Tag Archives: smart

Here comes the sun

It may seem a long way ahead, but that well-earned summer break is right around the corner for many, and they’ll be needing some accessories to make that holiday memorable, practical and relaxed.

Put yourself in the flip-flops of another and think about the gadgets you like to take away with you. Translate that into a range of products your customers may benefit from and avoid those pricey, last-minute airport purchases.

Portable speakers are a key area for the summer season and an opportunity to sell. Think beach holidays, parties or barbecues in the garden. Consumers will head outdoors when the weather warms up, and require some entertainment.

Portable speakers from brands such as Jabra and Libratone make a perfect accessory for outdoor living, with Bluetooth connectivity allowing anyone to connect their phone and play their music via Deezer, Spotify or Google Play. Use this feature as part of the demonstration by encouraging shoppers to connect their own device to hear the quality and see the ease of use. Make sure that your staff know how to connect to the speaker and can speak confidently about its features, such as battery life.

Staying with audio, headphones are another accessory many shoppers may be looking to upgrade at this time of the year. Whether purchasing some travel headphones to make flying more enjoyable, from the likes of Sennheiser, or perhaps some sports headphones from Monster or B&W for running in the sun, shoppers will want to see a good range with demo units that they can actually hear playing.

Set up a ‘play table’ in-store, allowing shoppers to try out a variety of headphones. Connect them to a music player to let shoppers hear the quality of the sound. Although not for audiophiles, consumers still want to know they’re getting a quality product before they decide to purchase.

Train your staff to use their questioning skills when speaking to customers looking to buy an audio product, especially headphones. What are they using them for? What type of music do they like? Do they want over-ear or in-ear? What device are they using to play music? All these questions can tailor the shopping experience and make sure each customer gets the right product for them.

With recent news suggesting tablets and laptops will need to be kept in your hold luggage this summer, shoppers will looking for something to protect their gadgets. Think about your range of laptop bags and tablet cases. Does your ranging include heavy-duty cases, from brands such as CAT and Griffin, that will survive a long-distance flight? Shoppers will be heading into store to find these products, so it’s up to you to offer them the advice they need.

When demonstrating a case, don’t drop a device on the floor, as that may lead to disaster. Instead, make sure your staff can communicate the benefits of a case to a customer, explaining the materials used and build quality, and how these will ensure the safety of the customer’s tablet, phone or laptop.

In addition, add other accessories to the conversation such as Tile – a tracker that allows your device to be found anywhere in the world if lost. Shoppers looking to take their devices abroad with them will want the peace of mind that they are safe and secure – offer your customers this solution with a conversation and demonstration.

Another area to consider is home security. Everyone fears leaving their house for weeks at a time, some more than others, and asking a neighbour to look after things while you are away may not be an option.

Now with innovations in the smart home, this fear can be reduced by keeping track of our homes from any smart device. Consider ranging smart security products such as the Ring video doorbell, which allows users to answer their door and speak to visitors from anywhere in the world through their smartphone.

Likewise, smart plugs from the likes of Hive and smart light bulbs like the Philips Hue can give consumers the peace of mind that their homes appear occupied. Both allow users to control their lighting and appliances from their mobile, giving them total control of their home from any location.

If you’re speaking to a customer who’s inquiring about the smart home, explain the benefits of controlling their home from their smart device. The added security benefits are a huge selling point, and are something you can easily demonstrate by installing some demo models on a lamp or similar appliance in-store. And make the point that these smart home innovations can save them money on heating and electricity bills all year long.

There are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the holiday season. Shoppers will be looking for last-minute items before they travel. Make your store look the part with seasonal p-o-s and displays, encouraging shoppers to head inside to find that perfect, competitively-priced accessory, purchasing a well-chosen product from your store rather than hastily at the airport.

 

Read more at: http://www.ertonline.co.uk/opinion/here-comes-the-sun/

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The ‘C’ word

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Now, your grandmother may not like it, but connected viewing and content are changing the way we watch entertainment, and changing the shape of traditional broadcasting as we know it.

We, as consumers, like to time-shift our TV viewing. No, not like the famous Quantum Leap, but watching what we want when it’s convenient for us to do so.

In May, 13.7 per cent of all TV was watched time-shifted via a catch-up service, up from 6.9 per cent in 2010. This percentage will most certainly continue to grow as more consumers make use of connected services.

With the increase of streaming options and greater bandwidth from our broadband providers, there are many options for consumers to watch their favourite shows that don’t involve a TV, not forgetting very smart services like Freeview Play and Sky Q.

We love streaming on the go and away from the traditional living room setting, with 32 per cent of total viewing time being done through streaming on a device other than a TV. That’s 11,221,204 hours a week in the UK.

We will stream anything it would seem, with four episodes of EastEnders topping a recent catch-up list. What we seem to avoid watching on catch-up and make an effort with is appointment TV, for example live sporting events, which meant sport did not break the top 50 of time-shifted programming. Rather, sports topped the live streaming list, with consumers looking to watch the match with everyone else rather than catch up later.

On top of live streaming and catch-up services, some smart TVs and streaming devices also give easy access to TV and film streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Quality productions such as Orange is the New Black, which costs nearly $4 million an episode to produce, and House of Cards, costing slightly more at $4.5m, have meant that paying to stream is an acceptable proposition. Netflix will spend $5 billion on programming in 2016 – this is on a par with traditional broadcasters such as Fox Networks, and higher than CBS.

Quality, and the ability to be more risqué, is paying off for the non-traditional content producers. They are new, credible and serious players, mixing up the way we consume drama, and now also factual TV.

With Netflix boasting 81 million subscribers in its quarterly earnings report, it’s easy to understand how connected content and the ability to view via multiple devices is again changing the face of broadcasting and how we consume TV. With the BBC license coming in at an exceptionally good value, £145.50 a year, it’s a lot of high-quality media on many platforms to even consider it expensive. But, with Netflix averaging £89.88 and Amazon Prime £79 a year, it’s got tough competition from all angles, Government included.

Grandma might be happy with her old terrestrial channels, but many consumers will be looking to access all this amazing content by upgrading to a new smart TV or other connected device. For your store, connected services are the perfect USP to sell these new products – smart TVs are rapidly becoming the base level for the category, much like HD is now. What’s important is reassuring consumers that these services will enhance their viewing experience, not hinder it with difficult-to-use software or hidden charges.

Have a smart TV set up in your store with a live aerial feed and internet connection ready for your staff to demo. Let interested shoppers interact and play with the TV, letting them explore the features and benefits of streaming and catch-up services, demonstrating their ease of use and accessibility to free terrestrial catch up or paid for content. With GfK estimating that over five million 4K TVs will be sold in the UK by the end of 2017, smart TV is complementing UHD in equal measure.

With demand services making up four per cent of TV viewing for all ages, and more than doubling to 8.7 per cent among the same 16 to 24 age group, it’s understandable that Amazon can afford to spend $4m per episode on The Grand Tour, and Netflix’s market capitalisation is now $42.3 billion.

If you aren’t offering streaming devices and content cards like Google Play, you aren’t giving your customers, of all ages, what they want and are potentially missing out on an opportunity to increase your margin.

 

Read more at: http://ertonline.co.uk/opinion/the-c-word/

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The top 5 wearable technology gadgets in 2014

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Wearable tech is already one of this year’s hottest trends. Are you dressed to thrill?

If the headlines dominated by the latest and greatest smart watches and activity trackers following last month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas are anything to go by, 2014 is set to be the year of wearable tech. Wearable technology is changing the way we communicate, exercise, socialise; and in many ways is enhancing the way our society operates. From fitness-tracking bracelets to smart ski goggles, Daniel Todaro, MD at field marketing agency Gekko, writes for us about the five wearable tech gadgets of this year that you would be happy to wear and use…

1.Fitbit Force

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Fitbit Force, the latest standout offering from Fitbit, is a hyper designed and developed wearable fitness tracker. The subtle wristband displays daily stats, steps taken, calories burned, distance travelled as well as allowing the users to easily log food intake, sleep patterns, and even health information like glucose levels and blood pressure. The device can also easily be synced with a smartphone app or through a wireless dongle for PCs.

Expected to go on sale in the UK in the spring, we can expect the Fitbit Force to fly off the shelves.

2.Pebble Watch & Steel
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Launched towards the end of last year in the UK, the Pebble has gained a large following in a relatively short space of time.

This waterproof smartwatch is designed to display messages from an iOS or Android smartphone and can send users notifications when they receive an email. Simple and stylish, the Pebble can be purchased in red, orange, black or grey, and comes with a removable 22mm watch strap. Alternatively the Steel is a great-looking wristwatch with top-end construction.

With an impressively long battery life and easy-to-use buttons, I suspect both Pebble variants will be huge in 2014.

3.iWallet
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Perhaps one for the most security conscious out there, iWallet is a revolutionary biometric locking wallet that protects personal information, cash and cards using the latest cutting edge technology.

What’s the standout feature? If the user’s iWallet and smartphone are more than 10 -15 feet apart, the phone will sound. Pickpockets beware.

4.Epson Moverio BT-100 smart glasses
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Another potential game-changer on the market, with transparent lenses and Wi-Fi connectivity, these smart glasses allow you to update your social network accounts, catch up on the latest news and watch videos online while still being able to see your surroundings. With the Android™ 2.2 platform and a 4GB SD memory card, you can choose from a whole host of viewing options, such as MPEG 4 and H.264 videos, to watch content wherever you want.

The smart glasses offer a big-screen experience equivalent to a 320-inch display viewed from 20 metres away. The ‘control-at-your-fingertips’ touch-sensitive track pad means you can effortlessly navigate between menus and find exactly what you’re looking for.

This is the perfect hands-free alternative to small smartphone and tablet PC screens.

5. Oakley Airwave Ski Goggles
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These ski goggles allow gadget-obsessed skiers and competitive adrenaline junkies to stay connected on the slopes. Sitting at the bottom of the left goggle lens, the technology senses and shows a range of speed and distance metric notifications, including buddy tracking, navigation, music and iOS/Android smartphone synching so you can view incoming calls and text messages with low energy Bluetooth connectivity.

Packaged with everything you expect from Oakley, the goggles include anti-fog technology, dual-vented lens designed to keep vision clear, 100 percent UV filters and Iridium lens coatings to to balance light transmission.

Daniel Todaro, MD at field marketing agency Gekko

Read the full article at http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/business-news/tech/the-top-10-wearable-technology-gadgets-in-2014/7519.article

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