What Products Are an Entry Point to Smart Homes for Customers?

Posted by Lauren Bell on March 3, 2016 at 5:34 PM

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There are very few things that actually know us. But the things that know us, guide us. Inspire us. Engage us. Allow us to feel victorious and at ease. They can subconsciously change our behaviors, while not flipping our world upside-down. Instead, they enhance it.

Of course, our nearest and dearest human counterparts should make us feel the same way. And there we have it. We’re comparing technology and friends. Scary a bit, huh?

In this era of evolving smart technology and connectivity, what product knows you best? If you could only pick one to keep, who would it be?

Spotify, Mint and FitBit are all examples of brands that have been successful in getting to know our music preferences, spending habits and fitness routines. They have become a critical element in how we manage those aspects of our lives. But they’re silo-ed. Music. Budgets. Fitness. (Or lack thereof…)

When it comes to the home, think about all of the different touch points, products and programs that are currently being sold… All making the same promise: Lower your energy bill. Add control and convenience to your life.

The challenge with the home is that there are so many more options spanning energy, appliances, thermostats, security, lights, TV and entertainment. And it easily begins to spiral into an experience that is not seamless. And then… none of them are used to their full potential.

Customers perceive smart home products to be big investments. They feel more permanent. These are things they don’t want to replace for a long time. Not things they can lease or even really test drive.

But the right product, and the right experience can be a critical entry point that initiates the customer with the desire to automate the rest of their home.

Which smart product is the entry point for consumers into the world of smart homes and living?

I rarely use myself as an example here, but I am currently (subconsciously, until now) in the middle of a smart transformation. All because of a new relationship with a product who really understands me.)

Her name is Trish. And she is utterly extraordinary.

She is my car.

My criteria a couple of months ago when car shopping was:

  • Safe
  • Mid-size
  • Fuel-efficient
  • Last a long time

What did I end up with? A vehicle that allows me to…

  • Set boundaries that she holds me to. (How close I want to get to the car in front me, how far I can veer to the side before she yells at me.)
  • Sync to my phone without me having to do a thing. (Or should I say my phone syncs to her?)
  • Check my fuel gauge from the comfort of my home, helping me plan ahead for early morning commutes or travel.
  • Send destinations to the navigation from my phone. (JOY to the world! No more holding the phone and driving… while Siri says, “Re-routing.”)
  • Never, ever touch my key.

And the key is the best part. No key to unlock the doors. No key to start the ignition. As long as it’s in my bag (somewhere) she recognizes it. And she’s ready to go.

Do you know how hard it can be to rummage through a bag to find a set of keys? The anxiety you get when you think they’re not there. Did you leave them on your desk? Are they at the restaurant from lunch?? Oh good. They’re right here. In the depths of this damn bag.

For me, not having to rummage and dig, is a beautiful gift.

But when I walk up to the front door of my home… The pain comes back. The keys. Where are they?

Trish, my first smart product, has become a gateway for more. I’m switching my cable provider in order to have “HomeLife” services. I want smart locks. I want lights I can turn on and off remotely. I want everything to ping me. Nudging me to make a smarter, safer decision. Forcing me to pay attention to things that would otherwise, go unnoticed.

Cars are a beautiful entry point. But it’s not as complicated as the home. The auto manufacturer has the benefit of owning every piece of the smart puzzle within the vehicle.

But what can we learn from them? And the experience they provide customers?

Is there a partnership or marketing opportunity with customers at entry points outside of your industry?

Let’s explore it, shall we?

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Interested in our latest research-based insights? Get in touch.

Lauren Bell / Engagement Manager / lbell@ksvc.com / 212.366.4000

Topics: Customer-Centric Marketing, Customer Engagement, Customer Insight, communications, connected home, energy efficiency, Energy Wire, Home Improvement, Intelligent Efficiency, IoT, KSV research, marketing, Shopping Experience, Smart Home, smart products

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