Breaking Down Smart Home Barriers

OUTFORM Industry Trends

The consumer decision journey is no longer linear and includes multiple touch points that span on and offline. Brands and retailers need to remain present and active across search, shop, and share to support consumers as they discover, validate, experience and adopt the smart home category.

A challenge for smart home brands is to demonstrate the benefits of the technology and how the devices can work seamlessly together to make life easier. It’s something that consumers need to try. Once they’ve experienced the products first-hand, they get it and they will be converted to purchase not just one, but potentially multiple devices.

For 39% of shoppers, the journey begins on a mobile device with 64% of them completing their purchase in store. So, it has never been more important for retailers and brands to do everything that they can to make the transition from discovery and exploration online to arriving in store as frictionless as possible.

There is extreme confusion in general about how or if smart home products connect seamlessly together. Therefore, consumer education is key to encouraging multiple device purchases and retailers sit on the front line of these efforts. Ironically, most smart home devices are presented in-store without connectivity and are therefore unable to show off their full capabilities. Promoting the overall connected experience and how it works to enhance the home environment is the key to success.

Seeing Is Believing.

When consumers are exploring the possibilities presented by smart home devices this is always going to include some challenges which, given the right approach, can easily be converted into opportunities.

The smart home sector is definitely one that promises to be lucrative. In 2016 it was valued at $55 billion a year and this is predicted to rise to $174 billion a year by 2025. But it’s a relatively new field. And, even for the tech-savvy, it can be overwhelming and confusing.

But, by simplifying the complexity of choice in the category and focusing more on the benefits than on features, it presents an opportunity for retailers to tap into the projected explosion of the market. First, though, brands and retailers need to acknowledge the barriers to adoption and provide solutions to help shoppers overcome these.

Security Concerns.

Over 50% of shoppers are concerned that their privacy or security can be at risk if they use smart home devices. Well over a third of this group use VPNs to protect their online browsing and many rely on ad-blockers too.

To overcome these worries, it’s a question of reassurance about the safety of the devices and the checks that are placed to control the level of data exchange. Education at the research stage of the path is key to ensuring consumers feel well informed, confident and clear before they make a purchase.


Like all new tech, the initial pricing of smart home devices can be high. Early adopters might not mind, but some demographic groups are more price-sensitive than others. For example, 59% of millennials have stated that it’s this that’s holding them back.

The urge might be to discount, just like Amazon did for their Echo speaker last Black Friday. But a better strategy is to tone down premiumisation and make the products feel more everyday essential and less of a “fancy” tech innovation. Communicating the benefits is key to engagement.


Even though only 31% of shoppers cited complexity as a barrier, it is one that has to be addressed. It’s easy to see why this perception persists. It can be difficult to fully grasp just how many products are available and how they integrate with each other.

Presenting the products in a simple and digestible way, whilst showing how they can work together and reinforcing the fact that these products are here to make life simpler, not more complex, will prevent consumers from feeling overwhelmed.

Of course, being able to demonstrate the products in action is perhaps the greatest barrier-breaker of all and this is something that worked very successfully for Outform with the Home Depot Smart Home In-Store Portal.

Combine this with the adoption of touchless in-store solutions including voice-activated sales advice, gesture recognition technology and mobile self-checkouts and the experience for shoppers will be engaging, intuitive and, above all else, simplified.

Here at Outform we continuously strive to innovate and overcome challenges, by providing insight, cutting-edge tech and creative in-store solutions, inspired by the latest advancements in technology and design.

See more in our Smart Home Trends Report.

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