Wearable technology is without a doubt the next big thing.

As more millennials enter the workforce, mobile technology is becoming more and more prevalent. Recent trends point to a definite increase in wearable technology, and the global wearables market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 35 percent over the next five years. Euromonitor reported that sales of autonomous wearables are projected to exceed 305 million units in 2020. That’s much higher than other electronics like laptops and TVs, although still below the smartphone.

What Are Wearables?

The new age of wearable technology is connecting consumers to retail in ways that weren’t possible before. The tech is laden with smart sensors and uses a web connection to transmit data to a smartphone or computer. The sensors connect with the person wearing the tech and can offer them information about their goals – whether that is to stay fit, lose weight, be more organized, or save money. Wearables can be worn as a wristwatch or pair of eyeglasses, or clipped to the body or clothing..

Still Improving

One thing impacting the popularity of wearables is that items like fitness bands and miscellaneous devices cater to niche audiences. Consumers don’t always understand the benefits of wearables. There are also some barriers in the customer experience, like the size of the screen on some devices, the necessity to be connected to a smartphone, short battery life, and apps that have to be connected to the device.

What Do They Have to Do With Retail?

Despite these shortcomings, wearables are quickly becoming a huge part of retail space. They are being used to create an even better customer experience by collecting real-time data. Customers can use wearable technology to check in, interact with a brand, get a faster checkout, and more. They can come prepared with e-coupons and get access to deals and promotions. Wearables make it easier for brands to reward customers and set up membership and loyalty programs. Understanding the rise of wearables can help companies gain insight on how to improve retail sales.

Wearable tech also helps make customer experiences omnichannel by adding real-time data and related analytics. Retail execution can be much more effective and efficient, because customers don’t have to use multiple channels in order to complete a purchase or transition between e-commerce and brick and mortar shopping.

What To Expect From Wearables

Smart wearable technology allows for the enhanced retail experience consumers are looking for. According to consumers, the importance of collecting retail data is secondary only to dietary, exercise, and medical information. It also helps retailers because they have insight into what consumers are doing in-store and can more accurately respond to their needs or gaps in their experience.

Apple and Google are both at the forefront of the wearable technology market, and it’s likely we’ll see other competitors jumping into the game, too. Sony is coming out with a smartwatch, dozens of companies are already producing fitness bracelets, and smart T-shirts and other implantables help track own bodies functions and behavior more closely.

It’s an exciting time in the tech world and an important time to be keeping on top of the trends that will help your retail business succeed.

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