Insights

Wearables: A New Medium for Marketers

Managing Director - AU
Valtech Australia

June 29, 2015

As the wearables market continues to evolve, there is much speculation about where this is heading and whether brands should be thinking about implementing this technology into their strategies now.  

In the past year, wearables have emerging from test-market mode into a serious customer engagement option for savvy marketers and retailers.

Wearables have evolved through various phases, with initial plays in the wrist-band and watch space continuing to lead the charge. In parallel to this, glasses and goggle-based wearables have also been growing - at a more reserved pace due to the highly publicised demise of Google Glass, along with the fact most people want their wearables to be invisible.

Enhancing the Customer Experience

Brands are increasingly becoming aware of these consumer hardware requirements and now understand that wearable technology needs to be specifically adapted to suit particular environments.

Despite the initial setback in the goggles and glasses market, interesting developments are occurring, with companies such as Samsung and Oculus recognising that they can enhance consumer experiences through wearable technology, creating 3D Virtual Reality (VR) goggles that are ideal for at-home experiences, whether this be gaming, immersive shopping or social.

Facebook, Google and Samsung, for example, are making big bets on VR as they believe it will significantly change the at-home shopping experience and drive consumer ecommerce.

Empowering the Consumer

Then there are wearables that are integrated into everyday experiences, with brands looking to add invisible chips into clothing to track activity, or even provide instant access to physical spaces. In this way, brands are empowering the consumer to choose and personalise their own hardware.

Retailers should now be fully aware of the wearables that consumers will bring with them when entering their domain, as these provide a whole new medium to market to their customer. Retailers would be smart to start to take a serious look at how potential customers could engage better with their physical environment through this technology.

Data is a great tool to assist with this. When retailers understand their consumers’ behaviour, they can use these wearables as another portal to highlight special offers, and even enhance a seamless customer experience. For example, wearables can provide the next level of contactless payments - where consumers are able to swipe their watch at a pay pass terminal to make purchases.

Ultimately, wearables should be about creating technology tailored to a consumer’s physical environment that enhances their experience. For marketers it’s no longer a case of ‘if’ wearables will take off; it’s now a case of ‘how’ and ‘when’ to implement them.