If you’re in the market for a new laptop for work or you have to upgrade your digital camera before your holiday, then where will be the best place for you to shop? Best Buy is one of the most popular retail stores for tech, but if you want the lowest prices, you should always shop around. That’s why we’re showing you these Best Buy alternatives.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through what Best Buy is, as well as it’s pros and cons. Then, we’ll tell you about the Best Buy alternatives and how to figure out which one is the best for you.
What Is Best Buy?
Best Buy is an American chain store that initially specialized in giving you good deals on electronics and tech. It has since branched out into homeware, toys, appliances, instruments, and personal care items. It’s one of the biggest chains in the country, and they even have vending machines full of digital cameras, cell phones, and tablets at airports.
Over the last seven years, Best Buy has undergone a major transformation to retain customers in the age of online shopping. CEO Hubert Joly emphasized the need to put customers at the center of the business by lowering prices, improving the shopping experience, and investing in their employees.
Why Do People Use Best Buy?
There’s no escaping the fact that Best Buy can offer some amazing deals on some tech items, particularly during sales. That’s the whole premise of their business, after all. You can also get some great bundles if you’re buying a lot of personal electronics at the same time (i.e., laptop, printer, external hard drives).
As mentioned, Best Buy revolves around its customers and their needs, even if that means a short-term dip in profit. If their customer service keeps people coming back, then profits will only increase, and stock prices will soar again.
Use of Total Tech Support
While the company is famed for its Geek Squad, they go even further with their tech support nowadays. Best Buy recognizes that most households have their technology interconnected, which means the reason Netflix isn’t working could be the Wi-Fi box, the TV, the streaming device, etc. They will work to find the problem, no matter what device is acting up.
That’s far from the only way that Best Buy offers tech support to its customers though. They’ve launched Teen Tech Centers to help young people understand the tech they’re using, as well as its role in modern life. And last year, they acquired Jitterbug to help aging seniors use technology to help them in their daily lives and live independently for longer.
Why Might You Want To Look For A Best Buy Alternative?
While most cities have a Best Buy (or several), you may find that it’s not the most convenient place for you to shop for your electronics. For one thing, if you’re a 9-5 worker and you have commitments over the weekend (i.e., child’s soccer practice, religious services, looking after parents), then Best Buy might not be open when you’re ready to shop.
Plus, if you don’t live in a city, your nearest Best Buy could be miles away. This would be even more difficult if you don’t have access to a car as you’d have to rely on public transport and pay for the delivery of larger items.
While it’s nice to be able to go into a Best Buy and talk with members of the Geek Squad about what tech is right for you, the fact is that brick and mortar stores cost a lot more money to run. There’s heating, lighting, electricity, staff, etc., to pay for, as well as the actual store rental. These expenses are always factored into the cost of the item you want to buy, making it more expensive. Even during sales. Even when the product is sold at less than the manufacturer recommended price.
What Are Some Best Buy Alternatives?
With all of that in mind, we should look at some Best Buy alternatives. We’ve rounded up 16 of the best stores – brick and mortar, as well as online – where you can find the latest tech for less.
If you prefer to go into an actual physical store to do your shopping, then these are choices for you. However, we do want to make you aware that all of these retailers have online stores as well.
Please note: Most shop assistants in non-electronics shops aren’t trained to help you select what you need, so do your research before you shop.
This is one of the biggest retail stores in the world, so we’re not going to pretend that you don’t know it sells everything from burgers to shampoo to lawn furniture. It’s a store known for its low prices, which extends to its tech section. There’s a wide choice available and its always pretty easy to find the exact product you need.
Much like Wal-Mart, Target offers low prices on a range of electronics. The range may be slightly smaller than Wal-Mart, but Target emphasizes trendy products. This means that you’re more likely to find new and exciting items here.
This is one of the most popular electronics vendors because they can offer quality brand-name items at wholesale prices. They also have a wide selection of items, so whether you prefer Dell, Apple, or HP, you’ll be in luck. All you need to shop here is a Costco membership.
To clear things up, GameStop does sell more than just video games. In fact, it’s one of the leading retailers for consumer electronics, including games consoles, laptops, and more.
One of the best things about GameStop is that it sells pre-owned items, allowing you to get a big discount on the tech that might be slightly older. You can even trade in your current tech for a slightly newer item to get some money off.
Top tip: Shop there just after your brand of choice releases their latest gadget when consumers will have traded in their old devices.
5. Fry’s Electronics
This store focuses mainly on selling consumer electronics (i.e., home theater systems, cell phones, and laptops) at reasonable prices. They have a large variety of products, and the staff are equipped to advise you on any questions you might have, like “how many GB of RAM do I need?”
6. Office Depot
This is not an electronics store, but it still has a wide supply of tech that you might find in a typical office. Think computers, phones, and printers, rather than TVs and games consoles. Also, if you are buying for an office, you can often get discounts on bulk purchases.
Best of all, with nearly 2000 stores across the US, you’ll likely find one near you.
In a similar vein to Office Depot, Staples mainly contains office supplies, but it’s the perfect place to pick up printers, laptops, cameras, and similar electronics. One of the best things about Staples is the number of stores it has. Wherever you live, there’ll be one near you.
You might not think of Sears as an electronics retailer and, to be fair, it’s not. However, they’ve been branching out into other areas in recent years and now they have expanded into electronics; many of which are sold at a reasonable cost.
Also, their online store allows you to buy second-hand (or even new) items from sellers, just like eBay and Amazon, via a marketplace.
9. Micro Center
Micro Center, a specialist in electronics, offers great prices on a wide range of technology, from cell phones to television sets to laptops. The staff are also super knowledgeable and will be happy to help you find the right product for you.
The only problem is that they only have 25 stores in the whole country. However, they do have a fantastic online store if you don’t have one nearby.
If you don’t live near any of the above stores or you’re looking to compare prices – good work! – these online retailers could help you find a great deal of your tech of choice. However, make sure to take into account postage for the items or you might end up paying more than you thought.
While most associated with second-hand items and auctions, you can now buy new or refurbished tech directly from the manufacturer. It can be a great place to get your product of choice at a below-market price. Also, eBay has a great mediation service in case something goes wrong with your purchase and the seller is unresponsive.
Top tip: If you can pick the item up and pay in cash, some buyers may offer a slight discount because they saved on PayPal fees. However, they still need to mark it as ‘paid’ on eBay so you benefit from eBay protection.
Amazon is a great option for those of you looking to shop for electronics because they have so many for sale; this includes Amazon’s Kindle and Fire ranges of personal tech items. The goods are sold either via Amazon or another electronics retailer. Alternatively, those of you looking to pick up cheaper second-hand items can buy directly from another seller.
Top tip: If you sign up for a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime, you can get free postage on plenty of items.
This online retailer is based in China and allows small businesses in China, Singapore, and other Asian countries to sell products all over the world. It’s sort of like eBay in a way because the sellers are independent and you can great deals on tech and accessories.
Make sure to read the listing carefully. Remember: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Also, If you buy tech from here, remember to take into account any differences in plugs. You don’t want to permanently have your TV plugged in via an adaptor plug, do you?
This is a great option for those who want to shop online via an electronics specialist. NewEgg sells everything from high-tech computer hardware to home appliances and every piece of technology in between.
The people on this site know what they’re talking about when it comes to tech and they ditch the jargon to help you find out what’s best for you. They’ve even won several awards for customer support and expedient service, so you know they’re reliable.
This company stocks consumer electronics, along with a whole host of non-tech stuff, for up to 75% less than a retail store. Now, customer reviews are mixed, but you can get a wide range of high-quality products for a decent price. Also, they’re celebrating their 20th birthday this year, so there may be some special sales on the horizon.
15. Mini In The Box
For 13 years, this company has been selling blue-ribbon consumer goods at competitive prices. What’s their secret? They buy directly from Chinese wholesale manufacturers to keep costs low while maintaining a high standard. They have a high customer satisfaction ranking and they can answer your tech questions without the jargon.
16. Tiger Direct
This online store specializes in personal electronics, like laptops, tablets, and printers, with a wide variety of brands and products. They also have some sort of sale or discount running throughout the year, making it easy to snap up a bargain. Also, they have a lot of business customers, so they have no issue with bulk orders.
Interestingly, Tiger Direct also has a few brick and mortar stores, so check to see if you have one near you, but its online shop is what it is most known for.
How Do I Choose Between Best Buy Alternatives?
When choosing between stores, we’d obviously encourage you to look at the cost of your desired tech first as we are a money-saving site. Remember to compare for every single item, as one company might be cheaper for laptops or Apple products, while another could have better deals on Android or games consoles. When figuring out total cost, make sure to include:
- Cost of getting to store via public transport or car
- Add-ons (i.e. extended warranty or accessories)
Also, it’s worth looking into whether the Best Buy alternative that you’re looking at has a rewards program. If it does, you could earn money back on each new tech (or other) item that you buy. This is particularly good around the holidays or if you’re a business customer.
Another way to reduce your initial outlay is to look into whether the store offers a credit card or other financing with an intro APR of 0% so that you can spread the cost over several months. Be aware that these credit card offers may not last long, so make sure to check the expiry date. Your balance will need to be paid off in full before the interest-free period is up.
This isn’t an excuse to spend, spend, spend, because the last thing you want to do is rack up debt on a credit card.
Other Things To Consider When Choosing A Best Buy Alternative
While cost is obviously the most important thing for many buyers, there are a couple of other things that we like to consider when shopping: convenience and culture. Let’s look at these:
First, convenience. Your time is valuable and you might not have the time to trek to every store in town to check prices or to drive to the superstore in the next city for the best deal. That’s okay. To save time, check the website prices or use a comparison site.
You also might want to check how easy it is to return items in case you change your mind or the product is faulty. Think about how long you have to return the item, whether you have to pay return postage, and what reasons are available to you for returning. Some retailers won’t accept returns if you’ve just changed your mind.
Next, culture. This is about how the company is run and how it affects the world around it. It’s stuff like:
- Do they treat their employees fairly?
- Are they paid a living wage?
- Do they get benefits?
- Are the products made in the US?
- Are they made under fair working conditions in another country?
- What is their environmental impact?
- Do they have a tech recycling scheme?
- Are the materials sourced ethically?
- Will this keep money in the local economy?
The answers to these questions are mostly just a quick internet search away. If you enjoy knowing that your dollars are going to benefit the world around you, even if it costs a little more, then you’ll want to do your research on this.
Hopefully, this has helped you to figure out where you can buy your electronics for less. Now, we’d like to hear from you. Did you find this article helpful? Are there any Best Buy alternatives that we missed? Where do you find the best deals on your tech purchases? Let us know all that and more in the comments below.