Recent research from McKinsey claims that the Internet of Things (IoT) offers a potential economic impact of $4 trillion to $11 trillion a year by 2025, equating to 11 per cent of the world’s economy. Now, that’s surely a reason to get involved?
Every technology brand is acutely aware of the need to create innovative connected products. Some are more aware than others, such as Hoover with Wizard, the UK’s first fully connected kitchen app that enables you to control and view the status of appliances on the go.
IoT devices, once thought of as the preserve of premium brands, are now becoming the norm in retail, with many shoppers expecting more connectivity in their appliances and devices. Hoover is not alone in giving consumers ultimate control at realistic prices. Look at the beautifully designed Hive Active Heating 2 with a range of new features and a family of complementary products.
The demand for connected products in the UK is growing. Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation identified that 59 per cent of people agreed or strongly agreed that it would be useful to control devices in the home when out and about. Consider the possibilities this offers your consumers and the connection sales IoT offers your store for those upgrading one or many devices. A massive 70 per cent would also value the safety and security features a smart home would offer, increasing the opportunity to range complementary products, offering a choice to consumers expecting more.
When selling connected devices, it’s easy to over-complicate the “how it works” element from a technical perspective. Too much focus on explaining the reliance on network connections and sharing data may confuse the customer and worry them unnecessarily. To sell smart-home solutions without over-complication, the focus should be kept on the practical benefits – namely being convenient, safe and fun.
The ways in which this technology should be introduced to customers is to focus on the lifestyle benefits offered by your new connected product.
All retailers must consider the 50 per cent of shoppers who would buy smart products for their home if cost weren’t an issue. Likewise, retailers need to consider that 39 per cent of shoppers are worried about the privacy issues associated with IoT. As a new category, shoppers need reassurance that the products they are considering will truly benefit their lifestyles and are worth the extra cost, and that they will not put their privacy at risk. This reassurance needs to be reinforced on the shopfloor by staff, making training on IoT products a priority when entering this new category. If your staff can talk with authority about connected products, you will see consumer knowledge, and ultimately sales, improve.
The IoT is about innovation. What better way to market your store’s expertise in IoT than through targeted digital campaigns to your customer base via smartphone and email. Continue the customer journey from online to in-store with working digital displays and staff on hand equipped with wi-fi-connected tablets to explain and demonstrate the benefits of IoT products. Consider also inviting consumers to try interacting with connected devices from their own smartphone, further enhancing the customer experience. It will also demonstrate the ease of use and spark their imagination to consider how they can immerse themselves and their home in the IoT.
Brands like Hoover and Hive demonstrate that innovation need not be at a premium when integrating IoT devices into your home. With a number of brands adding to the already growing category, ranging IoT products will put you ahead of the curve, perhaps enabling the IoT to become potentially more than 11 per cent (forecast) of your total revenue.
Importantly though, the IoT remains a new category that can overwhelm shoppers. Training staff to speak with authority and concentrate on the lifestyle benefits created by the products will transform an unknown category into a staple for your store.