Making Home Automation Sales Automatic At Retail

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NEW YORK — Interactive displays, videos and graphics are key to explaining and selling home-automation systems in high-traffic retail outlets, if the in-store displays of major retailers are any indication.

A survey of displays at Best Buy, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Staples and Target found the retailers incorporating one or more of these elements to explain how home-automation systems work and what they can do for consumers.

In Target stores, for instance, a Wink end-cap rolled out late last year in 500 stores features a touchscreen that displays information and videos of the products on display, a Wink spokesperson said. Wink end-caps in more than 1,900 Home Depot stores use large graphics to call attention to how smartphones can monitor and control lights, garage doors, thermostats and other home systems. The products in the end-caps are updated each quarter, Wink said. In more than 1,000 Home Depot stores, Nest’s end-cap displays also feature large graphics.

Likewise, the home-automation displays in hundreds of Staples stores also feature prominent graphics and pictures.

In Lowes stores, however, a large touchscreen display is available to access information about the chain’s Iris home-automation system.

At Best Buy stores, live demonstrations are available through shelf-top demonstrators supplied by such suppliers as Philips for Hue smart bulbs and Nest for its thermostats and smoke/CO detectors. Static security displays are available from the likes of Samsung, D-Link and Swann.

Best Buy rolled outs its home-automation areas last fall to 400 large-format stores. The majority of the departments are near the center of the store next to Best Buy Mobile department. The new departments feature more than 80 feet of display space offering more than 100 connected-home products. An expanded assortment is available at BestBuy.com.

The Best Buy departments are staffed by employees who receive hours of live and online trainings, and in more than 200 stores specially trained specialists received additional training and complete a certification process.

The 400 departments also offer phone Internet, and TV service from brands such as Comcast and Time Warner. Professionally managed security service is available through ADT Security, Comcast and Time Warner.

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