Smart Home Technology and the Future of Shopping

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A recent survey on the Internet of Things conducted by Retail Perceptions made some interesting connections between smart home technology and shopping habits. Since today’s consumers are always ‘connected’ through one device or another – their cell phones, their wearable tech, their digital assistant – they can basically always send and receive data and information. With digital home assistants like the Amazon Echo and Google Home becoming mainstream, retailers are trying to figure out how to capitalize on this technology by incorporating shopping skills.

This is a good move for them to make, since the Retail Perceptions survey found that 70% of shoppers can overlook the fear of sharing their personal information because using smart products is so convenient. With more and more hacks occurring more and more often, it’s interesting that consumers choose convenience over security. This doesn’t mean that companies can slack on their security, but it is telling to see that consumers are ready to move forward with convenient technology.

The survey also found that out what consumers are willing to share. Topping out that list is their online search history – which we know translates to retargeting and other types of advertising on their devices. Someone’s search history is one of the most telling things about them – and there are even several jokes about people that are dying asking for their search history to be deleted. The search history represents unspent, untapped shopping, so it’s like a gold mine for retailers. Yet, they are willing to share this information to make shopping more convenient. A close second is purchase history, which ties in with search history, but represents an opportunity for retailers to encourage repeat purchase and upsell. Current location also made the list, which means that highly-targeted advertising can be used on mobile devices and digital home assistants.

So, consumers are willing to share information about themselves and their purchasing habits with smart home and smart technology devices, but that is only good news if they are also using these devices. Well, of course they are. In fact, the survey found that 55% of shoppers are already connected to the Internet of Things and 79% say they plan to purchase smart products in the next 2 years. Even better, 65% of these users seem to be power users, owning and connecting up to three devices each. Consumers also seem to be open to having their smart devices help them shop, with 55% saying it’s cool if their devices alert them when their home products are running low, and 14% saying they want their devices to be able to reorder products for them automatically when they run out. This is something that can be used extensively with smart products like the Amazon Echo.

Right now, the top uses for smart products does not include shopping. Instead, included are common tasks like turning off lights, home security, and adjusting thermostats. However, it sounds like consumers are primed to have their smart home technology act as a shopping resource in the near future.

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Julie is totally technology driven. She is an early adapter, getting the newest devices first and loves seeing how they work. She is the first one called when her friends need help setting up networks, new computer systems, printers and cool home automation devices. She loves being the token "dork" in her group of friends.

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