Connected appliances are revolutionizing the industry for major brands such as Amazon, Best Buy, and Sears. These appliances offer enhanced convenience and ease of use, including features like remote start and stop, pre-heating, and cycle monitoring from smartphones or tablets. Users also receive push notifications when cycles are completed, while smart applications help maintain optimal appliance performance by reminding consumers to purchase replacement filters and accessories.
Kenmore, after several years in the field, sought to redesign their entire in-app experience and update their software to support new appliance models and features. This ambitious project required professional and creative software engineers, leading Kenmore to partner with Lab651.
The Connected Appliance Industry
The global connected appliance market is expected to reach $125.4 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 14.45% from 2022 to 2027. The growth of the market is being driven by factors such as:
- The increasing demand for smart and connected devices
- The growing adoption of IoT in the home
- The rising consumer preference for convenience and efficiency
The joint product and engineering teams at Kenmore and Lab651 embarked on the project by conducting customer interviews. Their primary focus was to identify the most important features for customers and prioritize them throughout the redesign process. Continuously challenging themselves, they constantly questioned whether each feature truly provided the utmost value to the user.
Designing for Diverse Appliances
A unique aspect of this project was the need to support multiple appliance types. The teams recognized that showcasing the features of a refrigerator differed significantly from those of an oven or a dishwasher. Consequently, the interface design had to take this diversity into careful consideration.
From 1.5 Stars to 4.3 Stars
Before Lab651 commenced its work, the Kenmore application suffered from poor ratings on app stores, averaging around 1.5 stars. Customer complaints centered on issues like a confusing and ineffective onboarding process, clunky design, and connectivity and notification failures. Lab651's objective was to offer a new and refreshing user experience, accommodate new features in the 2019 and 2020 models, and ensure a more user-friendly and reliable onboarding process for new appliances.
This objective was achieved flawlessly by implementing an architecture that allowed appliance capabilities to be seamlessly pushed from the cloud to mobile devices. The customer onboarding process underwent significant improvements, simplifying and streamlining it. Consequently, the app no longer required updates from the app store. Instead, it dynamically updated as new features were added to the customer's appliance and worked seamlessly with any new appliances added later. As a result, customer satisfaction increased by more than 200%, leading to a rating close to 4.5 stars since the relaunch of the Kenmore Smart appliances app.
Unlocking New Possibilities
Companies providing connected products are entering an era of immense opportunities. Selling consumables, such as filters, dishwashing tablets, and detergent, creates an additional revenue stream. Moreover, data on usage patterns holds significant potential. By leveraging this data, companies like Kenmore and other smart appliance manufacturers gain a competitive advantage that could propel them ahead of their competitors by decades.
Gaining a Competitive Edge
While some may argue that we are still in the early stages of this journey, it is the companies that invest today that will reap the rewards of tomorrow's data-driven insights. With access to customer data, Lab651's team of data science experts employs cutting-edge tools like TensorFlow and other Deep Learning techniques to gain a deeper understanding of product performance, customer usage patterns, and provide better services and enhanced product experiences.
Lab651 has been fortunate to collaborate on innovative products such as Craftsman Smart Tractors and now smart appliances for the home. If you want to learn more about how we can help you and your team create smart and internet-connected products that deliver superior experiences, please reach out to us at Lab651. With our knowledge and experience, we can turn the next generation of your products into a reality.
"Thanks, Justin. We couldn't have achieved this without you and your team's invaluable support!"
~ Tom DeSalvo, DVP Product Development for Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard Brands