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Lowe’s seeks to educate customers about smart home products with new mini stores

Jumping into the smart home market can be a daunting task. Which light bulbs or speakers are the best? How are they controlled? Will they work with my other smart devices? For many, these questions keep them from taking the plunge, but Lowe’s wants to help make things simple. The company has teamed up with software-powered retailer b8ta to open mini-stores inside 70 Lowe’s locations nationwide.

Smart Home powered by b8ta began as a three-store pilot last year in three California cities — Aliso Viejo, Burbank, and Livermore. After much success, the store-within-a-store is expanding to help inform more shoppers about smart home devices. Each location will feature top-rated products including security systems, thermostats, cameras, speakers, and more. To encourage hands-on use, products are on display out of the box. Specially trained experts known as “b8ta testers” will be on hand to offer customer support.

“Smart home products simplify life – but the technology can sometimes be confusing or intimidating,” said Ruth Crowley, vice president of customer experience design at Lowe’s, in a statement. “So, we developed Smart Home powered by b8ta to emulate a ‘lab-like’ atmosphere that empowers customers to make informed decisions.”

Each Smart Home location is easily identifiable by its wood-paneled aisles near the front of the store. Customers can check out more than 60 smart home products from brands such as Google, Sonos, GE, Nest, Iris, Samsung, and Ring. Next to each product is an iPad displaying related information and pricing details. Smartphones are also available so customers can interact with the products and their companion apps.

Lowe’s has also rolled out specialized smart home displays in 1,000 of its other stores. These displays feature products primed for the upcoming holiday shopping season. For those who prefer to shop online, Lowe’s has also enhanced its website so users can enjoy a similar curated smart home experience. Users can gain additional product knowledge, including use cases to inspire people to create a smarter home.

With the holidays just around the corner, it’s important to know what smart appliances have to offer. The Digital Trends 2017 Home Awards showcases our favorite picks for cooking, entertaining, grooming, and more.

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