Best Buy and Vivint Smart Home have partnered to offer a range of smart home products at more than 400 Best Buy stores starting this summer, along with in-store expert advice from Vivint, and design and installation services.
Best Buy Smart Home powered by Vivint will allows customers to consult with a smart home expert, design a comprehensive system and receive professional installation and monitoring, often within 24 hours. Vivint staff also offer advice on purchasing smart home products from Vivint and other partners — including smart locks, lights, cameras, thermostats and more.
Vivint’s smart home platform works with control devices powered by voice assistants, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, enabling consumers to control their smart home devices with their voices. The partners also are offering service plans that include 24/7 professional monitoring with emergency response, always-on cellular connection, 30-day video storage, online and phone support, in-home service and equipment protection. Customers also have the option to select a no-contract service plan.
Best Buy recently reported a sluggish fourth quarter after the big box retailer appeared to be putting tough times behind it late last year. Part of the problem this time around was that sales of mobile phones, tablets and other gadgets under-performed. That reality probably has Best Buy in a mood to do what it can to stoke other revenue opportunities.
The smart home market should prove a solid choice for increasing attention. The popularity of Amazon Echo has given other retailers the confidence to explore their own angles in a potentially very broad market that no one has cornered yet — not even Amazon. In addition to Google's efforts, brick-and-mortar retailers like Target, Ikea, Staples and Lowe's have jumped into the market in one way or another.
Given that activity, Best Buy's move to brand smart home products with an established partner in the sector makes a lot of sense. It's a natural move for a retailer that said it sold more than 55 million connected devices last year, while also providing in-home, in-store and online technology services nearly 16 million times. Meanwhile, Vivint has more than 1 million customers and has installed more than 15 million smart home devices in North American homes, the partners said. Vivint and Best Buy also were named the No. 1 and No. 2 Top Smart Home Integrators, respectively, in the 2017 CE Pro 100 List, and Vivint was called the No. 1 smart home services company by Strategy Analytics.
Among retailers' smart home efforts, Best Buy's partnership with Vivint may most resemble Lowe's partnership with b8ta, as both programs have major service and in-store components to them. Best Buy's program with Vivint also bears some resemblance to its store-within-a-store partnerships, though in the announcement the retailer didn't refer to it with that language.
That may not have been a conscious choice, but if it was, it may have something to do with Best Buy co-branding in this case with Vivint. It remains pretty early in the smart home race to predict how these efforts will pan out, but if Best Buy is attaching its name to this particular smart home effort, it must mean business.