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Best Buy will let you rent gadgets before you purchase them

You won't be able to rent drones, though.
Chih-Chung Johnny Chang / Alamy
Chih-Chung Johnny Chang / Alamy
Rob LeFebvre
Rob LeFebvre|@roblef|June 12, 2017 5:31 PM

Retail is tough. Customers have to be able to figure out which item will best suit their needs while retailers need to make sure their customers are happy enough with their purchases to keep them. One way to serve both needs is with a solid "try before you buy" system, which lets consumers get some hands-on time with items before committing to a full purchase. This is even more useful when customers are looking for big-ticket items like fancy wearables and high-end cameras. Big-box electronics retailer Best Buy has partnered with gadget rental startup Lumoid to provide just such a system, which is due later this month.

According to ReCode, Best Buy you will soon be able to rent items like cameras, wearables and audio devices with a featured button on Best Buy's website. A Best Buy spokesperson confirmed to Engadget that drones will not be on offer through the rental service.

Best Buy's website will have a button that sends you to Lumoid's site to manage the actual rental of these items, many of which may be "open box" returns instead of new items. You'll earn about 20 percent of the rental price in Lumoid credits, which can then be applied to a purchase of the rented item. Best Buy gets to breathe new life into items people have already bought and customers get to check out big-ticket items for a low monthly fee.

This new program could give Best buy an advantage over Amazon, which does not currently offer a similar rental service. Letting customers rent a higher-priced item like a Sonos speaker, Sony Alpha camera or Apple Watch could get them the time they need with the device to decide if the purchase is worth it. Lumoid's founder, Aarthi Ramamurthy, says that wearables get the highest conversion rate from rental to purchase, with one in three renters deciding to buy after the try. We've reached out to Lumoid for more details on this partnership and will update this post.

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Best Buy will let you rent gadgets before you purchase them