Have a techie New Year

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Oh no, it’s happened again. The peak sales period is upon us and while consumers are getting over Black Friday and preparing for Christmas, retailers will be trying to predict the big sellers for 2016.

The next phase of growth is going to come from the Internet of Things (IoT), which is only going to be more relevant and significant in our lives as we all become even more connected.

The retail landscape is evolving and the need to be current in your ranging is as important as the service and experience you provide.

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Kitchen tech is continuing to battle for space on our worksurfaces and in the lead we still have blenders. This trend is sure to continue into the New Year, with the Nutribullet, Magimix and Nutri Ninja taking breakfast by storm for millions of smoothie lovers. Health blenders are a fantastic gift for any health-conscious individual looking to lose a pinch after all that Christmas feasting. John Lewis on Oxford Street sold an average 100 health juicers a day during ‘peak’ in 2014.

Streaming

Music streaming and multi-room speaker devices are expected to be a huge hit, with innovative products like Google’s Chromecast Audio streaming music from your smartphone, tablet, Chromebook or PC to any speaker in your home.

Likewise, multi-room speaker systems from Sonos will continue to be popular, but don’t forget alternative solutions from Bose and LG.

A perfect gift for audiophiles, music streaming is becoming mainstream with physical music now a collector’s pastime. Take the opportunity to attach sales of streaming devices to non-connected speakers, or upsell to a future-ready connected speaker system. Sales of connected audio devices such as soundbars, wireless speakers, headphones, etc, are expected to increase to 267 million units in 2018, up from 58m in 2014.

Multimedia

Streaming devices turn any screen into a multimedia centre and the leader of the pack is by far Google Chromecast and Chromecast Audio, both the easiest sale you’ll ever make – only £30 to turn any TV with an HDMI port into a smart TV. The original Chromecast sold over 20m units, so expect the updated model to sell even more. Other streaming devices, such as Now TV, allow users to purchase one-time subscriptions to premium channels, meaning they can watch the Boxing Day football on Sky without having to pay for an expensive box and subscription.

However, if users prefer not to pay for content, it’s no longer necessary to have an expensive subscription service as they can now have Freeview Play built into Panasonic TVs or upgrade any TV with a Humax set-top box.

Home tech

Smart home solutions are an inexpensive and practical gift for many and connected security cameras are fast becoming an IoT mainstay. Coming in from around £50, a smart security device, such as a connected doorbell or camera to monitor your house and pets remotely, would make a good addition to any home. Brands to look at include Motorola and Belkin.

With a cold winter in prospect, a smart thermostat can give homeowners complete control over their heating, wherever they are using their smartphone. Hive’s newest smart thermostat is a stylish statement for the home, with its unique design adding to its great practical features and fantastic app.

Appliances

Sales of smart devices are expected to explode over the next five years, so it’s no surprise to see brands across the home appliances spectrum, including Hoover, LG, Samsung and Whirlpool, investing in connected appliances.

Smart appliances from the likes of LG can also be integrated with existing smart thermostats, monitoring activity and setting appliances to switch on or change setting automatically when it deems best for a family’s lifestyle.

Retailers can get ahead of the curve, offering shoppers a connected product that will integrate with their existing smart devices and, more importantly, IoT products they are perhaps likely to purchase in years to come.

Wearables

Fitness wearables and smartwatches show no sign of abating, with sales of fitness gadgets having increased by 900 per cent over the past year, according to Dixons Carphone.

The New Year is a time when people’s thoughts turn to getting fit, and fitness wearables such as the Fitbit Charge HR are packed full of features.

A great way to sell the benefits of fitness wearables is to give them to staff to wear on the shopfloor. Linking the devices to their own smartphone will also help them to demonstrate the features.

Across every category, there is innovation to suit all pockets. Show your consumers how these innovative products work together, not as separate products. Do them justice and show your customers what the IoT is all about and how great it can be.

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