Try before you buy: self-cleaning bottles and Dh202,000 headphones at b8ta's new Dubai Mall store

This is the UAE’s first retail-as-a-service space

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Wednesday, January 29 2020, saw b8ta open its first store outside the US at The Dubai Mall.

The store, which is brought to Dubai by Chalhoub Group, operates a "retail-as-a-service" business model wherein companies rent out spaces to display high-tech and luxury products. Customers are encouraged to touch, test out the products, and talk to the store employees to learn more about the functionalities.

“In the Internet age, customers are able to get products from various different channels. So, what b8ta really offers is a new interface for brands to connect with customers through real-life experiences,” says Vibhu Norby who, along with b8ta co-founders William Mintun and Phillip Raub was present at the launch in Dubai. “Brands subscribe to the space in the store and we give them 100 per cent of the sales generated inside the store.

"We are serving an experience around these new products that you can’t get anywhere else, while providing a laboratory for these brands so they can test the customer reaction, and a venue for emerging brands and makers to get access to stores for the very first time,” he adds.

At the futuristic store are products like the Sennheiser HE1 headphones which go for Dh202,000, and are not available through any other retailer. Other products found at the store are the Puppy Cube, a standalone ultra-short-throw projector that turns any flat surface into a touch screen (and retails for Dh3,299) and The Larq bottle, the world’s first self-cleaning water bottle and on-the-go water purification system (prices start at Dh439). Along with high-tech products, the store also sells lifestyle goods from suitcases and leather bags to hair perfume and scalp masks. Meanwhile, brands like Dolby have replicated a home theatre system within the store, purely for demonstrative purposes.

“b8ta caters to the changing preferences of Dubai’s consumers while appealing to their desire to be early adopters, especially when it comes to technology,” says Patrick Chalhoub, Chalhoub Group's cheif executive.

The store is located in The Dubai’s Mall’s fashion avenue and is positioned across the Apple store.