"We think this is a really great opportunity to excite consumers," Brad Hintze, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Control4 explains."To experience the smart home and the benefit of home automation in their lives and to begin to build a relationship with a professional and an installer who can help bring that technology to life inside of their homes."
We've talked about changing the retail experience ad nauseam on our sister-website Dealerscope because the principles actually translate fluently between purebred and hybrid retail. Control4 takes advantage of this by encouraging dealers to not just show off Control4 products, but how they can provide solutions in the client's everyday lives.
And it seems that the target for these certified rooms is the mainstream consumer and the growing adoption of smart home technologies.
"We have been in this for awhile and so have our dealers," Hintze said. "We know the best way to connect with the consumer on this technology front is through lifestyle experiences, especially that mainstream consumer. The early adopters, you can talk about speeds and feeds and black boxes, but when you want to reach the bigger part of the market, you need to help them really visualize and understand the technology in the context of a home."
"And we think that this program helps address two big headwinds for the mainstream adoption of automation and smart home."
The two headwinds that Control4 is addressing is the surge of DIY - as well as it's DIFM cousin - and connecting consumers with the correct smart home message.
The DIY market, as a whole, has been polarizing. Many consumers who dive into a DIY project are looking for some level of automation and the use of technology to solve their problems. Typically, that road is more affordable, and while it doesn't necessarily involve integrators, it can raise awareness of their services. However, the true downside is consumers are becoming jaded when their few DIY projects don't integrate the way they want and their interconnectivity is simply non-existent.
"The weakness in the DIY story that a lot of people are starting to come to grips with is the lack of integration and being able to make all of these devices work together," Hintze said. "This is becoming so pervasive that even Charlie Kindel, that guy that brought Amazon Alexa to market, somebody that has that technological experience in all of those resources; he's still underwhelmed with the way his smart home is functioning today."
This not only gives Control4 the chance to make a huge impact on consumers, like showing off some of their 'entry-level' automation control services, but it also creates a strong impression from a dealer who can show off the different levels of home automation on their show floor.
And that doesn't mean the typical pop-and-drop, set-it-and-forget-it style of cardboard cutouts that litter endcaps in every big box store, it means creating an actual experience center. As far as guidelines, Control4 has given dealers "a tremendous amount of latitude" to create their own experience. This means that dealers can focus in on their specific verticals to tell their own story. It's a subtle differentiator that actually provides depth to the story. A few variables that Control4 looks to showcase include family room entertainment, multi-room audio and video, smart lighting, comfort, and security. Control4 does require a check-in every 12 months to recertify and remain up-to-date, but this appears to be more of a temperature check, not a random inspection.
The certified showroom campaign kicks off with a #C4Yourself Day on Thursday, May 31, acting as a global open house for every dealer. They are asked to invite the local community, as well as architects builders and designers to see the new look of Control4 Certified Showrooms.
"When we have a long list of these certified showrooms, we can leverage that to speak to the world," Hintze said. "It's really awesome to be able to coordinate the events across 140 dealers and invite consumers to come check it out, right? Because ultimately that's our goal. We want to drive more traffic and more leads to our dealers and help consumers, you know, really bring a Control4 into their homes."