Porch Pirates & the Art of Selling Front Door Video Solutions
Increased incidents of package theft open the door to tremendous residential video opportunities for dealers who properly promote and position these systems.
Fresh off a holiday season that saw record online sales, home package deliveries also hit an all-time high. Unfortunately, this also created increased opportunity for would-be thieves who take advantage of people’s blind trust that the packages that are delivered will still be there when they arrive home from work.
According to August Home’s Package Theft Report, 11 million people had a package stolen from their home in 2016, with the likelihood of theft increasing 81 percent during the holiday season.
Package theft is not limited to the holiday season; it’s a year-round crime that has become a growing problem nationwide. Connecting the dots, this presents dealers with tremendous opportunity to sell their customers video solutions to protect their front doors from so-called “porch pirates” who might be tempted to help themselves to the deliveries that are there for the taking. And customers are ready to embrace these types of solutions. Case in point: August Home also found that 92 percent said a doorbell camera provides them with the peace of mind they need.
When it comes to pricing, the main thing to remember is to provide value for customers in all aspects, including front door video systems, says Kevin Bish, vice president of marketing, Guardian Protection Services, Warrendale, Pa.
“We’re constantly looking at pricing, from ROI and competitive perspectives and believe our video pricing is a great deal for our customers,” he says. “We love the fact that our video capabilities give the customer live peek-in, plus cloud and on-site clip storage options, and that it can be integrated with other pieces of the security system — such as triggering to record after motion is detected by a motion sensor.”
That said, dealers can’t make a living selling low-cost, self-installable door stations, says Ilan Saadia, owner, EOS Digital Services, Houston.
“Our goal is not really to be competitive with the Rings of the world. We long ago realized that we cannot remain in business by selling $200 door stations that any homeowner can install,” he says. (For more on the DIY competition see “Low-Cost DIY Systems: Competitive Threat or No Big Deal” online at www.SDMmag.com/DIY-competition-threat-or-not.)
What EOS Digital does offer is a professional-grade Mobotix door station that allows for customization and automated motion-activated voice playback, which Saadia says brings tremendous value to the table.
“We demonstrate the value of such products to the customer and help them understand that you really do get what you pay for when it comes to a security product that is meant to protect property and person,” he says.
In any sale, there are bound to be objections; it’s par for the course. But when it comes to objections, the fewer, the better, Bish notes.
“There really are few objections. There is increasing awareness of porch pirates, front door/porch package crime and the solution of a front door video camera,” he says.
Live demos can be highly beneficial, Saadia says, particularly when dealing with a high-resolution video door station with the added benefit of audio deterrence.
“Our customers absolutely love this feature and are willing to pay more for a product that not only provides passive deterrence but also actively protects their property,” Saadia says. “In addition, we explain to the customer that we won’t have to damage any drywall in order to run wiring to the door station, as we use adapters that send data and power over wiring that is already available at the door.”
Sight and Sound Solutions of Dulles, Va., works with builders to install systems in new construction, but makes the actual sale to the end user, says Kris Kaymanesh, president, making education tremendously important.
“We require each homebuyer to meet with our sales team. Our salespeople are trained correctly and properly and they in turn inform the clients how these things differ and why they cost differently,” he says.
Marketing & Sales Focus
How dealers approach marketing and sales can determine how successful they will be in the front door video systems market. For example, the increased popularity of online shopping, both around the holidays and year-round means that the concern around porch pirates and package theft is also on the increase. This is one aspect Guardian focuses on in its marketing and sales efforts.
“Our teams proactively talk about how a video doorbell camera integrates with the security system and helps provide better protection and we’ve been promoting proactive offers with video as well,” Bish says. “We’ve also had some local TV news coverage showing how our video doorbell triggered during a porch pirating episode at the home.”
Sharing success stories via social media is one outlet that has proven successful for EOS Digital.
“We are active on social media and frequently post videos of Mobotix door stations doing what they do best: alerting visitors at the door, via an automated voice announcement, that they are being watched and recorded before they even ring the doorbell while simultaneously notifying the homeowner that a person is at the door and providing the homeowner the ability to talk to the visitor from any mobile device,” Saadia describes. “In addition, the camera’s extensive automation features can trigger outdoor lights to brighten or flash when activity is detected, providing visual deterrence as well.”
For Sight and Sound Solutions, marketing efforts revolve around convenience, driven largely by the type of construction projects in its back yard.
“In our part of the country, as the cost of land increases constantly, more and more multi-dwelling and townhomes are being built, which means not just a matter of safety, but convenience because people don’t have to come up and down the stairs so often to see who’s by the front door,” Kaymanesh says. “They can view the front door through an app on their phone. We focus on the matter of convenience that it brings to people.
“More and more people are security conscious ... and value their private time when they come home, so they do not like to get bombarded with door-to-door salespeople,” he says.
There are a multitude of products on the market designed to notify homeowners of a visitor at the door and help prevent package theft. Therefore, it’s up to dealers to demonstrate why their solutions are head and shoulders above the rest.
“I think we need to take it a few steps further and offer our customers some real added value by showing them the difference between a passive camera and a camera that can actively prevent a theft from occurring in the first place,” Kaymanesh says. “We find that the more educated the customer is, the more they come to appreciate quality products that are secure, provide security and are built to last.”
Low-Cost DIY Systems: Competitive Threat or No Big Deal?
One of the biggest challenges for dealers selling front door video solutions is the inevitable comparison to what end users can find online or at their local big box store. These retail solutions are often much cheaper than their professionally sold and installed counterparts, so how can dealers compete?
“That’s easy — it’s about protecting the whole home and delivering post-sale, ongoing customer service. If you only buy a video doorbell camera off the shelf that really limits what it can do,” says Kevin Bish of Guardian Protection Services. “With our integrated system, you can record clips to the cloud, trigger other home automation features such as smart lighting and thermostat, and control your doorbell camera, as well as all your security and automation devices from one robust mobile app, not a dozen different apps. Also, we offer the customer free, personalized one-on-one help from our trained, U.S.-based employee customer service representatives. Seven days a week, they’ll answer questions and troubleshoot by phone. This is a real differentiator that consumers may not find at a big box store.”
Surprisingly, there are several dealers who actually feel that there really is no competition between the two.
“We welcome the comparisons with off-the-shelf products and go into detail about the quality of a Mobotix camera that is German-built and has an extremely favorable MTBF. We also note the importance of having a solidly developed firmware and software platform, particularly in the face of all the cyberattacks that make the news on a daily basis and that most store-bought products have suffered from at one time or another,” says Ilan Saadia of EOS Digital Services. “We also note that a Mobotix door station easily integrates with other Mobotix cameras placed around the property, as well as with home automation systems such as Elan and Crestron.”
The limitations of low-cost, DIY-type solutions is often evident once the system has been installed, says Kris Kaymanesh of Sight and Sound Solutions.
“Some of these products work off Wi-Fi only and as these homes are getting more green in terms of insulation, the Wi-Fi outside of the house is horrendous. More times we hear people complaining that their front door option doesn’t really work well. We try to rely on products that give us the ability to do network connection as well, which by itself causes additional expense because of the wiring,” he says.
In the end, says Kaymanesh, you get what you pay for, and the results users get from off-the-shelf solutions often speak for themselves — and those users aren’t shy about sharing their experiences with the world in the form of product reviews and forums.
“They actually do prove beneficial to us because a lot of folks end up returning the product to the Internet or the big box store because they don’t work well, and they do put negative remarks and comments in terms of rating and in the forums,” he says. “People come to us and say, ‘This other product is so much cheaper,’ and we say OK, if that’s what you want, you may want to actually look up the experiences other people have had. And that’s neither us nor the manufacturer can color it; that’s users like themselves.”
For more information about residential video solutions at the front door, visit the following articles.