Best Buy Fires Back With New Geek Squad Service ‘Assured Living’

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By Jackie Crosby, Star Tribune

“Best Buy Inc. is launching a new “smart home” service this week in the Twin Cities aimed at helping adult children remotely check in on the health and safety of their aging parents.  The service, called Assured Living, offers a free in-home assessment with families to design the most appropriate array of monitors and devices. Geek Squad tech workers install the custom-built systems, and family caregivers can receive information or alerts on their smartphones.”

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Best Buy Just Lost A Billion Dollars On News Of Amazon’s Geek Squad Competitor

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By Jason Del Rey, Recode

“On Monday morning, Recode reported that Amazon was quietly building out its own competitor to Best Buy’s Geek Squad gadget repair and installation service.  Almost immediately, investors reacted by selling out of Best Buy’s stock in a big way — the stock was down more around 7 percent as of 11:30 am ET on Monday. That drop works out to a loss of more than $1 billion in market cap for the brick-and-mortar electronics retailer.”

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Best Buy’s New Weapon Against Amazon

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By Jason Del Rey, ReCode

“Over the last few years, the idea of short-term rentals has taken off in industries from lodging to fashion. Now Best Buy is trying to push that same trend into the mainstream for consumer electronics.

Later this month, the big-box retailer will start advertising try-before-you-buy rentals on its website for cameras, audio equipment and fitness trackers, the company recently told Recode. Best Buy is working with a San Francisco-based startup called Lumoid on the partnership.”

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EFF Is Suing The Justice Department Over Reputed GeekSquad Spies

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Via Star Tribune

“The Justice Department was sued Wednesday by a privacy group seeking information on the FBI’s alleged recruitment of Best Buy employees to search consumer computers for child pornography during repairs.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Justice Department, demanding access to records about any FBI training and payment to Geek Squad workers to search customer computers without a court warrant.”

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Best Buy Partners With Vivint On Smart Home Services

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By Leena Rao, Fortune

Best Buy is pushing deeper into the smart home through a new partnership with Vivint, a company that installs smart home devices and solar panels in homes.

The new deal, which was announced on Thursday, places Vivint experts in more than 400 of the electronics retailer’s stores so that they can give customers advice about smart home devices and installation. Vivint, which already offers these services independently through its website, has installed more than 15 million smart home devices in North American homes.”

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Best Buy Adds 4 Teen Tech Centers in Minnesota

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Via News Release

Best Buy is growing its network of after-school tech programs for teens by adding four new locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. That makes for 15 Best Buy Teen Tech Centers across the United States. The free centers are open year-round and give underserved teens hands-on access to the latest technology.”

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Best Buy’s E-commerce President and CMO Are Leaving

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Best BuyBy Kavita Kumar, Star Tribune

“Two top Best Buy executives are leaving the company as CEO Hubert Joly reshuffles his leadership team’s responsibilities. The two departing leaders are Mary Lou Kelley, Best Buy’s president of e-commerce, and Greg Revelle, the Richfield-based retailer’s chief marketing officer, said sources familiar with the matter. Both executives were hired by Joly in 2014.”

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Best Buy Grew Web Sales Faster Than Amazon And Wal-Mart Last Year

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By Allison Enright, Internet Retailer

Best Buy Co. Inc.’s online sales grew at a faster clip than the U.S. e-retail industry average in 2016, and they outperformed online leaders Amazon.com Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Best Buy’s web sales grew 20.8% for the fiscal year ended Jan. 28 and totaled $4.85 billion. The average growth in U.S. e-retail was 15.6%, per estimates released by the U.S. Commerce Department last month, while Amazon’s product sales clocked 19.4% growth and Wal-Mart’s e-commerce sales grew 15.5% globally.”

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TechStars + Target Retail Alumnus Addstructure Closes $1.4m Led By Dundee

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Via News Release

Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 2.06.29 PM“CHICAGO — ADDSTRUCTURE, a pioneer in rapid natural language search and shopping, today announced a $1.4 million round of seed funding led by Dundee Venture Capital with participation from Techstars Ventures, Best Buy, and Matchstick Ventures.

The Chicago-based company is building a white label voice search system designed to offer major retailers functionality comparable to voice shopping with Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home, from any device.”

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Hundreds Of Oculus VR Demos Pulled From Best Buy Stores

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By Alex Heath, Business Insider

“Facebook is closing around 200 of its 500 Oculus virtual reality demo stations at Best Buy locations across the US, Business Insider has learned.

The scaling back of Facebook’s first big retail push for VR comes after workers from multiple Best Buy pop-ups told BI that it was common for them to go days without giving a single demonstration. An internal memo seen by BI and sent to affected employees by a third-party contractor said the closings were because of “store performance.”

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