September 24, 2010, 3:20 PM

Best Buy bolsters its buy online, pickup in store program

The retailer aims to have in-stock items available for pickup within 45 minutes.

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In preparation for the holidays, Best Buy Co. Inc. says it is improving its buy online, pickup in store program by aiming to make in-stock items available for pickup within 45 minutes of an order being placed. The retailer says it will ship out-of-stock products to any Best Buy store for pickup without charging shipping fees.

In focusing on fast pickup, Best Buy, No. 10 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is emulating the 24-minute guarantee Circuit City offered before it went bankrupt, as well as Sears Holdings Corp.’s recently announced five-minute guarantee.

Best Buy also has taken a page from Sears by allowing consumers to designate someone else to pick it up, as long as the consumer shows a government-issued photo ID and the order number. The retailer previously required consumers to present the credit card used for the purchase in order to pick up the item.

The consumer electronics retailer also is letting customers pick up purchases directly from its warehouses to avoid delivery charges and scheduling conflicts for large items such as appliances, or to save time on orders that must be shipped to a store.

Best Buy says it launched the new delivery options, which it calls Store Pickup Plus, to expand on the free shipping promotions it periodically offers online, as well as to allow consumers to avoid shipping fees, receive products more quickly, eliminate concerns about package delivery and increase confidence that products will be available.

"Customers are eager to take advantage of multichannel shopping solutions, and the enhanced Store Pickup Plus offerings allow Best Buy to take customer service to a new level," says John Thompson, senior vice president and general manager of BestBuy.com.

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