It’s hard to believe that we’re already at the start of Q2 this year, but there’s still plenty to think about strategically in the coming months. For the rest of the year, the most important resolve is to learn about the following areas to improve the customer experience and beat out the competition in consumer technology retailing. Here are several technology areas to review and add to your plans for 2022.
1) Understand the products as part of the customer journey.
The need to create a better customer experience for the coming year is a hot topic. With the number of options available for consumers when purchasing technology products, it is up to retailers to set themselves apart from the competitors by not only understanding the technology trends and the products, but also how to provide the best customer journey possible.
Since there are numerous options when it comes to making technology purchases, not only in brands, but also options of where to buy, understanding the products is vital. Understanding the technology being sold and selling it correctly results in happier customers who are less likely to return the product and will come back for future purchases.
Before a technology solution or product is sold to the consumer, it is sold to the retailer, distributor, or technology integrator. They are bombarded with marketing fluff, and the product is simplified to make for an easier sell; the consumers are marketed to in this way as well. Every product is being marketed with sharp images, buzzwords, and carefully curated content. Pay attention to the details and specifications of the products and not just marketing fluff! Take a second and see if there are any exceptions in the product (cable not included) or if it only works in specific situations, before selling. Many manufacturers offer education on their products specifically geared towards the people selling the product, and their websites have specifications available. The key specifications are listed as well and can be great selling points. A quick Google search for product reviews is a terrific way to find pros and cons from other consumers who have used the product. There are also many groups and forums on social media for any type of technology being sold. Go to those forums and learn from the pros who use the tech product daily.
2) Don’t forget about HDMI.
The base of audio and video products is the HDMI cable. It’s a simple solution on the surface but actually quite complex, as HDMI cables have a considerable amount of variety in specifications, cable types, and quality.
With the continuing increase of bandwidth needed for 8K, there is going to be a move to fiber HDMI instead of copper HDMI. When spending money on televisions that boast 8K or better colors, then it is important to move the consumer to purchase fiber HDMI cables. It is electricity versus laser. Traditional copper cables use electricity and have distance limitations. The fiber cables use lasers, which travel faster than electricity. Fiber also does not have to deal with electromagnetic interference (EMI) or radio frequency interference (RFI), therefore greatly reducing attenuation and allowing the cable to run a much greater distance. Blind studies have also shown consumers chose fiber every time for picture quality. They are a bit more expensive but when the time is right, they are worth the price!
3) Remember that Wi-Fi and cell coverage are musts for all homes.
Having slow Wi-Fi or dead zones in a home should no longer be an issue, with the advent of mesh networks. When combined with a good service provider and the right equipment at a home or office, the mesh network provides a consistent Wi-Fi signal. A mesh network router and strategically placed access points provide Wi-Fi signals to areas that do not traditionally get strong Wi-Fi signals – anywhere in the home or office. The mesh network will also maximize the signal to the nodes that are being used most. Eero, Netgear, Ubiquity, and Google Nest all have mesh-network Wi-Fi systems.
Cell phones are a vital part of life for most consumers. Cell phones are more than just phones now; they are extensions of work, connections to family and friends via social media, and another place to watch television, movies, and music. Having stable cell service is important to consumers. Luckily, there are a variety of products on the market just to service this area. WeBoost from Wilson Electronics provides cellular boosters for the home, office, and vehicles. These come in all price points, with many options based on your needs, and they work with all networks on any carrier.
4) Sell outdoor living spaces.
The pandemic continues to stretch on, and while life is trying to get back to normal, consumers are still being more careful. Because of this, outdoor technology products have seen a large rise in sales. Turning a backyard into an outdoor living space can be done with any type of consumer budget, since there are so many options at every price point. Outdoor audio and lighting have come a long way in providing solutions for diverse types of backyards and scenes.
Companies like Phantom Screens turn an attached porch (deck/lanai) into a screened TV area with automated retractable screens; it’s as simple as hitting a button. Seura and Sunbrite produce outdoor televisions in several sizes and are designed for dust, sun, and heat. There are so many options when it comes to weather-resistant speakers, too. Sonance offers several outdoor audio systems that will blend in with any landscaping. Coastal Source provides not only outdoor speaker systems, but lighting as well.
Even a simple waterproof Bluetooth speaker can begin to transform a backyard. With outdoor products and pricing becoming available to all wallets, outdoor living products are an excellent way to bring in additional revenue.
5) Be open to new categories and technologies.
Tech is everywhere and in everything, so it’s easy to get complacent. Make sure to stay open to new areas of technology products. Categories that were once so out of place in CE stores are now completely in that wheelhouse.
The U.S. invested heavily in electric vehicles over the past 10 years and now the electric bicycle is the fastest-growing product in that category. Suitable for most ages, and available in a variety of options for families, terrain, and usage, e-bikes will only continue to grow.
Beauty and wellness is also an area not to shy away from. Men’s grooming products are a category that was worth $53.6 billion in 2020. This category is predicted to hit $74.8 billion by 2028. The growth is due to a push in tech-driven innovations over the last couple of years. BIC has been working on the BIC Smart Shaver. The shaver is an AI-powered razor that gathers data about the user’s shave. Everything from hair thickness, water temperature, blade maintenance, and suggestions for better shaves is sent via Bluetooth to the app, ideally creating a better shaving experience. It’s powered by The Next BIC Thing, (introduced at CES in 2020), which is a platform to connect consumers with their innovation and research and development processes.
And lastly, don’t forget all the smart appliances! Schott has gone to market with a smart stovetop. The Ceran stovetop features stunning lighting solutions for the kitchen. Integrated into the product, the lighting is the icing on the cake in this unique stovetop. Everything in the kitchen is now available with a smart solution built in. Microwaves, toasters, blenders, refrigerators, and even trashcans are available as smart products.