Best Buy offers free phones, new pickup options and better service for the holidays

Best Buy storeBest Buy has a plan to be your go-to retail location this fall that, if executed well, should offer consumers plenty of value and important after-sale support. At a media event in New York this week, CEO Brian Dunn spelled out a plan that includes "Free Phone Fridays," new in-store pickup options and more support after the sale.

"Free Phone Fridays" at Best Buy is arguably the most exciting announcement coming out of the media event. The promotion kicks off this Friday, Oct. 1, and as the name suggests, Best Buy will be offering four different smart phones for free with a two-year contract. Keep in mind that you will need a data plan as part of this contract, but it is still a good deal if you want or need a smart phone.

Each week, Best Buy Mobile will offer a new set of smart phones from each of the big carriers; Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint. This week the free phones are the new Samsung Fascinate from Verizon, the BlackBerry Curve from Sprint, the HTC Aria from AT&T and the Samsung Gravity 3 from T-Mobile. And it looks like the announcement has already had an effect on the competition: Amazon is offering the Samsung Fascinate for a penny with a two-year contract.

The free smart phones will be available starting Friday in stores and online and retail for $99 to $249. For upcoming "Free Phone Fridays," Best Buy will announce the available models at 2 PM Eastern the day before.

Best Buy has also added new in-store pickup options to make it easier, and cheaper, to send a gift to a friend or family member who lives across the country. This means you could order an iPad, Xbox 360 Kinect and a copy of Halo Reach from your computer in Florida and have it ready for pickup by your grandson at his closest Best Buy without the need to pay for, or wait for, shipping.

The final way Best Buy plans to win this holiday season is made up of a collection of strategies aimed at providing shoppers with knowledgeable sales staff and support after the sale. One of these initiatives is a new, home-networking option. You buy a router and get Geek Squad home setup, which includes connecting all of your devices and six months of follow up support, including connecting new devices tech support on any issues. The Geek Squad staff will also help users run a speed test to see if they have a fast enough connection for their needs.

The service after the sale is something that Best Buy plans to offer in multiple areas and if it's done responsibly, i.e. no fear based upselling, it is a win for consumers who won't be left on their own to handle technical problems.
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