- Home improvement retailer Lowe's has joined the store-within-a-store movement, making room for SmartSpot powered by b8ta, the results of a collaboration with retail customer engagement startup b8ta.
- The SmartSpot experience (located within Lowe's Livermore, Burbank and Aliso Viejo stores in California) includes a wide range of smart home products, from security to energy maintenance and convenience, all organized in a central location. SmartSpot features several of Lowe’s own Iris home energy management products alongside more than 40 other products from companies like Amazon, Lutron, Nest and Ring.
- b8ta is a San Francisco-based company that specializes in designing retail settings that promote customer engagement with high-tech products and lessen the intimidation of gadgets like smart home devices.
Lowe's is hardly the first retailer to embrace the store-within-a-store concept, as Best Buy has launched several such concepts for companies ranging from Samsung to Intel to Google. Macy's also has rolled out Apple stores within its stores, and J.C. Penney did something similar with Sephora.
However, Lowe's approach to the store-within-a-store concept seems different so far in at least a couple of ways. First, it's aligning (at least in this instance) with a company whose business it is to design particularly engaging retail settings aimed at getting customers to try new products. Second, the new smart home shops are not dedicated to products from just one brand; instead, they're designed around a segment of products — the smart home — and showcases offerings from many different brands, including but not limited to Lowe's itself.
The Lowe's Iris smart home system launched a year ago this month, and you have to give Lowe's some credit for not playing favorites and including other smart home brands in its SmartSpot locations. It will be interesting to see where Lowe's goes from here with the b8ta relationship — if it works with the startup to design similar spaces for other kinds of devices, or if this is just a one-off arrangement.
It may want to follow Best Buy's roadmap and open up more store-within-a-store concepts. The electronics retailer just reported healthy quarterly results, with these in-store shops noted as a major driver of traffic growth, which is exacty what Best Buy hoped they would become.