It’s been a whirlwind few years for Oura. The hardware-maker rode the early days of the pandemic to the top of the wearable ranks, establishing itself as the top smart ring maker by a mile.
With the promise of detecting early COVID warning signals, the company struck up brand partnerships with some of the world’s leading sports leagues. Oura has had its share of controversy along the way, including the addition of a premium service that locked existing features behind a paywall.
This time last year, the company announced that Tom Hale joined up as CEO, with a stated goal of scaling the company. Today’s news is a major step in that direction, as the company announces a deal with Best Buy that will bring its ring to around 850 locations around the U.S.
“Brick-and-mortar retail is a natural next step for Oura and marks a pivotal moment for the business as we continue to expand into the mainstream,” Hale says in a release. “Introducing more people to the benefits of Oura’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.”
The in-person experience is an important one for wearables. After all, products designed to be worn on your person represent an extra level of intimacy you don’t get with standard consumer electronics. It’s a pretty good idea to try something on before plunking down a few hundred dollars plus subscription fee.
Oura does have some brick and mortar presence already, but nothing that rivals the Best Buy deal. The list includes limited availability in Gucci and Therabody stores, as well as SoftBank retail locations in Japan.