Update: Moments after I published this, I see Best Buy has a site already live, so I guess the “sneak peek” wasn’t so sneaky. Also, seems that word of this has leaked already earlier this year, though I believe this is the first official words from Best Buy.
Best Buy Inc. already has its Best Buy Trade-In site where you can send your used technology to the retailer in exchange for gift cards or (less amounts of) cash. According to an email sent to Reward Zone Silver Premier members today, the Minnesota-based company is planning a new service that expands greatly on the trade-in idea.
In a letter from CEO Brian Dunn, Best Buy gives a sneak peek at the program, which it will reveal with a commercial on Sunday’s Super Bowl (unfortunately it stars Justin Bieber and the Osbournes). Here’s the text of that email:
Because you’re a valued Best Buy® customer, I want to personally tell you about a program we’re launching during the “big game” this Sunday, Feb. 6. It’s called the Buy Back Program and we’re announcing it in a commercial during the third quarter, with stars like Justin Bieber and Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne.
Buy Back is essentially “future-proofing” your technology. You purchase the technology you want today, and we’ll buy it back at a set price when you’re ready to upgrade to something new. You’ll know upfront what your gear will be worth, and you can conveniently redeem your Buy Back at our stores and immediately receive a Best Buy Gift Card.
You already enjoy Reward Zone® benefits, and I hope you consider the advantages that Buy Back can provide. We’re excited to introduce it in a big way on “big game” day. Be sure to tune in and learn more.
Thank you—we sincerely appreciate your business, Brian J. Dunn
I’ve used the trade-in program in the past and have been quite happy with it, most recently to send in a three-year-old laptop and a three-year-old LCD monitor (both of which were collecting dust) for $120 in Best Buy gift cards. The idea of a set buy back price for items that you know will become obsolete the moment you buy them is a nice one in theory. But there are lingering questions.
First, will it cost extra to participate in the program, almost like buying an extended warranty (my take, I fear it will, which will kill the program). Also yet to be revealed is how competitive the buy-back prices will be. I’d also guess it will be based on a sliding scale of some sort, so if you upgrade your laptop every year you’ll get more for the old one than if you do so every three years.
The site listed in the update above answers both these questions. First, it does state you have to “Purchase the Buy Back program along with your new product.” It then goes on to state that “Buy Back plans are available at a variety of prices.” So, that’s a bummer. We also see the scale, which starts at 50 percent up to six months and loses 10 percent every six months after that until at 18-24 months you can get 20 percent and 24-48 months you get 10 percent on TVs only.
Either way, it’s clearly a move by Best Buy to get people coming back to their stores year after year. What do you think? Are you buying into the buy-back program?