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Best Buy Revamping Mobile Departments

Best Buy is updating its mobile departments and web pages to keep in step with recent changes in the wireless business, such as installment billing, unlimited data plans and the growing popularity of prepaid and unlocked phones.

The program, known internally as Mobile 2020 (after CEO Hubert Joly’s next-phase strategic plan, Best Buy 2020), includes:

* updated vendor and carrier displays;

* menu boards, like those typically found in fast-food restaurants, to help decipher handset, service and promotional options;

* dedicated sections for prepaid and unlocked phones, which Best Buy described as two of the category’s fastest-growing areas; and

* new online product pages that provide prices, colors, sizes, plans and upgrade eligibility all on one page, the retailer said in a blog post.

The effort began last year and will roll out to hundreds of stores over the coming months, the company indicated, while some of the online updates were implemented in time for last month’s launch of Samsung’s newest flagship phones, the Galaxy S8/S8 Plus.

Ironically, while the changes that prompted the revamp stem largely from upstart carrier T-Mobile and its series of “Un-carrier” initiatives, Best Buy does not sell the company’s postpaid phones or plans, and only recently added T-Mo’s Simple Mobile prepaid program.

The reset comes as the retailer reported a better-than-expected 0.3 percent decrease in mobile comps for its fiscal first quarter, ended April 30, up from last year’s 3.5 percent decline, which helped drive Q1 revenue.

On an earnings call last week, Joly noted, “We simplified the buying experience and provided clarity of carrier offers and ease of phone selection — and saw our highest-ever Android pre-orders.”