Introducing the internet of ‘things I actually care about’
When it comes to smart home, some ideas have started to trickle into our hearts and homes. A new report from TechUK shows 77% of consumers are aware of connected technology. And device ownership is on the rise, with 80% of UK households now owning at least one smart home product.
But it’s down to brands to find out what really motivates us and join the dots between that and the technology. Not to mention between the products themselves.
A crucial home truth
As salespeople, we know emotion is 24 x more persuasive than reason. It stimulates the mind 3,000 times more than rational thought.
And nowhere is as emotive as home – as a physical space and as a social idea. It’s the centre of our world (some of our favourite people even live there). A sanctuary, a playground and a door we get to close on any daily chaos we come across. Which might explain why 1 in 4 Brits admits to continually redecorating their place. There’s nowhere quite so important.
Too much smart, not enough home?
With that in mind, you’d think a category called smart home, would sell itself. And yet…
One in three consumers remain on the fence about the smart home revolution. Even when it comes to the fun stuff like home entertainment or saving money on energy costs, where appeal sits above 40%. For most of us, operation smart home still feels a bit out of reach. And – unlike moving to Italy or working a 3-day week – ‘going smart’ isn’t as aspirational as it might be.
So, what do paint retailers understand that tech companies don’t?
First, let’s run through a few key reasonable barriers standing in the way of Total Tech Utopia (TTU):
39% of Brits are concerned about the cost of smart home
Making your home smarter involves many products, none of them cheap. And even though the cost of devices is becoming more affordable, many consumers question the value of a big smart home spend.
22% are concerned about the privacy and security of smart devices
We’ve all seen the high-profile hacks in the news. And we fear corporations knowing too much about us; using smart devices to bank data on our lives that we never offered up. A concern not based on Black Mirror-esque fantasy alone. A recent survey by Which? revealed 8 out of 15 tested smart home devices contained at least one security flaw. Yikes.
16% of Brits are put off by devices that work across different systems
Until recently, brands have acted as islands. Treating their own tech products and operating systems as gospel. Which is great for corporate profit margins, bad for usability and consumer satisfaction. We want to mix and match what we buy and for it to all work together. Thankfully, voice controlled smart hubs (“Alexa, turn the lights on”) are helping to create connections room to room, device to device, person to person.
Despite these barriers, the appeal of smart home devices is growing. Today, 39% of people agree connected home technology offers an attractive proposition. An increase of 10% from 2016.
Selling smart: recommendation #1
If you’re going to sell smart tech, you’re going to need to be human about it. Only 10% of Brits claim to ‘know a lot’ about smart home technology. And no one likes to feel stupid.
Brands need to demystify products in plain speak. Online, in advertising and in person. Lead with tangible benefits. Always put people, their homes and their personal concerns first. Gadgets and fancy features second. And only sell hard when you can show how tech will make real contributions to someone’s life, with very little effort and no routine upheaval at all.
What’s in it for them? Why do they need it? Will it make their life easier, more convenient, simpler?
…Then tell them precisely how.
Store staff are crucial in turning abstract concepts into handy everyday tools that make home life more fun, less faff. So be sure to put your people at the heart of everything smart you do.
Selling smart: recommendation #2
51% of people interested in connected devices say they are more likely to buy if they can demo them first. In-store demonstrations break down consumer barriers with personal service and real-time experiences.
A model example of this is the dedicated smart home space in John Lewis on Oxford Street. Visitors wander room to room, seeing connected home devices in situ. Using them as they would in their own kitchens and bedrooms. The technology becomes both aspirational and attainable all at once.
So, consider giving your products a showroom. A changing room in which consumers transform from ambivalent into I-can’t-wait-to-get-this-thing-home.
Then let’s close this conversion gap together.
It’s time to bring smart innovation home.