Best Buy has announced that it will launch experience stores dedicated to smart home products from Google and Amazon. This will be in 700 locations spread across the United States starting this month. With the experience stores which will be located close to the smart home sections, Best Buy intends to allow shoppers try out the possibilities offered by voice technology. This will be achieved by using employees and Geek Squad agents who have been specially trained.
Besides Amazon Echo’s Alexa and Google Home products, shoppers will also have an opportunity to try out the products that are compatible with the smart home products that use voice technology. This includes the smart plugs from Insignia, Philips Hue lighting and Nest thermostats.
“In collaboration with Amazon and Google, these experiences will help people understand and use this groundbreaking technology to make their lives safer, easier and simply more fun,” said Best Buy’s merchandising senior vice president, Amy College, in a statement.
This is Best Buy’s latest effort in one of technology’s fastest growing segments. In May, the retailer revealed that it had entered into a deal with Viviant Smart Home to have the tech company’s home monitoring services and system stocked by the retailer.
The deal with Amazon and Google is also a demonstration of how Best Buy is learning to partner with some of its biggest competitors. Best Buy has also done the same with Apple where the retailer has mini-shops dedicated to Apple products located in its outlets. This is despite the fact that the Cupertino, California-based tech giant operates retail stores of its own.
In a research report that was recently released an analyst at Piper Jaffray, Peter Keith, stated that as a result of a growing interest by consumers in smart home technologies and products, Best Buy stood to be the largest beneficiary among the retail sector players. While Lowe’s and Home Depot would also benefit significantly, Keith singled out Best Buy due to the fact that the retailer is capable of selling to consumers a complete suite of products.
According to a survey conducted by Piper Jaffray, about 33% of consumers showed an interest in purchasing a smart home technology product. On where they would prefer to shop at, 15% said Lowe’s while 26% said they would shop at Home Depot. 22% of the respondents said they would buy on Amazon while 24% indicated Best Buy.