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Amazon yesterday announced the opening of what it is calling “interactive Amazon Experience Centers” that have been installed inside Lennar model homes in various US markets - Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC.

In essence, these Experience Centers endeavor to create a context for the ecosystem that Amazon is creating, demonstrating how various services, such as Prime and its Alexa-powered system, come together to help consumers.

According to the announcement, “In these Alexa-enabled smart homes, customers can simply ask Alexa to control the television, lights, thermostat, shades, and more. The model homes showcase how customers can use Alexa in their everyday lives. Customers can experience just how easy it can be to reorder household essentials with a press of an Amazon Dash Button, listen or watch Prime content with Fire TV or schedule on-demand home services through Amazon Home Services.”

Lennar is a real estate and home building company that was the largest home construction company in the country last year.

CNet writes that “though these locations don't sell any items, they serve as another example of Amazon's effort to maintain its lead in smart home tech, with its Echo devices holding roughly 70 percent of the US smart speaker market, analysts say. With Google offering significant competition, not to mention Apple and Samsung joining the fray, Amazon will need to use whatever tools it can to keep its own smart home gadgets at the top of people's minds.

“The homes should also serve as another place for customers to test Amazon products before buying them, something they can't do on the company's website. Amazon already brought its gadgets to its own bookstores, mall kiosks, college drop-off centers and its Whole Foods stores, in addition to retail stores like Best Buy.”
KC's View:
I’m not entirely sure I’d like to live in one of these houses, but I sure would like to see one, if only to see how the Jeff Bezos ecosystem is realized in an actual, physical context.

More retail stores should think this way - it is about going beyond product and focusing on meaning and relevance and resonance.