There also are competing and incompatible formats, systems and hardware in smart home technology. Some are do-it-yourself products with limited features compared with full-fledged custom installed systems and everything in between. This can be a stumbling block but also an opportunity for astute retailers and custom installers to explain, sell and service.
The Nationwide Marketing Group, the $18.5 billion marketing and merchandising retail group representing more than 5,300 independent appliance, electronics and furniture dealers operating some 14,000 storefronts, partnered with Nest and Google in 2017 in an exclusive program.
Doug Wrede, consumer electronics director of Nationwide, said “The connected home is already growing in double-digits, year-over-year, in revenue.”
During its PrimeTime convention last summer, Nationwide built a “connected home room” explaining to its retail members how to demonstrate Nest-compatible outdoor cameras, lighting systems, Wi-Fi hub, thermostats and security systems to homeowners.
Because most of Nationwide’s retail sales are in major appliances, these suppliers are “embracing connected home in its early stages,” Wrede said. That should give electronics/appliance dealers a step-up since smart home technology “will be integrated in more and more of these appliances.”
ProSource is the national buying group of more than 500 specialty electronics retailers and custom integrators with sales of more than $4.5 billion. Dave Workman, CEO and president of ProSource says the group’s traditional expertise with installing and explaining new technologies to consumers — whether they are specialty retailers or custom integrators (CI) — makes smart home an area that it can capitalize on.
“For the average consumer it is one thing to change a thermostat with a do-it-yourself [product].” But with all of the products that encompass smart home technology, their customers want more than one smart home device. “We cater to the CI market and want to provide solutions. Fellow members in its affiliated BrandSource group, which consists of traditional electronics/appliance dealers can “partner with us.”
Richard Glikes, who heads Azione Unlimited, a group of CI businesses, said that while many traditional retailers will capitalize on smart home technology, he believes installers and retailers should not become complacent since, “Amazon, Google and Apple will flex their muscles and that will be the next thing we have to adapt to.”
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