Forget finding revenue in retail sales; b8ta, a 1,400-square-foot product showcase which opened in December in Palo Alto, Calif., signals a new way of generating revenue while moving product from manufacturer to consumer.
Retail technology vendors pay subscription fees to showcase products such as a foldable electric bike with app-controlled lights and smart thermostats to consumers who want to touch, feel and test before committing to a purchase.
Since b8ta doesn’t buy products, it is much more cost effective than traditional retail stores, says co-founder and CEO Vibhu Norby.
The analytical data the store collects give product makers a chance to optimize marketing choices.
“Some 1,000 people viewing on average 45 percent of our selections a week means 45,000 product engagements per week which is millions per year,” Norby says, “which is awesome for our vendors.”
Norby believes that retail in the future “will ultimately be a marketing function and not a sales function. That’s what vendors are paying for at b8ta, [thousands of] people a month trying and seeing their products for the first time.”