores to feature all their products.
These branded areas help customers shop from their preferred brands, while giving Best Buy access to a new revenue stream.
Best Buy also sells computer components, such as RAM, video cards, hard drives, etc., so you can repair your laptop or assemble a computer on your own.
3. Blue Shirts
Best Buy has knowledgeable and friendly salespeople who can guide you during your purchase.
The Blue Shirts in Best Buy stores have received tons of training about the products they sell and can help you with whatever you need.
According to their website, 153,000 Blue Shirts have completed classroom training that included 3,050 courses in addition to their 22 million online learning sessions.
Therefore, you can visit your local Best Buy store if you have trouble finding the laptop you need or simply need some expert advice on the matter.
These experts give Best Buy an advantage over online shopping platforms like Amazon and Walmart that won’t answer your questions.
4. Special Offers
Best Buy has many locations and buys stuff in bulk, so they get the products at the best prices possible.
Therefore, they can afford to offer various discounts, especially on their slow-moving items.
Best Buy has a flash sale at least once and as often as four times a month.
During these flash sales, which are available only online from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
CST or until supplies run out, the retailer slashes the prices on select items by 70%.
The company doesn’t seem to announce these flash sales ahead of time.
However, if you want early notice of these four-hour flash sales, follow Best Buy on social media or join their loyalty programs.
To score more deals, you should review Best Buy’s deals of the week, and to save extra, you can consider buying an open box product.
Also, Best Buy has its own credit card and reward programs that will give you even more rewards to save on what you buy.
5. Price Matching
Best Buy follows MSRP or Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, meaning they’ll match the advertised price of a competitor.
As some people come into Best Buy stores to test products before buying online from competitors, the company has instituted a price matching system to keep those customers from going to competitors.
Customers want to see expensive items, such as laptops or smartphones, up close before buying, and if the store is willing to price-match, they’ll probably buy the item then and there.
This way, you know Best Buy will usually have the most affordable deals.
Also, all the price-matched items will still come with the option of Best Buy protection plans.
However, this price matching system has a few conditions.
- Best Buy won’t price match similar products and models; they have to be exactly the same.
- To price match other retailers like Amazon, the listing should be directly sold and shipped by them, not a third party.
- To price match other stores, such as Walmart, Costco, and Target, they have to have the item in stock in their nearby stores.
- Best Buy doesn’t price-match used items.
If you happen to find a better deal in another store that meets these criteria, pull it up on your phone and show it to the associate at check out.
They’ll need to confirm, and if everything is a match, they’ll charge you the lower price.
Also, if Best Buy reduces their price after you finalize your purchase but before your return period ends, you can contact support, and they’ll refund you the difference.
6. Open Box Section
Sometimes customers return a product after taking it out of the box.
The reason might be anything from a change of heart to the product being defective or damaged.
When an item is returned, Best Buy’s Geek Squad will check it, restore it, and box it up again.
These open box items are sold with a 10% to 30% discount, sometimes even more, and can save you some money, especially when purchasing high-tag items.
Even if you buy open box items, you still have all the rights that you usually get when purchasing a new box.
Therefore, if the open box laptop wasn’t what you expected or had any problem, you can return it during the return period and buy another one.
When buying an open box laptop, pay attention to these three factors:
- When was the model released? If it was released less than six months ago, chances are it’s recent stock and will be in good shape.
- Is the item in good shape? Don’t just trust the label. Ask to see and handle the product. Check everything for cosmetic and functional damages.
- What comes with the laptop? For example, if it comes with the original AC adaptor and the adapter is damaged, ask them to drop the laptop’s price to compensate for the cost of the charger.
7. Geek Squad
Best Buy’s Geek Squad is one of the US’s most famous consumer tech-support services.
They help customers online and provide in-store and at-home repair services.
According to their website, Geek Squad will help you install your product, set it up, and protect your purchase by extending the warranty.
They also answer your questions all the time and repair your devices no matter where you bought them.
Their Tech Support plan gives you unlimited access to technical support, and Geek Squad Protection, which helps you with hardware repair and replacement.
To contact Geek Squad, you can go to their website and chat with an agent, take your product to a Best Buy store and consult an agent in person, or call 1-800-433-5778 to have an agent sent to your house.
8. Return Policy
If you aren’t fully satisfied with the laptop you’ve purchased from Best Buy, the company will help you find a replacement or let you return it.
You can return any online or in-store purchase to any Best Buy store or ship it back to them for free with a prepaid UPS shipping label.
The return and exchange period for most Best Buy products is 15 days for standard members and 60 days for Best Buy Totaltech members.
However, for activatable devices, such as cell phones and cellular tablets, this period is 14 days for all members.
The return and exchange period begins the day you receive your purchase and applies to all new, open-box, clearance, refurbished, and pre-owned products.
Best Buy will usually reimburse you for the items you returned in the same way you paid for them.
If you return the product by mail, the company will process it within 7-10 business days after receiving the return.
Best Buy only takes back returns in a like-new condition, but if you have lost the original package or accessories, you might still be able to return the product.
However, there will be a nonrefundable deduction for the missing items.
Also, they might no longer accept returns from you if you do too many returns in a given period.
When returning to a store, Best Buy requires you to bring your receipt, the credit card you used for your purchase, and a valid photo ID for faster return processing.
Best Buy’s Weaknesses
Although the staff at Best Buy undergo rigorous training, some people won’t take their job seriously no matter where they work.
Customers say they’ve encountered reps who weren’t knowledgeable enough to help them make an informed decision.
Similarly, when the Geek Squad people solve one issue, they might cause other problems to your device.
Also, some Geek Squad reps tend to be slow with their repairs and may keep your device in the shop for a week or so.
Some customers report that much of Best Buy’s inventory is overpriced, and you can usually find similar products elsewhere at lower prices.
Although Best Buy’s price matching means you can have a product at a lower price, they have restrictions and won’t always match with other retailers.
Also, unlike its competitors, some Best Buy products are more expensive when you shop online.
Best Buy is a retailer, and its priority is making more profit.
Therefore, its salespeople might try to sell you a more expensive laptop than you need.
However, if you educate yourself first and know what you’re looking for, you can make the most of their good sales.
When you buy a laptop from Best Buy, you’ll likely have to deal with tons of bloatware, which is software you don’t want that’s taking up valuable resources on your PC.
If you don’t want bloatware on your laptop, you have to ask them to remove it upon purchase, and even then, they might not remove it.
Much of the bloatware is deliberately designed to be hard to remove, so you might face problems trying to remove the unwanted apps on your own.
Although Best Buy is generally a good place to buy a laptop, it’s always a good idea to consider other options.
So, let’s briefly compare Best Buy to some of its major competitors.
1. Best Buy Vs. Amazon
Best Buy is famous for its stores, while Amazon is an online shopping platform and is more globally accessible.
However, Amazon is an amalgam of vendors, so you should make sure the specific Amazon supplier is reliable, highly rated, and will back up the purchase in case any problems occur.
Many major vendors that sell their products on Amazon have local repair services.
Still, they might not be as competent as Best Buy’s Geek Squad.
2. Best Buy Vs. Walmart
If you want a simple laptop for everyday applications, such as emailing and browsing the net, either place is ok to buy your laptop.
But in the case of high-end laptops, Best Buy’s Blue Shirts can guide you in choosing the technology that best suits your needs, while Walmart’s salespeople might not be able to.
3. Best Buy Vs. Costco
Although you might think electronics items for sale at Costco are cheaper than at Best Buy, it isn’t always the case.
Always shop around before buying a laptop; in most cases, a store specializing in electronics will have better prices.
Also, Costco typically has a limited selection of laptops, and they might not carry the model you want.
However, you can get a free extended warranty using a Costco credit card, and their service generally has a good reputation.
4. Best Buy Vs. Micro Center
Although Micro Center has a large selection of laptops and knowledgeable staff, its stores are much fewer than Best Buy’s.
However, if you know what you’re looking for, they’ll quickly get you what you need and even find better options than what you came in for.
Also, if you’re on a budget, you can consider their refurbished laptops.
Some other places you can consider when buying a laptop are Newegg, Target, Staples, and TigerDirect.