Connectivity in Kitchen Appliances

Published: January 15, 2024

Even the most seasoned cooks face challenges in the kitchen – from lacking the time and energy to prepare a meal, to not knowing what to cook, and feeling apprehensive about cooking a new dish. At every skill level, questions like “Have I missed a step or ingredient?” and “Is this how it’s supposed to taste?” are all too common for today’s home cooks. As consumers, we lean on our kitchen appliances to take the hassle and uncertainty out of cooking. As manufacturers, we aim to equip our products with the right support and guidance needed to power a more intuitive, convenient cooking experience.

The unfortunate reality is that not all appliances live up to this promise, and many have fallen short of consumer expectations. But there is one essential ingredient that the savviest kitchen brands are leveraging to unlock customer satisfaction and make perfect cooking simple: connectivity. IoT and artificial intelligence technologies have become increasingly critical components in kitchen appliances, giving brands the ability to enhance the cooking experience and provide value in a way that’s impossible to do with non-connected devices.

Non-connected devices offer few, if any, benefits outside of traditional appliance features. At the same time, more and more consumers crave intelligent solutions for their homes – and the kitchen is no exception. With global demand for smart appliances on the rise, there is a real opportunity for manufacturers to deepen their investment in truly smart technology with the power to not only generate greater value, but develop ongoing customer relationships.

The Value of Connectivity for Home Cooks

Connected appliances offer an array of benefits for home cooks – the most important of which is confidence. For any cooking experience to be successful, people must have clear, easy-to-follow directions and feel in control of every step. Done well, smart technology can enhance the confidence and control of novice home cooks by making cooking simpler, while guiding seasoned home cooks through a streamlined, frictionless cooking experience.

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Unlike non-connected devices, smart appliances and smart recipes can be designed to integrate with AI-powered smart assistants, capable of delivering step-by step-instructions while also automatically managing appliance settings. Similarly, simple innovations like a smart thermometer that monitors the temperature of meat while it’s cooking can help take the worry and guesswork out of roasting a chicken. Intelligent shortcuts, apps, and recipes like these can make perfect cooking easier, and empower home cooks to try new techniques or more complex dishes.

In addition to streamlining the cooking experience, AI and smart kitchen technology also allow for a level of personalization that exceeds customer expectations. Through connectivity, home cooks can customize their appliances and recipes based on dietary needs or preferences – and even location (think: language, elevation, units of measurement), the specific tools in their kitchen, and more. For instance, if a customer typically makes rice for three people, likes to add an extra ¼ cup of water, and usually lets it simmer for another two minutes; a smart stove can store their favorite prep methods for them to access with a single tap each time they cook dinner.

Thoughtfully integrated AI software can create a uniquely tailored cooking experience that only gets better with time as the smart appliance continues to evolve and learn – from recommending different ingredients, increasing a taste profile, adjusting the serving size, and so much more. At the end of the day, the more specific pain points smart kitchen technology can address, the more customers will value and trust the manufacturer behind those improved cooking experiences.

In short, the best-connected cooking products solve real, everyday problems for home cooks, giving them back precious time, reducing anxiety and doubt, and enabling users to deliver delicious results every time – so, what’s in it for appliance brands?

Driving Customer Loyalty Through IoT

Beyond meeting market demand, sophisticated IoT and AI-enabled kitchen solutions accelerate usage and engagement among consumers. It’s simple: happy home cooks turn into loyal appliance owners who use the tools in their kitchen more frequently, and take advantage of their full range of capabilities. At Fresco, for instance, we’ve found that connected appliance users are 3x more likely to return to a brand’s app compared to users with non-connected devices.

Non-connected products also offer limited opportunities to connect with consumers after the sale. Intelligent kitchen solutions, on the other hand, go beyond mere connectivity to open up another channel for ongoing customer engagement. Through smart technology, brands can establish direct and frequent touchpoints with home cooks, and unlock new opportunities for monetization and cross-selling – generating exponentially greater value throughout the lifecycle of a product.

What’s more, with non-smart devices, it’s difficult for manufacturers to follow their buyers’ journeys and truly understand their needs and preferences. Non-smart appliances don’t tell brands how people are using their product – or if they’re using it at all – whereas smart appliances know what has been cooked and when. In understanding their users’ journey, brands can gain deeper insight into customers’ likes and dislikes, which features to improve upon, or what to eliminate in future models. Brands need this vital information to inform product development and ensure continued customer satisfaction.

The value of connectivity is clear. It’s an essential ingredient that enables brands to create and deliver the best end-user experience for their customers, increase trust and brand loyalty, and ultimately, pave the way for a flourishing, long-lasting customer relationship.

—By Anthony Sullivan, Chief Product Officer at Fresco

Photo credit: Fresco

Tagged with: kitchen tech, Fresco

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