Best Buy speeds start-ups to selling floor
Best Buy has launched a new program that supports innovators and entrepreneurs largely by showcasing and selling their gadgets to consumers.
The program, called Ignite, includes dedicated space for products and services from startups; a new section in the online store for product information and purchase; and a partnership with PCH, a product innovation company.
Best Buy is offering three such experiences at its revamped Silicon Valley store in Mountain View, California:
- A selection of crowd-funded gadgets from startups, including the Tangram smart rope, Flic smart button, RoBo 3D printer, Zuli Smartplug and Noke Bluetooth padlock — all also available on BestBuy.com;
- Wearable technology showcasing the latest from Under Armour;
- Muzik smart and connected headphones and Bragi wireless smart earphones.
For customers outside of the Bay Area, Best Buy is showcasing other startup products online and in hundreds of stores nationwide. Examples include the Anova precision cooker, Fizzics draft beer system, Keen Home smart vent, Petcube pet camera and Luma Home Wi-Fi system. The company will soon add an Ignite page to BestBuy.com to enable consumers to browse, learn about and shop for a range of items from startups.
Best Buy’s partnership with PCH will allow select startups to take advantage of PCH’s services, including assistance with product development, manufacturing, packaging and inventory management. Entrepreneurs and startups interested in participating in Best Buy’s Ignite program are being encouraged to sign up.
The program was described in some reports as similar to Amazon’s Launchpad, through which startups can submit their products for consideration to be sold on the retailer’s website. Launched in July 2015, Amazon Launchpad has worked with over 100 venture capital firms, startup accelerators and crowd-funding platforms to help more than 1,000 startups launch over 750 products in the U.S., U.K., China, Germany and France.
Walmart and Target have both launched accelerator competitions in part to support the launch of tech products.
- Best Buy Brings Leading Startups, Innovators to Consumers Like Never Before – Best Buy
- Best Buy is bringing exciting crowdfunded products to its retail stores – BGR
- Best Buy’s Ignite initiative spotlights startups in stores, online – Retail Dive
- Best Buy will highlight products by start-ups in section of store, website – Minneapolis Star Tribune
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see programs such as Best Buy’s Ignite and Amazon’s Launchpad as a sustainable trend for the retail industry or more of a temporary fad? Do Best Buy and Amazon gain a competitive advantage from such programs?