How increased collaboration with the grocery industry can increase smart kitchen adoption
What do flour producers, video conferencing companies and loungewear manufacturers have in common? They have all benefited from increased sales since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Miele, Haier, Whirlpool and BSH, the same can be said for smart appliances.
It’s too early to say at the moment with any certainty what effect this will have, though we have seen an increase in usage as so many people are at home. This can only be a good thing in the long term, as more users gain a deeper familiarity with smart technology and start to realise for themselves its potential.
James Kington, Group Manager for Connected Home and Digital Operations at BSH Home Appliances
It's fair to say that the smart kitchen has lagged behind the rest of the smart home in terms of consumer adoption. Smart thermostats and doorbells are more common in homes than smart refrigerators because they're cheaper and more accessible. Buying a large smart appliance like an oven or refrigerator is more of a commitment and few of us replace fully functioning appliances regularly. Another issue is that consumers expect their smart appliances to do it all and they're not quite at that point yet. At Smart Kitchen Summit 2020, Stacey Higginbotham passionately summed up the issue:
Consumers don't want to use several apps to make one meal
Even if you have several smart appliances, the meal planning journey is disjointed.
Consider this scenario:
Your refrigerator recommends a recipe based on what you have in your refrigerator (so far so good) but you need a few additional ingredients. Your smart refrigerator isn't integrated with your main grocery retailer so you manually add the ingredients to your online grocery basket and check out. The groceries arrive and you get started on dinner. Your smart oven has recipe integration but the recipes are different to the one your refrigerator recommended so it can't automatically reduce the oven temperature in 20 minutes like the recipe requires. You move between the fridge, your phone and the oven, preparing dinner and when you've finished eating, you manually add the recipe to your nutrition tracker app to check how balanced the meal was.
In this scenario, because the grocery store, smart appliances and nutrition apps are working independently of each other, none of them are being used to their full potential. Convincing consumers to make the move from regular appliances to smart appliances requires a more collaborative approach.
What are the benefits of integrating grocery retailers with smart appliances?
It gives consumers a reason to purchase a smart appliance
Since smart appliances can be expensive, convincing consumers they're worth the expense can be tricky. The ability to control your appliances from your phone is a nice-to-have rather than a must-have, for example. Online grocery and home cooking is a winning combination right now though and anything that makes that process m
ore efficient is an attention grabber. Controlling the entire meal planning and grocery shopping journey from your smart refrigerator makes more sense now that people are juggling homeschooling, housework, working from home and fitting in time to relax. Similar logic applies to controlling the cooking process from one app. With 47% of people saying cooking fatigue comes and goes, anything that makes the cooking process quicker and less monotonous will appeal to consumers.
It increases grocery retailer brand awareness
60% of consumers are shopping online for groceries more often than pre-pandemic and 41% cite a reluctance to go to physical stores as the reason. What does this mean for the grocery industry?
Consumers are less likely to visit a number of grocery stores to tick everything off their list
Consumers are still relatively new to the online grocery experience and can be swayed by a better experience elsewhere
Putting your grocery brand at the heart of the home by integrating with smart appliances at a time when online grocery is soaring, people are spending the majority of their time at home and home cooking is more popular than ever has incredible brand awareness benefits. This strategy places the brand front and centre when consumers are making meal planning decisions. It also helps consumers associate that brand with efficiency, innovation and customer-centricity.
It introduces smart appliances to a whole new audience
How often do consumers interact with a smart appliance brand's online presence? Unless they're a potential customer researching a product, not very often. Online interaction with a grocery retailer's online presence is much more frequent. By partnering with grocery retailers, smart appliance manufacturers can grab the attention of a much broader audience who may not have considered online grocery shopping a benefit of smart appliances.
It gives smart appliance brands insights into how people are cooking
A collaborative approach between smart appliance manufacturers and grocery retailers gives smart appliance brands invaluable insights into what people are cooking. When consumers browse recipes on a smart appliance or a smart appliance brand's app, the insights collected tell the brand what the consumer wants to cook rather than what the consumer ends up cooking. Partnering with grocery retailers to make that recipe content shoppable and enabling home cooks to complete the entire meal planning journey from inspiration to grocery shopping and right through to getting dinner on the table through a smart appliance or app takes those insights to a new level. Knowing what people actually cook informs personalisation efforts, content marketing strategies and future product development and helps smart appliance brands create a more relevant experience for home cooks. These improvements in turn give consumers a reason to purchase a smart appliance and the cycle continues.
A lot done and a lot more to do
Grocery retailers have slowly moved into the connected kitchen or recipe app space over the past few years. In October 2020, SideChef and Walmart announced a shoppable recipes partnership while Instacart, Fresh Direct and Shop Rite are all integrated with the Samsung Family Hub refrigerator. Even so, there are still huge opportunities for grocery retailers and smart kitchen brands to create a more efficient ecosystem that spans the meal planning journey. The result will be increased adoption of smart kitchen appliances as consumers realise the time-saving benefits of planning, shopping and cooking within one connected ecosystem, particularly during this online shopping and home cooking boom.
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