Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends Report was recently released. We combed through the 200+ slide deck to spotlight 5 trends that are important to security alarm dealers and central stations.
Trend #1: The combination of slower economic growth, higher debt and aging populations creates rising risks. However, it also creates opportunities for businesses that can innovate, increase efficiency, lower prices and create jobs and the internet can be at the core of this innovation.
Takeaway: Companies that can innovate will thrive.
We are already seeing this with IoT and home automation. Security products are being integrated with a smarter home. The industry will thrive by innovating ways to make life easier for customers. A natural evolution is to consider whole life security rather than securing physical structures. The rapid growth of IoT also poses rising risks for cybercrime. The future may see companies that offer holistic solutions that secure not only the applications and products but the delivery system.
Trend #2: Text search is giving way to voice and image search. In its analysis of the trends report, ReCode notes, “Typing text into a search bar is so last year. In five years, at least 50 percent of all searches are going to be either images or speech.” Mobile Voice Assistant usage is rising quickly. According to Google Trends, queries associated with voice-related commands have risen >35x since 2008 after launch of iPhone & Google Voice Search.
Takeaway: How we search the internet is dramatically changing.
This shift from text-based search means that alarm dealers must ensure that websites and internet channels have natural language and images that align with how people look for services. It has always been important to write for your audience, but even more so today when users are using voice to research security solutions. Refrain from industry jargon and use language that is familiar to your customers.
Trend #3: Image based platforms are growing in use. Citing a statistic from Cowen & Company (Source: Cowen & Company ”ShopTalk Conference Takeaways: A Glimpse Into The Future of Retail & eCommerce” 05/16), the report notes that 60% of users of image-based platforms like Pinterest use the platform to find/shop for products.
Takeaway: The security industry must begin to deploy meaningful images to capture customer attention. Home design company, Houzz, personalized design planning with images which yielded 3-4x higher engagement and 5x higher purchase conversion. The Houzz app allows users to shop for products and use their smartphone camera to see how those products look in a room. Security dealers can use a similar approach to show consumers their security vulnerabilities and how specific solutions will solve them.
Trend #4: Companies must tailor how they communicate to generational preferences. Generation Z (Ages 1-20) communicates with images, while millennials communicate with text.
Takeaway: Make sure that your website, and marketing materials, contain a mix of text and images to align with how younger generations receive communication.
Trend #5: Messaging is evolving from simple social conversations to business-related conversations. Wireless company, Rogers Communications, started offering customer service on Facebook Messenger in 12/15 and saw a 65% increase in customer satisfaction and 65% decrease in customer complaints.
Takeaway: Make it easy for customers to communicate with you by expanding your communication options. You can use messaging services to communicate and confirm service appointments, alert customers to upgrades or even send bill reminders.
Bonus Trend: Data is a new growth platform and the next big wave is interpreting all the data that we collect and store to improve people’s lives and operate more efficiently.
Takeaway: A CRM solution is no longer a nice-to-have but a necessity for security alarm dealers. Using a CRM solution, like Cornerstone Billing’s platform, allows you to centralize information about your customers and your overall business. More importantly, with access to that data you can begin to identify patterns in your customer base as well as opportunities to strengthen relationships and improve your service offering.