b8ta: Brick and Mortar 2.0

It makes sense that COBI, a product that’s revolutionizing the riding experience, has teamed up with b8ta, a new kind of retailer that’s redefining the in-store purchasing experience. At first glance, it seemed backwards when b8ta, a brick and mortar store for new tech products, opened its doors in Palo Alto. Why would a store that sells the latest and greatest tech items decide to open physical retail space when the rise of online shopping and the subsequent demise of traditional shopping has changed the way we shop? Because b8ta wants to change it even more.

b8ta was founded by three alumni from Nest, the WiFi-enabled learning thermostat that optimizes heating and cooling. Needless to say, these guys were experienced in launching a concept that has never been seen before. They made a simple household tool a smart and multi-faceted device that goes way beyond the simple dial on your wall. “Even though they were successful,” explains John Kennelly, the b8ta partnerships manager, “they realized that there really wasn’t a good way to introduce a new, really innovative product to the market.” Traditional packaging and end caps can get lost in stores like Home Depot. The idea for b8ta was born out of this struggle.

b8ta is all about conveying the product experience instead of listing features and benefits, hoping they resonate. Each product in b8ta is out of the box and ready to be played with, allowing consumers to get an interactive experience. Digital displays sit next to each item and run b8ta software that makers customize with product video, images, and whatever other information they want to share with consumers.

The differences between b8ta and traditional retail stores don’t stop there. b8ta doesn’t make any money off the sales in its stores. The money from the sale of any product goes directly back to the makers. b8ta isn’t concerned if consumers buy the product in their store or elsewhere, they just want to provide the best user experience for the makers.

b8ta’s technology provides deep insights for makers and retailers. It also enables makers to adjust displays, offer sales, and run campaigns, all while keeping b8ta staff informed in real time. These innovations are transforming the traditional way of doing retail by putting more control in the hands of shoppers, makers, and retailers—all at once.

Makers from all over have started knocking on b8ta’s doors. When b8ta learned about COBI and how it can solve problems and transform the biking experience, b8ta knew it was a perfect fit: an innovative product that up-levels an entire category is best experienced first hand. COBI is now one of the newest products on display at b8ta in Palo Alto and will soon be on display in new b8ta stores opening in Santa Monica and Seattle. Kennelly summed it up well when he said, “COBI really has that wow factor.”