Amazon has just announced that Echo, its voice-activated home assistant, will be available at over 3,000 retail locations this holiday season.
While the hands-free device has been available for several months online and at participating retailers like Staples, this marks the online retailer’s largest in-store push to date for Echo since its launch in late 2014.
Some call it a personal assistant, while others call it a voice-activated speaker. Amazon, on the other hand, is calling it a “must-have gift this holiday season,” according to Greg Hart, vice president of Amazon Echo and Alexa Voice Services, who commented in a company press release. “We’re excited to work with retailers across the country to make Echo available to their customers.”
This holiday season, and likely beyond, customers will be able to purchase Echo at select locations of The Home Depot, Staples, Sears, Brookstone, RadioShack, Fred Meyer, P.C. Richard & Son, as well as several other retailers, to experience and purchase Echo.
While it may defy simple categorization, Amazon Echo is certainly not lacking in features and functions, with the explicit goal of becoming an indispensable part of consumers’ homes. Echo helps users do everything from play music, dim lights, set thermostats, set timers and alarms, get the latest news or weather report, ask questions and get answers from across the Web and even shop online. Thanks to Alexa, Echo’s “brain,” users can operate the device hands-free from across the room, even over music.
Amazon’s partner retailers are certainly not holding back their enthusiasm for the device. “Staples.com launched Amazon Echo several months ago, and the product has been well-received by our customers,” Eric Cayton, VP of technology for Staples, stated in the release. “We are excited to continue to work with Amazon to offer Echo in select Staples retail stores and on Staples.com during the holiday season.”
Echo offers a complimentary addition to the connected device offerings already available at many of these retailers. “We’re thrilled to have Amazon Echo in select Brookstone stores this holiday season,” said Brookstone CEO Tom Via in the press release. “Our goal is to give customers the opportunity to see and try out the best in new technology and gifts, and Echo is a great fit for them.”
As technology products tend to be among the best-sellers during the holidays, Echo may give retailers an advantage in moving a number of other items on their shelves as well. Serving as a control hub and connecting various devices in the in-store environment, Echo will allow shoppers to experience the true power of a fully connected home while standing in a store, an experience that can’t be recreated online.
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