From our Charlotte location, Theory House has access to a surprisingly large number of retailer’s HQs which helps us keep our finger on the pulse of retail. We recently noticed Lowe’s, just north of Charlotte, has expanded its SmartSpot concept to 70 additional stores nationwide. SmartSpot is a store within a store concept that in partnership with software-powered retailer b8ta, aims to create a more engaging and innovative shopping solution for smart home products.

This service-oriented concept relies heavily on specially trained experts to augment the already enhanced shopping experience. Each product display is accompanied by an interactive digital screen to facilitate product discovery and information gathering in-store. What’s truly unique is the behind the scenes element, b8ta’s dashboard and analytics solution, which allows Lowe’s to more closely analyze customer interactions and adjust displays and content accordingly.

The clear difference between b8ta’s stand-alone retail stores and the partnership with Lowe’s appears to be the emphasis on selling. The free-standing b8ta stores elevate the discovery experience, inviting customers at all interest levels to participate and learn more about the latest smart technologies. It’s less about moving product and more about creating awareness. While the displays and technologies are similar at Lowe’s, there is naturally a bigger focus on sales. Yes, Lowe’s is clearly elevating the experience, but at the end of the day, customers typically walk into a Lowe’s store with an intent to buy.

Both seem to have their places in the ever-evolving smart product landscape, but it will be interesting to watch as competitors and new entrants alike join the game and take the smart product shopping experience to the next level. Keep in touch with Theory House and our perspective on retail at www.TheoryHouse.com.