Tag Archives: tech

Smart staff for a smart sale

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The smart home has arrived, the Internet of Things is gradually making its way into everything from kitchen appliances to thermostats, and you’ll soon be able to control most things in your house from your phone.

The global market for smart-home appliances is expected to be worth $38.35 billion (£28.9bn) by 2020, and is only expected to grow further as our homes become more and more ‘connected’.

In the UK, sales of smart-home technology have increased by 81 per cent year on year, according to John Lewis. Although 66 per cent of UK consumers agree that the smart home is an appealing concept, many retailers are experiencing problems when trying to train their staff to sell this category, which presents some major challenges.

Despite technologically aware customers showing interest, there is still a lower level of demand for smart-home products over conventional ones, meaning that sales staff have limited opportunities to talk ‘smart home’. In some cases, this leads to apathy when it comes to investing time into training. This is not helped by the fact that many staff still believe that this type of technology is the future rather than the present.

It is critical that sales staff understand that they need to educate themselves and develop an interest in this emerging category.

As predicted, virtually all products will become connected over the coming years, so any purchase of a smart product is a safe bet for the future. With 3,427 smart products on the market (from 439 brands) – an increase of 61 per cent – the market is growing.

Another major challenge for retailers is that many consumers struggle to understand the concept of the smart home and its benefits. A quarter of UK consumers cite a ‘lack of knowledge’ as their main reason for not purchasing a smart-home product. Many customers, once given an explanation, understand how the smart home works, but still struggle to see how it will improve or enrich their lifestyle.

Staff need to be trained on how to sell the benefits of the smart home, giving shoppers some context as to how the technology may fit into their lives. A lack of hands-on experience with smart-home products means it is hard for store staff to explain the real-life uses for this technology. It’s no coincidence that higher sales come from those staff that own the product, as they are able to give practical examples of how the connected home has benefited them.

To overcome these barriers, it is perhaps helpful for retailers to move away from selling the ‘technology’ itself and instead outline for customers how the tech interacts with their lifestyle and delivers real, tangible benefits.

Sales personnel should ask more pertinent questions of the customer to establish their wants and needs in order to demonstrate the relevant connected-home product that will enhance and improve their life.

Currently, sales colleagues tend to focus too much on the broadband internet connection, app or other technology involved, which for many shoppers, while essential to know, is still a baffling science and serves to create unnecessary confusion.

A change in approach is vital for retailers to sell the smart home – focus on the benefits rather than the technology itself. Early adopters already understand the technology, but if these products are going to become truly mass-market, it is necessary to make the category simple and relevant to every consumer.

The smart-home landscape is changing as it becomes more sophisticated and reliable. More products will be smart-enabled, as demonstrated by SoftBank with its recent purchase of semiconductor IP company Arm Holdings.

IFA 2016 will without doubt exhibit significantly more innovation from more brands for the smart category. It’s the brave that will survive in this ever-changing market.

 

Read more at http://ertonline.co.uk/opinion/smart-staff-for-a-smart-sale/

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Smart Move

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The connected home is now reality, not a fantasy. The global market for smart-home appliances is expected to be worth $38.35 billion by 2020, and will only grow as demand and consumer interest in smart appliances increases. Shoppers will be looking for smarter appliances, but these can be balanced with regular models depending on a consumer’s desire to have some or all of their devices connected.

Some categories are clearly just jumping on the bandwagon, such as a connected SDA, which is in most cases an expensive and underused version of a regular appliance.Yet when considering the connected home from a long-term financial and time-efficiency perspective, some are valid purchases, once you’ve weighed up the cost against its potential long-term worth. Many of these domestic appliance products are, however, costly and there’s a good chance that if you could afford a kitchen and utility room full of connected devices, you’re perhaps not going to be the one cleaning or cooking and directly using the connected devices.

For retailers, the margins on smart appliances are evident, however this must be weighed up against unit sales, which may mean a lower margin than your bread-and-butter range could achieve if it were occupying the same space in your store. While the investment in ranging smart appliances may not be attractive at the moment, remember that sales in John Lewis stores in the smart-home category increased by 81 per cent year on year from 2014 to 2015. This is a growing trend that will likely spread to independent retailers, as smart appliances become increasingly more mainstream.

Having a select range of smart appliances gives your store an aspirational product and proposition for shoppers to consider when looking for a new washing machine or fridge. It’s worth considering that many shoppers looking to purchase a new appliance are doing so as a ‘distress purchase’. These consumers will be looking for a reliable device, not necessarily one with smart features.

However, a demonstration from a knowledgeable staff member connected via a tablet or smartphone, to explain the benefits of the smart system, may persuade many shoppers to purchase for the long-term benefits. These include compatibility with future smart appliances they may add to their home.

My advice is to pepper your range with connected devices, but don’t forget the mass-market appeal of traditional appliances and offer choice at all price points and functionality.

Read more at http://ertonline.co.uk/opinion/smart-move/

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Wearable tech would benefit from an haute couture approach

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Figures from CCS Insight suggest that sales of smart wearable devices are going to rocket from 9.7m last year to 135m in 2018. This is predicted to include 68m smart watches and 50m smart bands. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the figures will prove accurate, though the claims don’t seem especially well-supported as there’s a lot that has to change between now and then if this massive boost in smart wearables is going to happen.

Primarily, the creators of smart wearable tech need to ensure they’re actively catering to a key market when it comes to setting trends, the fashion industry.

Consumers who are not only willing but able to spend £2k, £5k or £10k on a watch or an item of jewellery are the trendsetting future of wearable tech. If the fashion industry, and women in particular, are offered a wide range of high-end wearable tech in a variety of styles to choose from, the trend might really take off with all and not just those interested in tech. Yet at present many of these devices are for some aesthetically unappealing. If a consumer is offered a beautiful smart watch from an established luxury brand like Tag Heaur, Omega, Rolex etc, which has the desirability of a traditional high-end watch but with the extra functionality of a smart device, then perhaps wearable tech has a chance of really catching on as indicated.

It’s not unimaginable that eventually these high-end brands and fashion groups like LVMH will start having greater involvement in hardware, and not just the casing and accessories of smart tech. A Tiffany smart bracelet isn’t as far-fetched an idea as it might first seem. Once we reach a point where there’s a range of quality smart products to wear and match with what we’re wearing, how we’re feeling, or what we’re doing that day, then consumers will really get behind the idea. One day in the not too distant future it might be that someone going for a run puts on their hardy GPS smart wristband, before changing to go to a gig and putting on their more stylish smart watch. The possibilities of wearable tech are endless, but until the technology is more widely adopted by consumers, the tech giants and brands aren’t going to feel confident enough to invest in it.

Ultimately it may well take a greater push by Google with its Google Glass or a brand leader like Fitbit to get us to the tipping point where wearable tech is the norm. There are voices in the industry saying it’ll never take off because of privacy concerns; we must remember similar arguments were made when the internet was opened to mass consumer use. This is no time to be technologically impotent. The fact remains that with the phenomenal potential of wearable tech, demonstrated by Google Glass, to make our day-to-day lives more efficient and enjoyable, it is the future. It might take two or three years to truly establish itself, but the moment when mainstream and luxury brands fashion brands get on board with it, we’ll know the age of wearable tech has truly arrived.

 

Read more at – http://wallblog.co.uk/2014/08/20/wearable-tech-would-benefit-from-an-haute-couture-approach/

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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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Top 7 tech gadgets to gift this Christmas

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From health gadgets to espresso machines, we present the festive hot list 2013

Brits now spend £9bn on new tech devices each year, carrying around £22bn worth of gear around with them. Preparations for the Christmas rush are under way and all but the most-forward thinking of consumers is beginning to think about what to buy. You’ll already be getting bombarded with glamorous retailer ads with annoying tunes. For those who will struggle to buy that gift for the busy business-driven loved one in your life, here are my top seven recommendations which will spread joy beyond any advert or celebrity endorsement.

1. Fitbit Flex
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This is the ideal gift for any healthy-minded individual. This bit of kit learns your daily activity, calories burned, your sleeping patterns and weight. It is lightweight and very comfortable and all you have to do is upload wirelessly and see progress on your mobile or online.

2. iPhone 5S
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Of course there has got to be an Apple product in this list! The beautifully designed iPhone 5S looks like the iPhone 5, but goes so much further under the hood. It has a new finger print identity sensor, 64-bit A7 chip, faster and better iSight camera and ultrafast LTE wireless.

3. Panasonic NC-ZA1 Bean-to-Cup Espresso Machine
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This compact and stylishly designed machine fits into any kitchen and will impress discerning coffee connoisseurs with its state of the art technology. A decent coffee to start the day is a must and the new Panasonic NC-ZA1 Bean-to-Cup delivers a personalised cup, just to your taste as it’s delivered through the easy touch screen function.

4. Eastpak Gybbs bag
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Perfect for storing all your gadgets in one stylish but hardy bag. It is roomy and is available in lots of on trend colours to suit smart or casual dress.

5. Toshiba Portégé Z930 Ultrabook

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Ultra light at 1.1kg and thin at 8.3 mm, it delivers with an Intel Core i5 processor, 128GB SSD, HD Graphics, non-reflective display. The steel grey metallic, magnesium chassis and matt black keyboard makes it a stylish gift. The perfect business tool and leisure too, portable and fast.

6.Samsung UE55F9000 LED 4K Ultra HD TV
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This is arguably the world’s most advanced Smart TV system and probably one of the year’s most exciting and eagerly awaited TVs. A 4k ultra HD 3D Smart TV with built in Freeview HD gives you viewing choices shaped around your viewing needs. It is clever enough to recognise your face and voice, it has gesture control and upscales your content to four times the resolution of Full HD. It is the first UHD TV that upscales HD 3D content to a UHD resolution.

7. Epson Expression Premium XP610
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The Expression XP-610 Small-In-One Wi-Fi is a premium printer, perfect for home users who are interested in printing photos and need a Wi-Fi printer that can print glossy photos and crisp, clear text documents. It has touchscreen control that will do your document printing as well as any scanning and copying you need too. What’s more is that there are two loading trays so that you don’t have to keep switching between photo and plain papers. It works from your iPhone too with Epson iPrint sending prints directly from your phone.

Gifts for all pockets that any tech aficionado will know all about and perhaps wish for.

Dan Todaro is the MD of field marketing agency Gekko

Read the full article at http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/top-7-tech-gadgets-to-gift-this-christmas/6858.article

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