Best Buy (BBY) is making nice with one of its fiercest rivals, Amazon.com (AMZN), to bolster its ongoing bid to be the leading retailer in the booming smart-home tech area.
The electronics retailer, enjoying a renaissance of late, announced on Wednesday it was expanding space at 700 of its stores to better showcase Amazon’s Echo as well as Google (GOOG)Home and how they interact with other smart home technology it sells such as Philips Hue smart light bulbs, and Nest thermostats. The strategy is Best Buy’s latest push into smart home tech: a few weeks ago, Best Buy announced a major new partnership with Vivint, a company that installs home monitoring services and solar panels.
The retailer last month announced a surprise increase in comparable sales for the first-quarter, with home tech a major source of that growth. That sent shares to record highs.
While the 10-foot-by 4-foot Amazon and Google displays won’t be as large or fancy as Best Buy’s current store-within-a-store arrangements with the likes of Samsung and Apple (AAPL), and will be staffed by Best Buy workers, they are part of Best Buy’s efforts to offer customers consultations and advice they can’t find online, a key prong in its successful strategy to beat back at online competitors like Amazon.
As reported by Barron’s this week, Piper Jaffray analyst Peter Keith recently called Best Buy “the biggest consumer retail beneficiary for smart home adoption” positioned to ride growing interest in smart home products.