Brand Experience Brief: b8ta

Take a look inside b8ta, a new store for discovering new tech products.  Learn how b8ta closes the gap between maker and buyer with a hands-on helpful retail customer experience that is much needed into today’s high tech, omnichannel world.

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Today’s brand experience brief is about an innovative retail store designed for discovering, trying, and buying new technology products.  It’s called b8ta and it can be found in downtown Palo Alto, California.  Let’s take a look inside.

b8ta showcases a collection of new technology products including many Internet of Things products like the Sense by Hello which tracks your sleep behavior, a video home phone device and network called Ily or ily (not quite sure about that), Mocaheart by Mocacare, a heart health tracker that measures heart rate, blood oxygen, and blood velocity, and an e-Bike by Juno Power.

Every product is out on display, with explanatory signage and demo screens and videos, so you are encouraged to try them out.  And each also displays a reminder to ask the friendly b8ta staff for a demo.  One of the store slogans is “No packaging—just products,” and it definitely delivers on the hands-on experience.

Unlike most tech stores that are not very kid-friendly, b8ta hosts a prominent kids section where kids are invited to play with the products and, even in the case of a maker-like product, are given ideas of what to do with it including creating something that can make a loud noise!

b8ta is the perfect environment for companies like SoftBank Media that want to show off products like its emotional robot, Pepper, which is  able to “read” four human emotions — happiness, joy, sadness, and anger — and respond accordingly.

b8ta is targeted both to consumers who are interested in learning about cool, new products — the store markets itself as “retail designed for discovery” — and to makers and sellers of those products who want to get exposure for and feedback on their innovations. In fact, there’s a display in the store promoting The Stable, a retail sales agency for IoT products.

b8ta opened in December 2015 and was founded by four former Nest employees who wanted to “Create a physical space where people can try the best new technology products out of the box.” They wanted to create a store where all the products are displayed for hands-on interaction and to close the time and physical gap between maker and buyer.  They’ve certainly succeeded.

b8ta says two more stores will be opening in December 2016, in Santa Monica and Seattle.  As more and more products start to have some element of technology in them, stores like b8ta are going to be needed so people can learn about and try them before purchase. Also b8ta demonstrates that the role of a store is no longer just about providing access to inventory but it’s also the best possible marketing for a product — it’s an idea that is growing in relevance in today’s omnichannel world.

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