Wearable technology has come a long way from 1975 when President Gerald Ford showed interest in a $3,950 Limited Edition Pulsar Calculator wristwatch. With today’s wearable tech, you can track your fitness and health with an mHealth device, call someone on your smartwatch, or wink to take a photo with Google Glass. The adoption rate among consumers for these gadgets is rapidly growing, but the question remains – will retailers see any benefit?
Retailers have rewritten their marketing strategies time and time again to incorporate digital media, smart phones and whatever else the tech world has thrown at them. Each technological innovation has had it’s own set of benefits. Wearable tech is no different. With it’s ability to keep the consumer connected 24/7, along with the convenience factor, retailers who adopt these new gadgets will likely enjoy benefits in two main categories: improved business processes and improved customer retail experiences.
Wearable tech has the power to affect employee productivity in the retail world. Instead of walking all over the store, employees can check inventory, shipment details, display requirements and more on a device they’re wearing.
While the tablet has already helped to fill this need, a watch, headset or lanyard doesn’t need to be held and won’t be set on a shelf and forgotten. Goldsmiths found that wearable technology can actually boost employee productivity by 8.5 percent. It even increases job satisfaction by 3.5 percent – who wouldn’t love to sport the newest technology?
Now, an employee doesn’t have to wander off to the back room to find an item, only to come back and have to tell the customer it’s out of stock, they can check the inventory, and even place an order right away, without ever leaving the customer’s side – never even giving them the chance to become irritated and leave the store to check out a competitor. Wearable tech will allow employees to better serve the customer, turning a happy customer into a happy customer who bought something.
Wearable tech, especially smartwatches, creates the opportunity for retailers to take the retail experience not only past the brick-and-mortar, but also beyond social. The technology allows the consumer to be connected 24/7.
The great thing about wearable tech is that it doesn’t have to replace something that’s already available; it can complement the entire omnichannel retail experience. In an interview with Retail TouchPoints, Drazena Ivicic, Global Product Marketing and Strategy at Intershop, says wearable tech works because a watch is always on someone’s wrist. There isn’t any worry that they’ve set it down to go to the next room or left it in their car.
To complete the omnichannel experience, retailers can ping a consumer when their online order has been dropped off at home or send a coupon as they near the shoe department. Consumers are able to receive relevant reminders of retailers at a time they may actually need, and be able to use, them.
For many of these devices, we are still watching the early adopters and innovators take their first attempt at incorporating them into their processes and strategies. It doesn’t look like this technology is going anywhere, however. Nielsen data shows a high interest level in the four categories of wearable technology (fitness bands, smartwatches, mHealth devices, and head-mounted displays).
Wearable technology is a trend that is just beginning to take off. Will these devices continue to help make business processes more efficient while also helping connect a brand with the consumer?