Hardware Retailing

SEP 2016

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | September 2016 88 smart home products. The retail price for a smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector might be $99 and a smart thermostat might be $250. "This is still a nascent category, so the average consumer doesn't automatically understand the benefits of paying a higher price," says Chris Ely, senior manager of industry analysis at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). "It's more than just having a display; you must have a retail staff that can answer questions, and that communication takes a bit of time." It should be no surprise that purchasing a smart home device is not an impulse purchase for most consumers. The Parks study revealed that more than 60 percent of current smart device or system owners spent more than a day shopping for them. Be prepared to spend some time up front explaining these products to shoppers. Then once shoppers understand how the device or ecosystem works, they are likely to need less time for subsequent purchases. Look for Opportunities With Builders More sophisticated smart homes require structured wiring, or specialized wiring and cables to support a whole- house network of home automation. This is one category you can offer to builders looking to install structured wiring in new construction. "This is a great opportunity for retailers to create partnerships with architects, builders and handymen," says Ely. "If you help them in the design phase, they will in turn send their customer, the end-user, to your store to purchase the devices." Focus on Safety, Then Savings Consumers who buy smart home products have several motives, all practical, but safety tops the list. "Security use has been the driver behind smart home adoption," says Brad Russell, research analyst with Parks Associates. "You can think of a hierarchy of use cases leading with security, followed by safety, peace of mind, energy savings and life enhancement." He says manufacturers who offer devices with multiple uses in addition to safety will get the most traction with consumers. " It's more than just having a display; you must have a retail staff that can answer questions, and that communication takes a bit of time. " —Chris Ely, Consumer Technology Association

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