Lowe’s and Macy’s join rivals chasing smart home opportunity
Move over Best Buy and Amazon.com, Lowe’s and Macy’s want to also help consumers transform their homes with the Internet of Things (IoT).
Last week, Lowe’s announced it is opening 70 in-store shops dedicated to helping consumers discover and buy smart home devices.
The rollout follows the successful pilot of SmartSpot shops in three Lowe’s locations last fall operated by b8ta. The collaboration with the software retailer will continue. Described as “retail-as-a-service,” b8ta’s model relies on manufacturers paying a monthly subscription fee to be in the store.
Lowe’s smart home shops, located near the front of the store, will feature more than 60 products, from security systems to thermostats, cameras to lighting and speakers. Lowe’s is using out-of-the-box displays to encourage trial and making smart phones available so customers can interact with products and supporting apps as they would use them at home. Onsite “b8ta testers” are available for advice.
Ruth Crowley, VP of customer experience design at Lowe’s, said in a statement, “Smart home products simplify life — but the technology can sometimes be confusing or intimidating. So, we developed Smart Home powered by b8ta to emulate a ‘lab-like’ atmosphere that empowers customers to make informed decisions.”
In addition, 1,000 Lowe’s locations will have smart home displays in time for holiday selling. Tips on creating a “smarter home” are available on Lowe’s website.
At Macy’s Herald Square in Manhattan, an 800-square-foot b8ta store opened earlier this month similarly dedicated to smart phone gadgets. A Samsung in-store shop also landed on the main floor offering “an assortment of the most innovative technologies in virtual reality, tablet, smartphone, wearable, the Family Hub refrigerator, QLED television, home audio and smart home categories.”
The two retailers making the biggest noise around connected homes are Best Buy and Amazon. Underscoring the challenges explaining how technology works, both Best Buy and Amazon are hiring consultants to travel to consumers’ homes to educate, recommend and customize IoT items for homes.
Since July 2015, Target has been operating a Target Open House location in San Francisco that’s designed to “demystify connected home products” for consumers while offering insights into selling them.
- Lowe’s Collaborates With b8ta to Deliver Experiential Retail That Simplifies Smart Home Shopping – Lowe’s
- Make Your List and Check It Twice, Macy’s Has Everything You Need This Holiday Season – Macy’s
- Does the Internet of Things need a showroom experience? – RetailWire
- Target Open House – Target
- Will smart homes be sold in living rooms? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see an opportunity for a range of retailers such as Lowe’s and Macy’s to exploit the smart home trend? Are smart home devices primed for a break-out performance this holiday season?