Muzzley – Consumer Education For Better Smart Home Sales
Smart home technology is one of the highly publicized areas in the Internet of Things, and while it’s been very popular with early adopters, it may be hitting a wall with everyday consumers.
According to a recent survey by Support.com, 67 percent of potential connected device buyers said the cost to buy, set up and maintain a smart home system is the number one barrier to purchasing connected devices. When a consumer goes to make their first or second purchase of a smart product, they may not see the full value in each device.
The retail space is an opportune platform to use consumer education to overcome several of the below obstacles holding consumers back from complete smart home adoption.
Smart Home Price
Forty-two percent of device owners say their smart home products were too expensive. Pricing is a major aspect to consider when developing consumer-facing technology and a common perception is that the smart home industry is falling short in terms of value.
As of now, there is too drastic of a difference between traditional devices and their connected device equivalents and one of the biggest disconnects in smart home adoption is that the price does not reflect the value. Too many curious smart home shoppers are looking at price tags and weighing product benefits, then deciding it’s not worth the added cost when compared to the devices they already own.
Smart Home Installation
Forty-three percent of potential smart home device buyers said they are concerned about the complexity of installing and configuring their own smart home systems.
We live in a DIY-centric, Pinterest-obsessed world of technology. The everyday consumer doesn’t want to shell out a large amount of money to have to hire an electrician to install their device as soon as they purchase it. While the smart home industry has improved on this front, there are still too many devices with a difficult installation process.
The thought of having to bring in outside help to set up a smart home doesn’t feel very smart to most consumers.
Lack of Understanding
Combined with price and installation, lack of understanding the smart home and its technology is arguably the biggest obstacle standing in the way of consumers adopting the smart home.
When most people purchase their first smart home product, they aren’t getting a full picture of the benefits of that product and its interoperability with other products in the smart home. Apart from an allocated “smart home” section, most retail stores aren’t fully showcasing the abilities of each product they sell, causing consumers to either not purchase their first smart home device or stop after just one.
Most potential buyers also aren’t seeing the full benefits of products in terms of interacting with other devices; they may not purchase a product if they don’t know how it can sync with other technology that exists in their homes.
Muzzley – Smart Home Solutions
Even though we’re losing momentum in the smart home movement, understanding consumer needs is a step in the right direction to solve the problem. At Muzzley, we work with retailers to analyze consumers’ wants and needs and use them to determine customized solutions.
Customizing Each Device
For consumers, there is no “one size fits all” for smart home technology – there needs to be a personalized option in order for them to comprehend how devices can make their lives easier. Muzzley’s smart home app allows consumers to create shared rules between a growing number of devices and brands, and provides smart suggestions unique to each user.
By only suggesting products that are relevant to each consumer depending on their situation (i.e. location, pets, etc.), the company is creating a personalized, seamless experience that shows each user how their smart home devices can work with each other and make it easier to create and enjoy a smart home.
For instance, when you go to buy a Philips Hue lightbulb, you may have a full understanding of the spectrum of colors and timing aspects of the bulb, but how is this product working for you? What is it about this bulb that will turn your home into a smart home?
Setting up your Philips Hue bulb with an app, like Muzzley, could provide you with applicable use cases like setting up your bulb to flash whenever the phone rings so it doesn’t wake your baby, or turn red whenever your home security is compromised.
If consumers knew about these use cases before they actually purchased the product, they would be inclined to acquire more products and create interactions for specific needs.
Overcoming Pricing and Installation
There is also an easy fix for the pricing disconnect that exists within the smart home industry, and although of course lower prices will help (and will come with time), it doesn’t necessarily mean lowering prices. The responsibility lies within the retailers to sell the product with a compelling value proposition. In order to increase sales, retailers should institute an online and in-store process to ensure consumers understand the full usability of their devices.
Stores selling connected devices could have a smart home showcase within each store for potential customers to experiment with devices and see how they work together within the app. Think about shopping for clothes. If you are planning on investing in a pricy, brand-name shirt, you most likely wouldn’t leave the store without trying it on.
The process should be similar for smart home devices, giving consumers a chance to see their full potential and the installation process before they spend the money. Whether it’s an in-store showcase or more detailed product descriptions and video tutorials online, retailers should focus on consumer education.
That is not to say that the shift to consumer education is easy; these showcases and customer support could get costly. They are, however, an investment in the selling experience. Once retailers jumpstart this process, they will start to see the return in increased sales and satisfied customers.
Consumer Education for Increased Sales
Solutions like Muzzley and excellent customer service can help consumers see the value of smart devices and a smarter home, leading to increased sales for retailers. This customer service could span beyond the purchase point and could even include help for the customer once they take the product home.
Manufacturers can help too: When devices come with a complicated installation process, that’s an issue which manufacturers can help address. Of course, consumers are more likely to make a purchase if they know they have a support system available to provide them with instructions, videos and answers.
Apps like Muzzley can help bridge the gap and bring retailers and manufacturers together, allowing them to work together to focus more on educating the consumer. Once shoppers start recognizing the true value of each product, the smart home can move into the mainstream market.
Eduardo Pinheiro is the CEO and co-founder of Muzzley. Pinheiro has more than 15 years of expertise in platform development, and prior to establishing Muzzley in 2013, worked to develop applications such as Findmore, Mobbit systems and TIMwe.
Prior to launching Muzzley, Pinheiro worked with the computer science research center at the Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa where he received a degree in economics, and went on to become a developer in the first Portuguese Linux distribution. Seeing a need for a platform housing all connected devices in one place, Pinheiro and co-founder Domingos Bruges, came up with the idea for Muzzley, allowing users to seamlessly integrate their devices to create an optimal smart environment.
Since launching Muzzley, Pinheiro has been invited to speak at a number of industry events about the role of Muzzley and the smart home, including Creating an Internet of Everything, the CeBIT Global Conference, Sensors Expo and the Smart Home Summit.