Best Buy launches new membership program, keeping up with Amazon Prime, Walmart+

Best Buy is testing out a new membership program, called Best Buy Beta, to provide customers with exclusive pricing, free standard shipping and delivery, and other benefits.

The program will cost up to $199.99 for members in select stores in Iowa, Oklahoma and eastern Pennsylvania. The company will soon offer the service in Minnesota, North Carolina and Tennessee by the end of April, a total of 60 stores.

Other perks include unlimited technical support, up to two years of warranty on eligible items, free installation and 24/7 concierge service. 

"As we look to evolve our membership programs, the goal of Best Buy Beta is to create a membership experience that customers will love and to leave them feeling confident throughout their relationship with Best Buy," Best Buy’s Chief Customer Officer Allison Peterson said in a statement. "This pilot offers premium service, complete with support aimed at anticipating our customers’ needs."

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The company’s move will put it on par with Amazon’s Prime and Walmart’s plus-membership program, which cost $120 and $98 a year respectively. 

Walmart has a long way to go to catch up with Amazon Prime. Launched in 2005, Prime has more than 150 million members worldwide who pay for faster shipping and other perks, such as discounts at Amazon’s Whole Foods supermarkets and access to its video streaming site.

Walmart+ members will still have to spend at least $35 online to qualify for free same-day delivery. Items are delivered from stores, which typically costs as much as $9.95 for non-members. The 160,000 items that qualify include groceries, toys, electronics and household items, such as toilet paper and soap.

Best Buy currently has another, more-limited program called Total Tech Support, which runs $199.99 a year and is available to customers not able to sign up for the Best Buy Beta pilot program.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.