TECHNOLOGY

Lowe’s partners with San Francisco start-up to sell tech devices

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Lowe’s Companies is partnering with an unusual and very tech-savvy retailer to sell “smart” home devices.

The home improvement retailer has teamed up with San-Francisco-based b8ta to launch an in-store shop concept dedicated to demystifying and simplifying the purchase of smart home devices Called “SmartSpot powered by b8ta,” the new concept is currently in place in three Lowe’s stores in California (Livermore, Burbank and Aliso Viejo).

Founded in 2015 by three Nest alums, b8ta opened its first store in 2015, in Palo Alto, followed by a location in Santa Monica, and one in Seattle. The stores are designed to spotlight innovative new tech products and utilize a retail-as-a-service showroom model. The company’s software platform gives the featured brands access to a wide variety of data, much of it in real time, that allows them to better understand how shoppers are interacting with their products.

Lowe’s SmartSpot shop offers a curated collection of more than 40 cutting-edge smart home products, from security to energy maintenance, organized in a central location. Brands include Amazon, Lutron, Nest and Ring, along with Lowe’s own smart home management platform brand and tech start-ups.

Digital displays and trained experts are also available to assist customers.

“We know through research that customers feel overwhelmed when choosing the right smart home devices, and often evaluate products for more than two months before making a purchase,” said Ruth Crowley, VP of customer experience design at Lowe's. “Our partnership with b8ta allows us to give customers confidence in making well informed decisions by narrowing the product assortment and providing education to help them take that first step."

The SmartShop uses b8ta’s proprietary retail technology, which allows Lowe’s to adjust the in-store displays remotely, and capture valuable information about customer interactions with the products on display and content, all in real-time.

“b8ta is excited to provide manufacturers the ability to easily on-board their products into Lowe's stores with our software platform, offering unprecedented access to product performance and customer insights," said Phillip Raub, co-founder and CMO of b8ta. "By making retail more accessible to manufacturers, customers at Lowe's will be able to engage with a wider and more relevant assortment of smart home products than ever before."

SmartSpot is a natural extension for Lowe’s, which began introducing the smart home category in 2012, with the exclusive launch of the Nest thermostat, a company statement said.

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