Smart homes for retailers: Five things retailers must do to make IoT not about ‘things’

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current articlefrom the IMSResultsCount blog.

The track record of selling IoT devices in stores has been pretty abysmal. It has turned out that IoT is not about selling “things” at all.

One problem is that retailers are stuck in a legacy of merchandising and selling things. Today’s consumers aren’t buying things because they connect to the internet.

The other problem, according to recent surveys, is that four out of five consumers don’t even have an understanding of IoT or the value of owning an IoT device. These findings are remarkable in that most consumers already own devices with IoT capability: smartphones, smart TVs and, most recently, cars.

Here, a few tips for retailers on how to introduce IoT and Smart home systems to shoppers:

The power of stories: When consumers can’t “see” the technology or features, they need to see and hear how it is personally relevant. The benefits of IoT should start online and be told in-store.

Focus on “personal” and “use”: Consumers don’t care so much about what makes it work; they’re interested in what the IoT device does for them — how it makes their life better. If consumers can “see” how they can check if their garage door is open after they leave the house, that is a practical value of IoT and gives them piece of mind while saving a trip.

Let consumers see, touch, feel and “test drive”: We need to see how these devices work, connect and, most importantly, the ease of use. One reason Fitbits are popular is that consumers can put one on for a test drive in store.

Focus on personal value over novelty: A refrigerator that can keep track of its contents is certainly a novelty. But show how an IoT smart home device can send them a text alert if there is an intruder or smoke present — safety concerns of real meaning in their personal life.

Show the “How” – Offer services: Best Buy’s Geek Squad has created a profitable enterprise making technology things work for consumers in their homes. Why not offer similar services for IoT devices designed for “smart homes” and security?

Billions of IoT devices could represent a significant opportunity if retailers can stop selling things, and start helping shoppers buy what fits their lifestyle.

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