Best Buy Goes All-In with a Mobile App on Black Friday

The Challenge

Best Buy, a multi-billion dollar electronics retailer, was one month away from Black Friday, one of the largest retail days of the year, and did not have a mobile app ready. Other major retailers had a mobile app, and Best Buy knew that an app would be important to offer to customers. As the deadline approached, Best Buy executives contacted founding Lab651 partner Justin Grammens to see if he could get his company to make the Black Friday deadline. “A month is nothing in terms of app development,” Grammens says, “especially for a retailer with thousands of products.” Grammens, however, was confident they could do it. “We had experience building apps before the iPhone had even made its debut—that’s how early we got into the game.” Grammens and his team were some of the few developers allowed to work with Apple’s iOS simulator as the iPhone was being developed.

From In-Store to Online

The Best Buy team had a good start to the app, but only for the iPhone. That meant the Android version of the app had to be built from scratch. In addition, the app had yet to be linked with the thousands of in-store products. “Our goal was to create a seamless experience for the consumer and Best Buy: consumers would be able to shop from the comfort of their home, and Best Buy could be confident that the inventory was being pulled in real-time,” Grammens says. After many long nights of coding, troubleshooting, and working closely with the Best Buy team, the app successfully launched. “The consumers weren’t the only ones celebrating on Black Friday!” Grammens says.

Online Growth

Launching the app was just the first step. “We saw the online marketplace growing by leaps and bounds — we knew this app had to grow with it.” Grammens and his team added numerous enhancements to the customers’ online experience. “They could create a wish list or wedding registry and share it with friends,” he says, “as well as search for in-store clearance and open-box items.” Grammens created better customer engagement with “Deal of the Day” offers and a first ever, side-by-side scan-and-compare products feature within the app. Since its launch, the Best Buy app has been downloaded by more than 10 million people.