“Time is money.“ This maxim was penned by Benjamin Franklin in 1748. Fast forward over 250 years, and I submit that today time is much more valuable than money. Time is perhaps the most precious commodity we have, especially as we try to keep up with the pace of change and deluge of information available for our consumption.
The value of time lies in the simple truth that, once it’s gone, it’s never coming back. You can’t make more. That’s something to keep in mind, not just as you strive to make the most of your limited time on Earth, but also as you work to meet the needs of your customers. This is the point where you may think I’m going to give you my personal secrets to organization and time management. However, I’d rather focus on the things for which I’ve always had a passion—consumer technology products and accessories, specifically those that can save us and our customers’ time.
Ideally, all products should improve our quality of life in some way. But some are more valuable than others in their potential for saving time. Consumer technology can provide timesaving devices that simplify everything from our routine daily tasks to life’s senseless frustrations. As your busy customers try to cram even more work, play, family time, hobbies and social activities into their days, time saved is a selling point that should be made clear to prospective buyers whenever possible. Robot vacuum cleaners have been around for over a decade now, and their value to consumers has transformed – they’re now seen as real, time-saving appliances. At Petra, we carry models that even include wet mopping for hard surface floors. This is an example of products that almost eliminate the time we have to spend on some of the most tedious of household chores.
A variety of connected home products such as connected lightbulbs and smart-outlets may be considered more of a simple convenience than timesavers. But in some scenarios these tech-enabled conveniences can save consumers a significant amount of time and provide peace of mind. You probably know the feeling of leaving the house only to experience a sudden sense that you forgot something. “Did I turn off the coffee pot? Is the garage door closed? Are the lights off?” I know I’ve experienced this unpleasant sensation, both at work and on extended trips.
Now, thanks to the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and connected home accessories, it is no longer necessary to make time-consuming trips back to the house just to settle these lingering doubts. From connected door locks and garage door openers from brands such as Chamberlin, to smart plugs and IP video cameras from brands including Lorex and SecurityMan, we have the ability to secure our homes from across town or even across the country. Customers can experience a peace of mind that previous generations never could have anticipated. And with that peace of mind comes profit potential.
Many of the IoT products mentioned here-and an array of others -are also compatible with voice-activated digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Home and Microsoft’s Cortana. Accessories that work with voice activation save time by making it easier to multitask. For example, a thermostat may be reset while your hands are busy preparing meals, or lights can be turned on and security alarms turned off when your arms are loaded with shopping bags.
Another scenario that you may have experienced is running late to get out of the door for an appointment and having mislaid your car keys. Smart tracking devices, such as those from Ankr and iTrex, can save you frustration by emitting an audible tone leading you to the location of your car keys. Items with one of these trackers attached will also alert you via smartphone app if you leave the item and walk away. That could save a good deal of time spent retracing footsteps and wondering where a purse or wallet was left behind. The GPS tracker can even help locate a child’s lost backpack or a traveler’s lost luggage that took a flight to a stop other than your vacation destination.
Finally, given the importance of smartphones and tablets to today’s consumer, with the apps that connect to and control many of the accessories I’ve mentioned, it’s vital our mobile devices stay charged. That’s easy enough to accomplish at home, but what about on the go? As we travel, attend meetings and conferences and take vacations, AC power isn’t always readily available. That’s where backup battery banks come in. These compactly designed portable power accessories save time that could otherwise be wasted locating AC power and stopping everything you’re doing just to charge a device.
Invest your time in helping customers find the products and accessories that will simplify their daily tasks and maximize their time. You may find that many consumers are more than willing to pay for the ultimate non-renewable resource: time.
Bill Stewart, founder and CEO, Petra InduStries