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11.27.23 – SSI – Lew Brown

Installation metrics is a great benchmark, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s time to take a closer look at your product mix.

As the end of 2023 nears, you are probably looking at your 2024 plans with a careful eye on what was successful in 2023 and what was not.

Sure, it can be easy to look at your company metrics from a project and installation perspective, in terms of how many jobs were completed and at what size and scale. This is a great benchmark, but it doesn’t really tell the whole story.

The end of the year is also a great time to assess the product lines you have been carrying or purchasing from distributor partners and how they have performed in your installs, how customers have responded to them, and how they have contributed to the bottom line.

Taking a look at all your product lines takes time, so we’ve outlined three best practices to help you evaluate and drive profitability and growth in 2024.

What’s Still on the Shelves?

Checking your shelves is a great place to start if your business carries inventory. What is it currently comprised of? Is it the foundational products you know you’ll use and need quick access to or are there other factors at play?

In any case, it’s a good time to take a step back and reevaluate your product selection process. Take a look at which product lines or specific products are consistently flying off the shelves, as well as those that are underperforming.

Clearing out the categories or product types that are not delivering value to your projects or competitive margins opens up room for new vendor partners and product types.

Finding Your Competitive Edge 

report released by Parks Associates this year found that small, local security dealer businesses are struggling to keep up with national tech-first, online-first players with a presence in multiple markets. Online-first players are all pulling from the same bag of tricks, so you need to create some magic of your own. Having a unique product mix can set you apart in the field.

This is particularly important for independent security dealers who have the flexibility to try out new products, form personal connections with their clients to gather feedback, and adjust accordingly.

The first quarter presents a prime opportunity, as clients are often not ready to add a new system or build onto the one they have. That gives you time to take training from new vendors and start to get familiar with fresh to market products or products that are new to you.

What’s On the Horizon?

Keeping an eye on industry trends and customer preferences can highlight emerging market opportunities for 2024 and beyond. For example, according to Statista, the number of consumers outfitting their homes with smart technology is expected to continuously increase between 2023 and 2027 by 30.2 million households, a 47.61 percent increase.

By the end of 2027, the number of smart households is expected to reach 93.59 million.

Deepening the roster of smart home products is a no-brainer for security dealers wanting to expand their customer base. Thinking beyond the video doorbell and smart thermostat is the clear next step for security dealers.

It’s really not about products, but solutions. How your customers “never come home to a dark house,” “make sure their latchkey kids come home safely when you are at work” and “make sure that when they drive away from their home, they get an alert when their garage door isn’t closed.” These are the things you need to be asking and solving for your clients.

Don’t let the unknown keep you from garnering a bigger piece of the home technology pie.

There are a variety of professional development opportunities offered at distributor locations and through industry associations to help get up to speed on all things smart home. Look for products that are compatible with your existing product lineup and include features that can be incorporated into a homeowner’s system.

The products dealers choose, recommend and install will have a big impact on their business’ long-term success. Don’t head into 2024 without having a full picture of what’s working well and what can be adjusted.

Any manufacturer in this space should look forward to having these types of conversations with dealers, about areas they can help solve problems and realize additional revenue especially when it comes to planning smart with product inventory.

Lew Brown is the president, North America, for DEN Smart Home.