ŌURA partners with Best Buy for first nationwide retail expansion

Steven Loeb · April 24, 2023 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/56a5

The deal will put Oura Rings in 850 stores across the country

Best Buy has been making health a key component of its mission in recent years, even setting up a separate division specifically focused on the space. That's what makes them a good partner for ŌURA, the company behind the Oura Ring, a device that gives users personalized health data, insights, and daily guidance.

On Monday, ŌURA announced a new partnership with Best Buy, its first US-based, large-scale retail partnership, which will put its devices into 850 Best Buy stores nationwide, as well as on BestBuy.com; only roughly 250 of those Best Buy stores will have Oura Ring inventory for in-person purchase, however, while the remaining stores will offer fast shipping and/or in-store pickup. 

These stores will carry inventory of colors and styles, including Heritage Black, Horizon Silver, Horizon Stealth, and Horizon Gold, while all sizes and styles will be available on BestBuy.com.  In addition 50 select locations will feature an 11’x11’ ŌURA experience that includes videos, educational information, and the ability to see and touch a variety of Oura Ring SKUs.

Founded in 2013, ŌURA uses its device to measures the quantity and quality of rest, including sleep stages, schedule, and nightly heart rate, to provide an overall Sleep Score; activity, which means looking at all movement habits including calorie burn, heart rate, inactivity, and recovery time; and readiness, providing a Readiness Score that uses sleep, activity, and body stress signals, such as temperature and HRV, to predict how much a person can take on that day.

Oura recently, which entered into partnerships with Gucci, Strava, Natural Cycles, and Therabody, and launched a new product, Oura Gen3 Horizon, has raised $148.3 million in venture funding from investors that include Lifeline Ventures, Forerunner Ventures, Temasek, The Chernin Group, JAZZ Venture Partners, and MSD Capital; its most recent round, raised in April, valued it at $2.55 billion. 

“Brick-and-mortar retail is a natural next step for ŌURA and marks a pivotal moment for the business as we continue to expand into the mainstream,” Tom Hale, CEO of ŌURA, said in a statement.

“Introducing more people to the benefits of ŌURA’s technology and providing an impactful in-store and online experience with the help of Best Buy is an exciting step forward for us as a company.”

Best Buy Health, meanwhile, has been making a number of moves in different facets of the healthcare space, including wellness at home, aging at home, and care at home. It partnered  with Tyto Care, a medical examination device that can be used in the home in 2019. The company also acquired Current Health, a leading care-at-home technology platform that brings together remote patient monitoring, telehealth, and patient engagement into a single solution for healthcare organizations in 2021.

The company also previously partnered with GreatCall, a provider of health and safety solutions for older adults and their family caregivers, to launch a  Lively App and Lively Wearable2 medical alert device. The company also began selling over-the-counter hearing aids in 2022, along with personal sound amplification products, TV amplifiers and hearing accessories.

“There's been incredible innovation in the wearables space, and we know our customers are excited to utilize technology to enhance their health and wellness,” Frank Bedo, senior vice president at Best Buy, said in a statement. 

“Oura Ring is a natural fit for us as we continue to bring our customers the latest innovations in health technology.”

Investing in brick and mortar retail

While the conversation in retail for a number of years has been on the transition from brick and mortar to online sales, physical stores have been making a comeback since the pandemic.

A number of direct-to-consumer brands have been transitioning from offline to online sales, such as Cuup, a direct-to-consumer lingerie brand that also provides a virtual fitting service, which recently entered into a partnership with Bloomingdale’s to make its products and services available not only on the retailer’s website, but also in-store at its 59th Street Flagship Store location in New York City.

Others include Warby Parker, which began as an online-only retailer, but opened its first retail showroom in 2013 and now operates close to 160 stores in North America, as well as Untuckit, Everlane, Allbirds, Boll & Branch, Casper, Wayfair, and Harry’s. 

All of this underscores that in-store retail is still thriving, with a number of retailers opening new stores in 2022 and 2023, including IKEA, which just announced a $2.2 billion investment in U.S. expansion, which includes plans to open eight new stores, nine plan and order points, and 900 pickup locations.

GNC, meanwhile, announced 88 new commitments, and another 15 agreements anticipated by the end of the year, to open new stores, which will go alongside the several dozen it had already opened this year, and the 75 new stores it opened in 2022. The company also revealed that it's opening a 2,400 square foot flagship store in Pittsburgh this summer.

survey conducted earlier this year, which polled retail store managers in commercial real estate services firm Levin Management Corporation's 125-property leasing and management portfolio, found that over 76% of them said their 2022 sales matched or exceeded the prior year, which the company notes is the highest percentage the survey has ever seen.

Most believe that will continue into this coming year, as nearly 70% said they are optimistic about store performance in 2023, and over a quarter of respondents even said they anticipate their company will open additional locations in the next 12 months.

There is a risk, though: people are generally down on the in-store shopping experience. Even before COVID, people were dissatisfied with the experience of buying things in-store: a 2019 survey of shoppers found that 80% said they feel they’re not receiving a personalized shopping experience. 

More recent data shows that customers believe the in-store shopping experience is worse now than it was pre-COVID, and the reason why is because of understaffed stores, or staff who are poorly trained. Brands that have built up good will online may risk undercutting that if a customer has a bad in-store experience. 

(Image source: ouraring.com)

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