Wearables are once again making headlines. As they slowly receive mass adoption, and more people incorporate them into their day to day lives, new usage cases for wearables are being discovered. (even for surprisingly grisly uses, like solving a woman's murder)
But, aside from how consumers can get the most out of their wearables, are there practical applications for wearables in retail?
How can retail stores use wearables to transform the retail experience and wow their customers?
4 Ways to Supercharge Your Customer Experience With Wearables
Removing buying obstacles
One of the biggest obstacles retailers face is finding solutions to the dreaded queue. Every time the line to pay is more than a few people, retailers risk losing sales, and potentially even future customers.
Imagine a store with no cash registers. No waiting lines to pay. Your customer walks into the store, picks up the item they want, taps their watch on a payment processor, and walks out with their new purchase in hand.
Many smartwatches, and even some rings, already enable cardless and cashless payments. But why stop there?
Microchips are now being integrated with our clothing. Picture yourself paying for your morning coffee with the the cuff of your suit jacket, or the wrist of your glove.
It may sound futuristic, but it's actually already being used today.
And companies like Amazon are going even further. Amazon is currently testing a brand new store concept that has zero staff.
Ultra enhanced personalization
Have you ever seen Minority Report? The Tom Cruise movie about arresting people before they commit the crime they are destined to?
In the film, there are two scenes that depict the future of personalized retail. See if you can spot where I'm going with this...
This future is set in the year 2037. We're still 20 years away and yet, we're already close to making this a reality.
In the movie, optical scanners are used to determine the identity of the person that walks into the store. For obvious legal reasons, that won't happen anytime soon. (but don't think that we don't have the tech to do that, because we definitely do)
But, wearables are poised to offer a similar version of personalization, in a (somewhat) less creepy way.
The only current barrier to this reality is getting customers to opt-in to receive this personalization. You can't just connect to the devices of your customers without their consent.
Consumers are slowly getting used to offering their personal data in exchange for personalization. As they do, keep your eye out for this kind of tech to pop-up in major retail stores.
Optimize in-store layouts
Knowing where and when your associates are spending most of their time on the floor is immensely valuable. Fitting your associates with wearables will enable you to track their location in your store throughout the day.
With one quick glance at the heat graph above, we can determine that this store's associates spend most of their time on products at the center of the store. Meanwhile, products in the corners are largely ignored.
You can now try to determine why the blue sections of the store are being ignored. Are customers ignoring those sections? Is the upkeep and maintenance of those sections being neglected? Are all of the delicious snacks being kept in the red areas?
Once again we see the value of putting your data to work for you.
Having your entire team outfitted with wearables can streamline communication and optimize many of your back-end processes.
Here are a few practical uses for wearables in retail communication:
- Silently alert associates that they are needed at the cashier (that is, if you still have one)
- Send an associate to meet a customer in aisle 24 that has requested help
- Check stock by scanning the barcode and sending the info to the stock room, without leaving the customer in front of you
- Notify all associates of emergencies at once
With wearables becoming more affordable by each passing day, outfitting your entire team with one isn't far fetched anymore. And the investment will be more than worth it when taking into account the increased efficiency.
Wearables can make an impact on both sides of retail
Wearables have great potential to improve the retail experience for both retailers and customers.
Retailers can use them to streamline communication, boost collaboration, optimize store layouts and make their backend processes more efficient.
Customers have the opportunity to receive a drastically improved and more personal customer experience.
The best way to try out a wearable program with your stores is to give it a try. Make attempts, fail, learn from it, then optimize. Eventually, you'll succeed in creating a forward-thinking retail store that even the writers of Minority Report would be jealous of.
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