Best Buy is partnering with PC gaming laptops, desktops and, accessories manufacturer Alienware with in-store concessions in several Best Buy stores nationwide, the companies said on Tuesday.
The Alienware PC Gaming Experience zones will include a dedicated specialist who can answer questions and demonstrate products, according to a Best Buy blog post. In the new space, customers can also try out popular games, including the tower-defense game Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 and racing game Project CARS.
To make room for Alienware, the electronics retailer is moving out its Intel concessions, first rolled out in 2014, in about 50 stores, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Best Buy’s Intel Experience store is just one example of its store-within-a-store strategy, which aligns well-known technology brands with experiential in-store marketing campaigns to enable potential customers to discover new products and services by trying them out firsthand. Those zones emphasized hands-on opportunities to try out Facebook’s Oculus Rift and see live Oculus Rift demos.
But the popups are far from permanent store fixtures, as the technology can easily be moved out in line with consumer trends. Last month, for example, Facebook began shutting down Oculus Rift pop-up demonstrations at about 200 of the 500 Best Buy stores where they have been running since late last year. That doesn't necessarily mean the concept isn't paying of, but Best Buy is clearly looking to curate demos that can generate additional in-store traffic. Reportedly, traffic to the Oculus Rift demos declined sharply after the holiday shopping rush passed.
Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly has described in-store experiences as a “very important component of our strategy.” Corie Barry, Best Buy CFO, said in a recent earnings call that the store-within-a-store concept allows the retailer “to showcase a technology in a very unique way.” Barry clarified that Best Buy doesn’t break out revenue connected to the different experience stores.
There are clearly tweaks to be made to the strategy, with some technologies making way for others. In the case of Intel moving over for Alienware, that decision may be due to the fact that Intel featured several products not available for sale at Best Buy, while Alienware is featuring items that customers can snap up immediately. "We're always moving things around in our stores to give a great customer experience," Best Buy spokesperson Carly Charlson told the Star Tribune.