The Minneapolis Star-Tribune explains that the move is intended to give the 40 million existing Reward Zone members a reason to look at items that are not currently listed in the loyalty program’s section of the site. Members could continue to earn points by writing reviews or posting updates about their purchases on Facebook (because we can’t wait to read that our Facebook friend has purchased a surge protector).
It would seem that this is also an attempt to woo new Reward Zone members, hoping that the notion of accruing points that could eventually be used for discounts on purchases will help keep customers from straying over to other websites to buy. The company claims that 70% of its customers look at the site before buying in the store, but it could be doing more to get those people to actually purchase the product while browsing online.
Additionally, making Reward Zone part of the regular site allows BestBuy.com to track customers’ behavior online. Currently, most people browse BestBuy.com without logging in. But Reward Zone members, much like Amazon Prime, would need to be logged in to receive any benefit from their purchases and interactions. Thus, Best Buy can see that a particular member has been looking at laptops, and so he starts hearing about deals on laptops and other related accessories.
“Almost all of our customers today on the site are transacting as guests,” the President of BestBuy.com recently told investors. “But to personalize, you’ve got to know who they are. You’ve got to tie it in to all of the other information we have about customers. And here’s the great thing about Best Buy. It’s a gold mine of data.”
While Best Buy’s online business has been growing recently, it’s still only a fraction of the company’s total revenue. Meanwhile, a recent report on showrooming — the practice of checking out product in a store only to later buy it online — found that a mere 12% of people who showroomed at Best Buy went on to make their purchase at BestBuy.com, while 66% of Best Buy showroomers turned to Amazon for their purchase.