NEWBURY: More than half of Britons have purchased smart technology for their homes without understanding how to use it, new research has found.

The Smart Home Shopper study from field marketing agency Gekko, based on a survey of 1,000 UK shoppers, revealed that 56% had bought a piece of smart technology, ranging from smart speakers to security equipment, but then found they didn’t know how to make it work.

A gung ho attitude to buying tech extends to setting it up: almost a third of respondents admitted they never read instructions or manuals.

Three in ten regretted buying at least one or more items of smart home technology because it proved so difficult to get up and running, while more than one in ten, having successfully set up a piece of smart home tech, had then only used it once.

The latest ‘must-have’ tech item is the smart speaker but 30% of respondents who had bought one didn’t understand all its functions.

Security equipment posed the most challenges for buyers, with 45% finding it difficult to install items such as app-controlled doorbells, motion sensors and CCTV, but smart heating systems (35%) and smart lighting (28%) were also problematic.

Overall, 13% of consumers who had invested in smart home technology said they couldn’t get all their devices to connect – which is of course the point of having a ‘smart home’.

"This is a great opportunity for retailers, especially brick and mortar, to improve the customer experience within the smart home tech category by having an environment where consumers can ‘play’ and a retail team that understand each product in detail and can match consumer need to product performance,” suggested Daniel Todaro, managing director, Gekko.

“By solution selling it’s a win-win for the customer and the retailer,” he added. “The retailer can enrich the sale by demonstrating the whole product portfolio and functionality and the customer gets a product that’s fit for purpose.”

Sourced from Retail Times; additional content by WARC staff