Can you sell the smart home in a small shop?

In a recent ERT Turning Point survey of independent retailers carried out by field marketing agency Gekko, almost one third [29 per cent] of respondents said that lack of space in their showroom was stopping them embracing the smart home as part of their business. We ask some industry experts for their advice on how to display and sell the smart home when space is at a premium

 

 

 

Paul Laville, managing director, T21

Paul Laville, managing director, T21

“If you really wanted to, you’d find the space. It’s not like you need to fit an amphitheatre in your shop. If you’re genuinely struggling, then be creative. Use your shop windows, your shop lighting, security and heating. Turn your actual shop into a smart home to show your customers how it all works.

'Buy an Amazon Echo, download some apps and show customers how you can control your window blinds and lighting. Sell them the magic'

“You barely even need to change your existing products. Start small. If you sell hi-fi speakers, then ditch a loss-making line and replace it with a smarter version. Same with anything – TVs, a washing machine… Do a deal with your suppliers to range a single connected product and plug it into your smart infrastructure.

“Buy an Amazon Echo, download some apps and show customers how you can control your window blinds, your lighting and check on your security using your voice or a mobile app. Sell them the magic.”

 

Daniel Todaro, managing director, Gekko

Daniel Todaro, managing director, Gekko

“One approach doesn’t fit all and each business has to weigh up the approach they want to take. All retailers know that their showroom space is at a premium, and that they need to concentrate their available space on what sells best and what offers the best margins. This is understandable, but the smart home shouldn’t be discarded so easily.

'If you are not prepared to commit to the smart home, but want to try it out, dedicate just a small area of your showroom to the category. See how your customers react'

“Retailers need to experiment with their ranging. If you are not prepared to commit to the smart home, but want to try it out, dedicate just a small area of your showroom to the category. See how your customers react.

“Of course, make sure that any smart-home display is supported, no matter how big or small, with training for your staff. Even if your showroom is strapped for space, having knowledgeable staff members, who can explain the benefits of a smart-home product to customers, makes all the difference.”

 

Paul Hide, director of markets and membership, techUK

Paul Hide, director of markets and membership, techUK

“Overall space constraints are a limiting factor for all retailers. However, a lot of the emerging smart-home technologies and platforms are designed to work with the current sectors of white and brown goods products that retailers already display, so it is possible to promote the connectivity value added benefits within these displays.

'My suggestion would be to look at how to streamline existing product portfolios to make space for the ones that can help secure future revenue and margin'

“I would expect that proactive retailers would look to refocus display priorities over time to allow the promotion of emerging products and services that will provide future revenue streams. My suggestion would be to look at how to streamline existing product portfolios to make space for the ones that can help secure future revenue and margin.”

 

Rob Lawley, managing director, Sevenoaks Sound & Vision

Rob Lawley, managing director, Sevenoaks Sound & Vision

“You need to make space, look at the return on investment of some of the products you are currently giving space to in your stores and do the maths.

“Then ask yourself: ‘does your business require volume or better quality customers?’ We find talking about the smart home delivers us better qualities customers with a higher spend, who return more.”