U.S. consumer electronics retailer Best Buy is re-considering its partnership with Vivint Smart Home, according to media sources.
The collaboration was first announced in May 2017, which brought Vivint experts into more than 400 of Best Buy’s stores nationwide. They gave customers advices on smart home devices and installation.
According to a Bloomberg report, Best Buy has let go more than 400 Vivint employees and Vivint products have been pulled off the shelves. Best Buy’s own technology professionals and salespeople might take over smart home setups in the future.
Smart home products are important for the U.S. retailer. The company expects the smart home market size to expand to US$41 billion by 2020, up from US$31 billion last year. In the most recent quarter, smart home devices were the fastest-growing product category.
However, Hubert Joly, CEO of Best Buy, told analysts last year that the alliance with Vivint only brought a “very moderate” impact on the company’s sales and profits in 2017, according to Bloomberg.
Best Buy has rolled out an in-home adviser program in 2016, bringing specialized consultants to customers’ houses to solve technology issues. The retailer also set up sections in-store to demonstrate for various smart home technologies, including smart locks, smart lighting and voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Vivint’s own products, including a security camera connecting to the doorbell and motion sensors, were sold in these smart home sessions. In addition to hardware, Vivint offered financing for smart home products, service plans and online management software at Best Buy.
Vivint is likely to realize more benefits than Best Buy through this partnership. The smart home service provider has more physical locations to reach out to potential customers than it used to. As for Best Buy, it owns its tech experts and various products to sell. Vivint’s in-store presence probably won’t help as much as it thought.
“We are continuing to work with Vivint on ways to better help our customers explore, learn about and buy the latest smart-home products and services,” replied Best Buy to Bloomberg. Vivint didn’t respond to requests for comment.