Stroll through the doors of the new Best Buy in Palm Desert, and you'll immediately notice: this isn't your run-of-the-mill Best Buy electronics store.
The large display racks holding CDs and DVDs — gone!
The parking problems — gone!
The times when you bought a car stereo and had to walk across the store to find the speakers — gone!
"This is Best Buy 2.0," said Best Buy General Manager Larry Pinkstaff, as he got ready to vacuum the floors for the store's initial opening to the public.
"Best Buy 2.0" launches a new beginning for the big box retailer, which operates 1,100 stores nationwide.
Palm Desert's opening in the Desert Crossing shopping center marks the second Best Buy location in the nation to convert to this new design.
The store takes up half of the real-estate where its former competitor once stood: Circuit City. Ulta Cosmetics moved from their former location at The River in Rancho Mirage to occupy the remaining half.
The "2.0" experience, many say, was modeled after the look and feel of tge Apple retail stores.
White replaces royal blue as the signature color for the shopping experience, creating a brighter more inviting "high tech" environment.
In the center of the store, the Solution Central help desk, staffed by members of the Geek Squad, resembles the Genius Bar found at Apple retail stores. From this vantage point, you can now see the entire store.
Where before, display racks stood high, blocking customers' views, the new sleek design showcases displays that simply rise to counter-height.
The layout of the store, Pinkstaff said, was designed for the "customer experience."
Products flow logically into each other. The stereo speakers are next to the stereos.
Customers can ask questions and research the electronics before they buy using tablet computers, located at the end of each display counter, he said.
Big changes hit the Geek Squad.
Customers can still bring in their computers and other electronics to be fixed or loaded with software, and now they will be educated on how to do it themselves.
Using large computer screens, customers will be able to chat with a Geek Squad member at the company's central location — far away. The staffer will engage the customer and walk him through how to add apps to his iPod, reboot his computer or other device — very interactive.
"It's all about efficiency," said Pinkstaff.
Customers pay the price for that efficiency with square footage.
The new location is 10,000 sq. ft. smaller than its location on Town Center Way — 32,000 sq ft. total.
Best Buy sacrificed CDs and DVDs — dramatically slashing the number of titles they carry to make up for the room.
"We're competing with the customers downloading their content," Pinkstaff said. "There's really no need to carry all of the titles."
The team of Best Buy workers in Palm Desert moved the enire store one mile down Highway 111 to its new location, set up the display tables and installed the new design in two days. The store closed after the work day on Sunday and re-opened on Wednesday in its new location.
The former location will eventually house a Whole Foods Market, according to a Whole Foods spokesperson, with a grand opening tentatively scheduled for the spring of 2013. Nordstrom Rack will also open in the Town Center shopping center around the same time.
Best Buy's new neighbors in Desert Crossing shopping center, include Old Navy, Target, Big 5 Sporting Goods, TJ Maxx and Marshalls.
Those titles can still be found on Best Buy's website. If you order your favorite CD online, you can arrange to pick it up in the store with their redesigned Online Pickup pagoda.