Hardware Retailing

JUN 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | June 2018 60 The Technology-Enhanced Bathroom The smartest toilets on the block. Many manufacturers have sought new ways to advance and enhance the toilet. No longer is this just a standard porcelain throne. Smart toilets integrate many features consumers can get excited about. However, this luxury doesn't come without a cost. The price tag for smart toilets can range from a couple hundred dollars to as high as $11,000. These high-end toilets have unique many features, including colored lighting, music synced through Bluetooth technology and heated seats. Users can control the toilet by using a voice command, an app or a remote. Other features often include automatic flush, a bidet and a toilet that cleans itself. Bathtubs where stress floats away and relaxation is a given. As consumers continue to seek a spa-like bathroom retreat, the bathtub is an element not to be disregarded. Plumbing manufacturers are taking the spa preference to the next level, creating stand-alone bathtubs that help users relax. A new zero-dimension flotation bathtub relieves stress on joints. The tub has a system called hydrohands, which is a dynamic water massage system that flows to targeted muscles. It gives the stimulating sensation of a massage and is free of bubbles and noise. Another smart bathtub that will be rolled out to consumers this year has the ability to be filled and have several factors controlled all from the manufacturers app on a phone. 60 HARDWARE RETAILING | June 2018 S mart plumbing and related products are expected to continue being integrated into bathrooms. According to the 2017 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study, "the demand for high-tech features in toilets and showers grew 19 percent and 26 percent, respectively, from 2016 to 2017." Many of these features are attracting the attention of homeowners, which has led to more manufacturers creating product lines that connect smart products, from the toilet to the bathtub. Attendees at the 2018 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show earlier this year got a taste of this, seeing the bathroom of the future prominently displayed in several manufacturer booths. Smart speakers have been rising in popularity in recent years among consumers. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults has access to a smart speaker, according to the March 2018 Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report by Voicebot.ai. These devices feature voice-activated smart assistants, like Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana. To attract shoppers, manufacturers are making smart devices that can be accessed through a smart assistant. What is a smart assistant? Photo courtesy of Kohler Photo courtesy of Toto

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