Lowe’s has shown itself to be one of retail’s most innovative companies with developments from its Innovation Lab, but the company also looks outside the organization to enhance its store experience. In partnership with software-powered tech retailer b8ta, Lowe’s is expanding its connected home store-within-a-store experiences to 70 locations.
The “Smart Home powered by b8ta” started as a three-store pilot in fall 2016. Installations feature a curated selection of 60+ smart home products including security systems, thermostats, cameras, lighting and speakers from Google, Sonos, GE, Nest, Iris, Samsung and Ring. The stores-within-stores offer consumers on-site support from specially trained experts known as “b8ta testers.”
Ruth Crowley, VP of Customer Experience Design at Lowe’s, said Smart Home by b8ta is designed to “emulate a ‘lab-like’ atmosphere that empowers customers to make informed decisions.”
The products are displayed out of the box to encourage hands-on play and enhance product knowledge so that shoppers can try before they buy. IPads with product-related content and pricing details can be found alongside each device. Smartphones also are available for customers to interact with products and supporting apps in the store.
Lowe’s can adjust product displays and content based on customer insights gathered via b8ta’s dashboard and analytics.
The new stores-within-stores are located in major U.S. markets, including New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Miami, Tampa, Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C.
The formats are part of a larger initiative for Lowe’s to focus on smart home technology. As many as 1,000 Lowe’s stores have rolled out specialize smart home displays ahead of the holiday season, and the retailer updated its web site to reflect the Smart Home by b8ta expansion.