Are Smart Homes the Next New Thing in Retail?


Lowe’s has teamed up with San Francisco-based tech retailer b8ta to launch SmartSpot, a new in-store concept dedicated to smart home devices. The home improvement retailer, who introduced the smart home category back in 2012, will offer a collection of more than 40 different products within the SmartSpot shop. From security alarms to energy maintenance tools, products will span several different brands including Amazon, Lutron, Nest, Ring, and of course, Lowe’s.

Digital displays and specially trained experts will be on standby to assist those less familiar with the concept. “We know through research that customers feel overwhelmed when choosing the right smart home devices, and often evaluate products for more than two months before making a purchase,” said Ruth Crowley, VP of Customer Experience Design at Lowe’s. “Our partnership with b8ta allows us to give customers confidence in making well informed decisions by narrowing the product assortment and providing education to help them take that first step.”

What is smart living?

A ‘smart home’ contains a number of interconnected electronic devices and appliances which are programmed to perform actions at a consumer’s command. In other words, a home that is able to be completely controlled by the Internet of Things (IoT) in order to save time and effort. While a seemingly new concept, smart homes have been around for quite some time. Consumers are already used to gadgets like timed appliances, remote-controlled garage doors, and self-shutting tools. Today, smart living has evolved to include a much more sophisticated series of home automation systems, accessible through a smartphone or the internet. A perfect example of this would be how families today are using Amazon’s Alexa-enabled Echo device to stream music, set alarms, and make to-do lists.

How does this affect retail?

The smart home market is projected to grow to $58.68 billion by the year 2020. It represents an entirely new world of retail in which consumers are buying products because they fit in to their new, ‘smart’ lifestyle. We’ve already seen a drastic change in how products are being made to accommodate the new mobile-first retail landscape – consumers love mobile shopping more than ever, so why not make it easier for them to do other things using their phones as well? For craft brands, this means an opportunity to get a leg up on the competition by incorporating IoT capabilities into your product. As a retailer, this opens up a whole new world when it comes to building your assortment.

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