Robot vacuum cleaners emerge from niche penetration and are worth consideration as part of furniture selection priorities for a growing number of households. Furniture specifications can prevent robots from achieving 100% floor coverage, with critical factors such as clearance height below, gap widths, and more subtle aspects such as use of tassels being a particular nemesis. There are incremental basket size gains and wider monetised value in furniture retail promoting “Robot Friendly Rooms”.
Robot cleaners have particular needs in a room in order to provide the best cleaning performance for users. All too often, a robot owner will choose new furniture only to find post-purchase that this item fails to help the robot’s mission, leaving a degree of dissatisfaction in results. This is evident in efforts and online commentary going into room preparation and room modification once someone brings a robot cleaner into their home.
There are clear parameters visible for how furniture helps or hinders the 100% coverage mission of a robot cleaner. Height factors allow robots to clean beneath, width factors between legs and barriers define where the robot can access, and climbing heights for carpets, rugs or sills between rooms either help a transition or block the way. The bane of robots is the use of tassels or other loose fibres and cables robots can get tangled in.
The user enters to buy an item of furniture as usual, but they are a robot owner, familiar with the challenges and limitations of the technology today. The shopping journey provides a gamified mechanism of chasing 100% coverage performance in a room, and subsequently all rooms. They already want and pursue this…the limitation is that legacy rooms and robot brands are not able to fundamentally remove the barriers, but furniture retail and brands can.
This is all about the experience. In a store, the execution and merchandising is straightforward. Online the augmented reality tools already in development and improving in service to the furniture industry are also the means for this value reaching out as a scaled app-based service to guide users on how to upgrade their rooms to be robot friendly. This is how extra furniture and high-margin peripherals are added to the basket, and it is also how the relationship is grown and monetised over time.
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