The rollout underscores how Amazon aims to make Alexa and the company's growing list of services, from shopping and entertainment to home security, an everyday part of consumers' lives. It also steps up competition with retailers such as Best Buy Co Inc that focus on showcasing technology and advising shoppers.
Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, said it has partnered with Lennar Corp to convert some of the home construction company's model homes into showrooms for Alexa. The so-called "Amazon Experience Centers" are now open near 15 cities including Los Angeles, Dallas and Washington, with more to come.
"Today, the choices open to customers are, you can go to a brick-and-mortar store and you can see devices on demo tables. You go online and do your research. But you fundamentally are left to imagine what an integrated home would look like," said Nish Lathia, general manager of Amazon Services, in the company's Vallejo, California experience centre outside San Francisco.
The centres are "intended to educate and inspire. On the secondary benefit, yes, if it drives sales, we're not complaining," he said.
David Kaiserman, president of Lennar Ventures, said the centres should increase traffic to Lennar's model homes and spark ideas for potential home buyers. Lennar will get a standard commission for Amazon sales to customers it helped acquire, too.
Experts visit customers' homes and consult on issues from increasing appliance efficiency to setting up connected gadgets - similar in nature to Amazon's 1.5-year-old "Smart Home Services," which is poised to gain from the new experience centres.
"We're excited about Best Buy's program," said Amazon's Lathia. "The more customers that get educated about smart home, the better it is for everybody."
Philippe Ferrey, an Amazon Expert present at the Vallejo centre, previously worked five years for Best Buy as a Geek Squad agent, he said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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