Best Buy will soon let you try-before-you-buy with rentals

Amazon has decimated brick-and-mortar retailers over the years through a combination of convenience, fast and affordable shipping, competit...

Amazon has decimated brick-and-mortar retailers over the years through a combination of convenience, fast and affordable shipping, competitive pricing and until just recently, a sales tax loophole.

Companies that haven’t been driven out of business entirely are pulling out all the stops in an effort to remain relevant. Best Buy and its latest initiative is a perfect example of this.

Through a partnership with San Francisco-based start-up Lumoid, Best Buy later this month will launch a try-before-you-buy program on its website for select electronics including wearables, cameras and audio equipment. Some products, like drones, aren’t part of the program.

Lumoid tells Recode that Best Buy will supply them with “open box” items – products that Best Buy customers have purchased then return (and thus, can’t be resold as new at full price) – for rental purposes. Shoppers can end up buying the item they’ve rented at a discounted price or even request a new version through Lumoid.

Customers will get 20 percent of the rental price back in Lumoid credits, the site said.

It’s a curious partnership on a number of levels but it’s unclear if it’ll resonate with consumers and become a differentiator for Best Buy. Should it prove successful, however, you can all buy guarantee that Amazon and others will follow suit with their own takes on the rental model.


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