The software-powered retail-as-a-service company b8ta has partnered with Google to showcase an interactive in-store shopping experience featuring Made by Google products. Shoppers in seven b8ta flagship locations will be able to test out and shop Google’s Home products in interactive home-like vignettes.
These experiences are part of the b8ta mission — to get shoppers to try out new tech products in brick-and-mortar stores before they buy them. All b8ta stores “are designed for software to be a primary component that drives the experience,” said CEO and Co-Founder Vibhu Norby in an interview with Retail TouchPoints.
B8ta will launch the experiences in Austin, Texas; Corte Madera, Calif.; Houston; San Francisco; Tysons Corner, Va.; and two new b8ta stores in Short Hills, N.J. and Scottsdale, Ariz. opening later this year.
The Made by Google launch is the latest of the company’s forays into physical retail. Late in 2017, b8ta partnered with Lowe’s on a connected store-within-a-store SmartSpot experience in more than 70 locations. The experiences offer a curated selection of 60+ smart home products such as security systems, lighting and cameras, but more importantly they also are designed to emulate a lab-like experience and encourage shoppers to test the merchandise.
In April 2018, the company unveiled the Built by b8ta solution for retailers and built the first brick-and-mortar store for NETGEAR, a computer networking company. In June, Macy’s partnered with b8ta to enhance and expand its experiential-based retail concept The Market @ Macy’s and went on to lead the startup’s $21 million Series B funding round.