Advances in technology have put smart home capability within the reach of most security systems buyers, greatly enhancing security’s consumer appeal — and one of the most appealing smart devices is the smart lock. Smart locks eliminate the need for a traditional key, instead relying on a code or smartphone app to unlock a door. They can be integrated with a security system, making them even more powerful.
Why Sell Smart Locks
About 50 percent of end users who purchase smart home capabilities include a smart lock, according to Ilan Dee, director of software product management and marketing for Melville, N.Y.-based security and smart home system manufacturer Honeywell Homes. But some people think that number should and will be higher.
“Once you have it, you can’t live without it,” comments Dee. He notes that he has a smart lock in his own home and has grown accustomed to not pulling out a key to unlock the door — a particularly helpful capability when he is carrying something. Newer automobiles now have keyless entry and as people become accustomed to having that capability for their cars, they will want it for their homes as well.
A smart lock integrated with a security system can be set up to automatically disarm the system when the lock is unlocked, adding an additional level of convenience. And if desired, the system can be set up to turn on certain lights or trigger other functionality when the door is unlocked. Another option is to have the door automatically unlock if a smoke or CO detector is triggered so that the fire department doesn’t have to destroy the door to gain entry, notes Nick English, national sales manager for Lake Forest, Calif.-based smart lock manufacturer Kwikset.
Sources interviewed for this article were unanimously enthusiastic about the smart lock’s ability to enhance customer retention.
As English explains, a customer might not need to interact with his or her system if a smart thermostat were the only smart device. And if that customer gets out of the habit of arming and disarming the system, he or she might opt not to renew when the contract is up for renewal.
With a system that includes a smart lock, however, “once you get the features and benefits and use them regularly, it becomes such an integral part of your life, that not many would cancel,” English describes.
Some dealers offer several different tiers of smart home packages and will want to seriously consider including smart locks in at least one of those packages if they aren’t doing so already. Providers of the cloud services that underlie smart home connectivity generally have a set monthly charge for security systems with smart home capability and that charge doesn’t vary regardless of the number of smart devices included, sources say.
Some homeowners may be tempted to install their own smart locks and it’s important to note that these locks are available with cloud service support without a monthly recurring fee, which could enhance their attractiveness to some customers in comparison with dealer-installed systems.
Dealers will want to emphasize the added sense of security that a dealer-installed system can provide.
“They’re completing the installation in a professional way, no matter the season,” comments Kevin Kraus, director of technology and partner integration for New Haven, Conn.-based smart lock maker Yale, a division of ASSA ABLOY.
Kraus notes that this may be particularly important for customers who purchase smart locks for the homes of aging parents — an important niche within the smart lock category. Adult children like to know they can let emergency personnel or a trusted neighbor in to their parent’s home when needed.
Dealers also may want to pursue smart lock opportunities in the vacation rental market, Kraus notes.
Moving forward, dealers may want to keep an eye on other opportunities to add value to a security system, such as unattended delivery.
The upshot is that including smart locks in a security system can help ensure that customers use and get value from their systems, which in turn can increase the likelihood that the homeowner will remain a loyal customer for years to come.