Best Buy, Vivint Open Doors

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Best Buy, Vivint Open Doors

By Nidhi Madhavan - 11/15/2017

Service provider helps electronics retailer increase its foothold in the smart home market

Best Buy gained a valuable ally in its quest to dominate the burgeoning smart home market when it partnered with smart home service provider Vivint. The duo recently launched a joint initiative dubbed “Best Buy Smart Home powered by Vivint.”

The service brings shoppers an extensive assortment of smart home security products connected to Vivint’s control platform, which is accessible from both a home control panel and a mobile application. The platform also connects to voice assistants including Amazon Echo and Google Home.

“When you piece together a smart home on your own, you usually end up with a bunch of different apps,” Bryan Girardi, a Best Buy general manager in San Antonio, said in a post on the retailer’s corporate blog. “With Vivint, it’s one system and one app. The ease of use is really nice.”

The program began rolling out over the summer and had reached 450 locations by the end of October.

At participating stores, an informative standee is positioned alongside a bright blue, interactive door that lets shoppers demo smart locks, light switches, cameras and thermostats from Vivint. Experts from both the retailer and Vivint are on hand to assess shopper needs and recommend the right products.

Many of the Vivint SKUs in stores and on have never previously been available at retail stores. Vivint vice president of strategic business Colby Winegar told Security Info Watch that a retail presence could aid in closing the sale. “If you’re on the phone, it is hard to describe to a customer or show them how a smart home works,” he said. “But in the retail stores at a Best Buy, you have equipment there and it is live and working, so you can show an example of using an Amazon Echo to lock your door, view clips or live video, turn lights on or off, and arm and disarm your system.”

Shoppers can choose to purchase professional installation and monthly service plans with or without a contract from the provider, and Best Buy offers special financing with qualifying purchases.

A landing page on the retailer’s website spotlights the partnership, touting the service benefits and system capabilities while inviting shoppers to search for the demo store closest to them. It also lets visitors shop for individual products online.

Through Sept. 30, Vivint also dangled a free doorbell camera with purchase of a suite of select products from Best Buy. Flyers on store standees and an ad on the landing page plugged the offer.

Connected Homes

The Vivint displays are located within Best Buy’s Connected Home departments. In place at more than 1,000 stores since 2014, the departments showcase a plethora of smart home products from manufacturers including Philips, Ring, Nest, Honeywell and Samsung. Stores without the dedicated departments alternatively spotlight the aforementioned brands via permanent endcaps and sophisticated in-line displays.

According to the retailer, Best Buy sold 55 million smart home products in 2016 and currently boasts 1,500 dedicated smart home staff members across its fleet of stores. Following a successful business turnaround over the past five years, Best Buy has zeroed in on the smart home category as a way to differentiate itself by providing comprehensive solutions – a key pillar in the “Best Buy 2020” growth strategy the retailer officially unveiled in March.

The smart home category also is especially lucrative, with the global market expected to reach $53.5 billion by 2022, according to Zion Market Research. Some analysts have suggested that Best Buy stands to capture 10% share if its tactics pay off.

In-Home Consultations

To bolster its smart home effort, the retailer is growing its new in-home advisors program. Following a successful pilot last year, the service now brings expert staff into customers’ homes to assess their technology needs across all major U.S. cities. The service is free, and advisors coordinate delivery and installation if a purchase is made.

“Economically, for us, it’s attractive because it helps make customers happy, build a relationship and grow the revenue line,” Best Buy chief executive officer Hubert Joly told CNBC.

In addition to recommending relevant smart home products, the advisors also assist in designing entertainment and audio systems, choosing major appliances and troubleshooting potential connectivity issues.

In July, rival Amazon followed suit by launching its own Smart Home Services program.

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