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    • 06/26/17
    • Technology
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    3 things Connected Consumers want from their smart home

    Whether it’s smart speakers, thermostats or refrigerators, one thing is clear. The much hailed about ‘internet of things’ is slowly but certainly becoming a reality.

    The benefits are obvious for customers – smart homes represent the ultimate in convenience. Back in 2015, Amazon’s Dash button for Tide captured our imaginations by showing us that buying washing detergent need not involve routine, mind-numbing trips to the supermarket.

    Of course, there are other benefits. According to NEST, the company’s programmable thermostats helped customers save between $131 to $145 each year.

    Smart homes benefit businesses too. Other than making products easily available to consumers, it also changes the way brands interact with them.

    In an age where consumers are far less loyal to brands than they used to be, creating a memorable and personalized experience for customers can help one stand out from the clutter.

    Smart homes in Asia – where’s the growth?

    According to a report by the Singapore Business Review, Asia’s smart home market is expected to reach $115 billion by 2030. That’s huge news.

    Globally, smart air conditioners registered sales amounting $42 million in 2016, with Taiwan leading the market share in Asia, followed by Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam demonstrating sizable growth.

    As expected, China, with its exploding middle class and strong manufacturing and tech ecosystem will lead this charge. Japan is the other major player. Not only is it already among the world’s top five global markets when it comes to smart home penetration, its aging population will very likely continue to drive growth with the adoption of smart health and wellness solutions.

    What are some barriers in adoption?

    Despite the vast potential the smart home industry has, there is still some way to go before the technology truly becomes mainstream. In our research, we found that the most common smart device found in homes is still the Smart TV. 17.38 million were sold in Europe alone in 2016, up from merely 5.61 million in 2011.

    In comparison, to date, approximately only 8.2 million people own Amazon Echo unit, a smart speaker connected to Alexa, a voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service which responds to your voice commands, plays music, controls your smart home, and gives you information on news and the weather.

    Why is this the case? Here are three areas where we think the industry can improve on.

    Compatibility

    At present, the proliferation of devices, appliances, manufacturers and retailers in the market is confusing consumers. To make matters worse, not all smart appliances work with one another. That makes the buying experience downright perplexing, especially considering how much these cutting-edge devices cost.

    The solution? We believe that it’s about building the right user experience. We have to deeply examine the user and the marketplace to identify a new set of unmet needs that offer opportunities for customer innovation. In this regard, a concept testing approach will be beneficial as it measures concepts that audiences are likely to embrace, and the extent to which the concept improves their lives, placing emphasis on consumers’ needs. With access to consumers’ emotional reactions such as level of excitement and engagement to the product concept, brands are better equipped to proactively enhance their product aligned to consumer behavior and perceptions.

    Communication

    The benefits of a smart home, and the way it will enhance consumers’ lives, need to be clearly communicated, and adapted to the different needs of each part of the market.

    For instance, when we asked people why they monitored or controlled a smart device in their home, the responses differed greatly by age group. 62% of Boomers chose “To save money by reducing my utility costs” as their main consideration. In contrast, Gen X-ers ranked “To keep my home safe and secure” as their top priority.

    Consumers have individual ways of building up commitment, energy and willingness to act. Therefore, the brands that successfully communicate the affordability of the product, ease of use and the value it brings, often see success in facilitating adoption.

    Concentration

    In our 2017 Tech Trends Report, we found that the older Millennials (Gen Y) are early adopters and leading the charge, with 33% globally planning to purchase smart devices in the next two – three years, compared to 28% of younger Millennials.

    Therefore, instead of targeting indiscriminately, brands need to concentrate their efforts on the segments that matter most.

    Smart devices and the Connected Consumer

    For businesses to successfully utilize the potential of smart home devices, it is first crucial to understand the type of consumers they are targeting.

    We live in the era of what we like to call the ‘Connected Consumer’, and there are three key benefits they seek from brands – freedom, acceleration and intimacy. Simply put, that means:

    • They want brands and businesses to help make their lives simple and convenient. From smartphones to smart homes, they do so with the myriad of devices at their disposal.
    • They have reduced attention spans as compared to their predecessors. That means that simplicity, ease-of-use and a seamless experience is crucial to retaining their interest. More than half (54%) of consumers globally agree that, “If a new technology product is not simple to use, I lose interest.”
    • They expect an experience when they interact with a brand. Using customer and data analytics – possibly collected using smart home devices – businesses that deliver that engagement can generate long-term relationships.

    Hence, it is increasingly crucial for brands to harness current and emerging technologies to deliver personalized experiences and enhance living, thus deepening customer loyalty.

    As smart homes become a reality, the most successful brands will be those that deliver the simple, seamless experience that consumers seek.

    Karthik Venkatakrishnan is Regional Director at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email karthik.venkatakrishnan@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    • 06/21/17
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Get them out to the ball game: How brands can leverage the power of sports fans

    As the summer of 2017 approaches in the US, there’s a veritable buffet for sports fans to enjoy. The Warriors and Penguins have been crowned champions but baseball, soccer, racing, golf and tennis now fill the schedule. I will be a part of the crowds this summer, heading to Connecticut to see the US national soccer team play Ghana, to Citi Field for Mets games, and to Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the US Open.

    It’s also a time of change for sports teams and brands, as multiple sources of entertainment compete for our attention. We have more options to consume sports than ever before. Sports programming on television alone has increased by 160% since 2005, and this does not include the voluminous streaming options from services like ESPN3.

    Fans are also changing how we watch sports, using a mix of devices, and streaming this content now more than ever. GfK Consumer Life has found that one in five sports fans watch live events on their mobile phones (+14 pts from Americans overall). Additionally, sports fans are more likely to own streaming devices like Apple TV or Roku (34%, +10 pts).

    Facing these challenges, sports franchises and brands need to think creatively to keep fans engaged; here are a few ways they can do that:

    1. Emphasize experience. American sports fans want experiences when we show up at the stadium: 63% (+10 pts from Americans overall) agree that “experiences are more important than possessions.” It is the #1 attitude to life among American sports fans.  To keep us interested, ensure that fans have memorable and personalized experiences that reward us for the time we have invested. Recently, the New York Red Bulls hosted an event at ArteVino in Hoboken, NJ, where fans were able to paint pictures and drink wine with some of the MLS team’s players.
    2. Expand the idea of community. American sports fans are joiners: 48% agree that “the groups that I belong to say a lot about me” (+16 pts from America overall). While sports fans spend more time with friends on a weekly basis (4.9 hours vs. 3.5 hours). Staying continuously engaged in this busy world is difficult. Fortunately, sports leagues and franchises can nurture virtual communities with apps to keep fans connected – this makes sense given that sports fans are almost twice as likely as the average American to describe virtual interactions as just as good as in-person ones. The Rooter app was recently released to help connect fans of soccer and Indian online cricket during live events; an American version cannot be far away.
    3. Keep them active. American sports fans don’t just watch sports, we play them. Over half (59%, +35 pts from Americans overall) of fans play sports at least once a week, and 82% exercise just as often (+17 pts). If a team wants to get these fans to come to the stadium more often, a good way to reach them would be to sponsor a 5k race on game day like the NHL’s LA Kings or promote a weekly recreational league in the area. Brands can also align with sports entities that attract those who pursue an active lifestyle. An example of this is Michelob Ultra bringing their brand to active fans by becoming the official beer of the World Surf League.
    4. Tap into fans’ passions. Beer is a mainstay at American tailgate parties, so it’s not surprising that American sports fans are more likely to drink beer on a weekly basis (51% vs. 30% of total). While domestic beer remains popular among American fans, many are turning to craft beer. Nearly a third of the fans who drink beer have craft beer on a weekly basis. Collaborating with local brewers is a new and interesting way to increase the link between a team and its fans. Minnesota United FC of MLS has embraced this idea by working with Surly Brewing in Minneapolis to create the Rising North Pale Ale. Brands can also work to find partnerships that highlight tailgating food. NASCAR and Fox Sports recently teamed up with Allrecipes to create a food-focused social media community where fans can share their favorite tailgate recipes.

    Using these strategies will help to strengthen relationships with sports fans and keep us coming to the stadium or tuning to whatever screen we prefer. By realizing that sports fans aren’t just customers – we can also be a team’s biggest advocate online, at the local sports bar, or in the stands – you can truly leverage the power of this group.

    Adam Swift is a Senior Analyst on the Consumer Life team at GfK. He can be reached at adam.swift@gfk.com.

    • 06/19/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Improving customer loyalty and retail experience through mobile payments

    Eight years ago, Starbucks developed its own app for mobile payments. Today, it’s still held up as the gold standard in the United States.

    In Asia’s rapidly developing market, where mobile payment is eight to nine years ahead of the West, things are quite different.

    In China, you can mobile pay for everything from a cab to a mojito or utility bill. In 2015, WeChat registered more financial transactions in one day than PayPal did during the entire 12 months.

    But it’s not just China that’s adopting the trend. Mobile payment is also making massive inroads in Southeast Asia as shopping apps are gaining popularity. In Singapore alone, there are 30,000 retail points accepting contactless payment methods such as Apple Pay, Android and Samsung Pay.

    In Indonesia, the most populous country in the region with 250 million people, most of the big traditional retailers are unveiling e-commerce plans of their own. In a recent GfK study: The Connected Asian Consumer, consumers in Singapore and Indonesia also reported fairly high usage incidence of shopping apps (37 and 35 percent respectively). This growth is fuelled by affordable smartphones, a massive young and tech-savvy population and efforts by governments and telco operators to expand and improve high-speed wireless networks.

    The future has never been clearer. It’s only a matter of time before mobile payment goes mainstream.

    The Connected Consumer

    Unfortunately for traditional retailers, the age of e-commerce has also produced a new consumer – we like to call them the ‘Connected Consumer’ – and their behaviors are shaping the future of retail.

    In the GfK 2016 FutureBuy survey of 20,000 consumers in 20 markets, it was found that shoppers are becoming less loyal to any one retailer. Almost half (46%) of all consumers (14-65 year olds) stated they were less loyal when shopping. This figure rises among the youngest consumers to 53% of Gen Y (18-29 years), and six in ten (58%) of Gen Z (14-17 years).

    For retailers who understand the Connected Consumer, there are opportunities to stay ahead of the competition – and mobile payments are a huge part of it.

    Customer loyalty

    Despite becoming less loyal, many Connected Consumers expect an omnichanel shopping experience when they interact with a brand. Connected Consumers in APAC seek the best of both worlds.

    For example, shoppers in China are the most likely to embrace omnichannel shopping – seven in 10 (71%) shop both online and in-store while Australian shoppers are the most likely to shun online: almost two thirds (62%) shop exclusively in-store. In contrast, Indians lead the way in online shopping with almost one quarter (23%) shopping the category exclusively online.

    Therefore it is important for retailers to understand the new reality of the omnichannel consumer, and know that the ‘whatever, whenever’ culture demands that user experience is seamless across all devices. If retailers don’t understand this, customers will simply delete their app and move on.

    We predict that mobile payment could halt the current trend for a decline in shopper loyalty. It makes sense, really. There are numerous benefits for shoppers: avoiding queues, centralizing loyalty rewards, checking stock, ordering ahead, enjoying customized offers and easy price comparison.

    At the same time, using customer and data analytics, retailers can receive customer data to offer more personalized services. In turn, this presents an opportunity to generate long-term relationships.

    However, it is important to note that not all Connected Consumers are the same. For example, older consumers aren’t as comfortable with sharing personal information as younger consumers.

    Understanding the shopper’s purchase journey is easier these days with research intelligence offering detailed information on the route shoppers take when making a purchase, and ways in which online and offline touchpoints influence their decisions. We believe that brands that understand, respect and protect consumers’ individual boundaries will deserve the loyalty they earn by doing so.

    As mobile payments continue to grow in APAC, businesses in various sectors such as financial services, cybersecurity and telco stand to gain and can evolve to support the changing landscape.

    For example, for telco operators, engaging with retail merchants and partners can help strengthen the overall service ecosystem to provide better end user experiences for consumers. Additionally, the design and development of payment services can also be integrated with other emerging technologies and competencies to offer differentiation to target audiences.

    Customer experiences

    Loyalty is great, but to really retain customers in today’s omnichannel space, shopping experience is equally important.

    To Connected Consumers, simplicity and convenience is paramount. Not only do they expect everything quickly, they also lose their patience faster.

    What does that mean for retailers?

    For large retailers, mobile payment offers the opportunity to segment and target consumers much more effectively with highly personalized offers and incentives. Discounts and offers can be integrated into mobile payment, replacing the need for physical coupons and entering information into a terminal. Connected Consumers will wave goodbye to the traditional checkout queue and benefit from a wealth of customized rewards.

    Mobile payment also offers a chance for small retailers to move into a new era of retailing. Freed from high transaction fees and with new ways to connect with consumers, small retailers can now embark on the kind of personalization and targeting that is usually the privilege of larger players.

    With e-commerce here to stay, there is plenty of potential for retail businesses to leverage research intelligence to adequately design and develop strategies to target this group of consumers. Essentially, the key to success is to fully understand shopper behavior and be led by what consumers ultimately want, without being blinded by what the technology can do.

    Karthik Venkatakrishnan is Regional Director at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email karthik.venkatakrishnan@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

  • 360° Shopper insights: Identify future consumer needs
    • 06/16/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    360° Shopper insights: Identify future consumer needs

    Watch our video to explore the challenges, opportunities, research and benefits of identifying future consumer needs.

  • 360° Shopper insights: Converting consumers into browsers
    • 06/16/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    360° Shopper insights: Converting consumers into browsers

    Watch our video to discover exactly what it takes to turn consumers into your brand browsers.

  • 360° Shopper insights: Turning browsers into buyers
    • 06/16/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    360° Shopper insights: Turning browsers into buyers

    Watch our video to improve and optimize the conversion rate of brand browsers into your buyers.

  • 360° Shopper insights: Filling the shopping basket
    • 06/16/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    360° Shopper insights: Filling the shopping basket

    Watch our video to maximize your sales and marketing investments by ensuring shopping baskets and carts are filled.

  • 360° Shopper insights: Fine-tuning the pricing and promotion balance
    • 06/16/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    360° Shopper insights: Fine-tuning the pricing and promotion balance

    Watch our video to fine-tune and optimize your cross-channel pricing.

  • 360° Shopper insights: Conquer connected shoppers for retail success
    • 06/16/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    360° Shopper insights: Conquer connected shoppers for retail success

    Meet your consumers’ escalating expectations of convenience, choice, price and experience with our interactive bonus guide. 

  • 360° Shopper insights: Identify future needs of your consumers
    • 06/16/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    360° Shopper insights: Identify future needs of your consumers

    Explore the challenges, opportunities, research and benefits of identifying future consumer needs within our interactive bonus guide.

  • 360° Shopper insights: Convert consumers into your browsers
    • 06/16/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    360° Shopper insights: Convert consumers into your browsers

    Discover exactly what it takes to turn consumers into your brand browsers within our interactive bonus guide.

  • 360° Shopper insights: Turn browsers into your buyers
    • 06/16/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    360° Shopper insights: Turn browsers into your buyers

    Improve and optimize the conversion rate of brand browsers into your buyers with our interactive bonus guide.

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