It’s an exciting time for the connected home category as sales move beyond entry-level products to more advanced offerings that work together to form a connected ecosystem. Within this ecosystem, products are creating a sense of modernization for consumers—devices are talking back to users and communicating with other devices to make homes more efficient and comfortable than before. This shift translates into big opportunities for retailers, who should be planning for how to consultatively sell products that interconnect, as the smart home category continues to grow. Retailers who select core products that work together and add in the right peripherals can help consumers create a true connected ecosystem. Due to these new possibilities with technology, now is the time for retailers to map out a plan for gaining connected-home market share.
The first step in developing a plan is carefully selecting the right product mix. The technology that works together to create a connected-home ecosystem already exists; it’s just a matter of connecting the dots to bring everything together for consumers. Home security is a starting point for many people, with key products including security cameras, alarm systems, smart locks and video doorbells. Security encryption is also becoming more advanced, which allows consumers to better protect themselves against cyber criminals being able to hack into their home environment. HVAC control, smart lighting and smart appliances add another layer of connectivity and efficiency. Another hot area is smart products that clean the home, such as robotic vacuums that are controlled by a smartphone or tablet. Eventually, these core buys lead up to the purchase of products such as the Google Home or the Amazon Echo. Once voice control comes into play, consumers have a cool chance to experience automation in the home.
Beyond the central products that come to mind when consumers think of a smart home, entertainment is another key area, from home computing to the latest in gaming. Retailers can increase sales simply by educating their customers about how entertainment ties into the connected home. Leading manufacturers are coming out with new TVs and accompanying tablets that let users download or stream directly to the TV, as well as soundbars that tie in with the Amazon Echo or Google Home for easy voice control. In gaming, consoles are serving as the home hub to listen to music and watch TV. Smart remotes also work with voice-control devices to create added efficiency.