Today there are many retailers stocking their shelves with the kind of smart locks they think their customers will benefit from. However, how do you know you are placing the right product on your shelf?
As a retailer, you must make sure you are always providing your customer with the best available products. This holds true for smart locks as well, so let’s take a quick look at some of the criteria retailers should consider when shopping this category.
Look For Connectivity. The ability to connect a smart lock to several other home automation devices is a major selling point. This feature allows users to control home-automation devices from a single device. Smart locks should be compatible with the user's smartphone and other home-automation devices like smart-home hubs, automated doorbells, lights, alarm systems, and the like. Customers will naturally be drawn to products with a wide range of app and device connectivity, and feature Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or Z-Wave compatibility, among other platforms.
Wi-Fi Bridges. Most homeowners want smart locks that they can connect to other devices no matter where they are in the world. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure your smart locks are capable of interacting with a Wi-Fi bridge. Wi-Fi bridges are meant to connect the components of two wired networks together and to facilitate the transfer of data between these networks. Smart locks that are compatible with Wi-Fi bridges are able to connect and communicate with more devices and can be controlled from anywhere as long as the product and the user bother have an Internet connection.
Quality Customer Support. Customer service is an extension of any good product, and amazing customer service makes the investment in new technology less intimidating. It is important for retailers to choose smart-lock vendors that are known for their stellar customer service. Smart locks are still relatively novel for consumers, which means that customers will have many questions. It is not wise to sell smart locks made by a company that shifts the burden of service onto the retailer. In the hopes of giving your customers the best possible product, make sure that the manufacturer is able to provide them with insightful customer service.
Proven Track Record. Consumers not only like things that work, they also like things that work well. Having a proven track record doesn’t necessarily mean that a product will best fit a customer’s needs. However, it is more likely that a smart lock that has proved itself effective in the past will better suit your clientele. If retailers are unsure which smart locks are reliable, they can always consult emergency locksmiths and other security professionals who may have more insight.
Security Sells Itself. Product features can be hard for sales staffs to understand, let alone the customer. When it comes to purchasing smart locks, you are asking your customer to commit to a new lifestyle. They will have to figure out how a piece of new technology works, download an app, and possibly experiment with syncing this device to other products. The easiest selling point though is security (which extends beyond the home to software/network security). In fact, security is more important to shoppers than price, TWICE has found.
If you buy a lock that offers the best security, then you have a strong argument that appeals to consumers. They understand insecurity; that is why they are in your store. Smart locks with better lock cylinders will provide better security, and you will be stocking the best products for your customers. If the customer already has a lock that they like, then something like the August or Lockitron Bolt can just replace the thumbturn on the deadbolt.
Remember: As with any other product category, retailers need to understand what their customers truly expect to get out of their smart locks in order to buy the best possible models to meet their needs.
Lock and security expert Ralph Goodman is author of Lock Blog, a regular column by United Locksmith that offers tips, advice and how-to’s for consumers, locksmiths and security professionals.