Place yourself in a store 10 or even 20 years from now. What do you see? Has the 4D store concept come to life? Is mobile as present as it is today or has wearable technology taken its place? Our questions could go on and on, but one thing is for sure, wearables will occupy a huge role in the future of retail. Looking at the frequency of in-store interactions, wearable technologies and the industry are a thundercloud in the making, stirring up anticipation as we await the next big bang!
Wearables will effect two sides of retail; retailers themselves and consumers.
For starters Google Glass, paired with facial recognition technology, could play a huge role in identifying and better serving your target audience. Picture this, you’re an employee at an apparel store sporting Google Glass. A customer walks into your store. With the required information already gathered through facial recognition of the specific customer, you approach them pre-exposed to their name, size, and apparel preferences within your store. How you ask? Simply by looking at them. With the combination of wearables and facial recognition, you are ready to ride into action and better serve your customer. The customer begins to browse the store. They come to a stop because something has caught their eye. A disappointed look appears on their face because they realize you don’t have their size. Their disappointed face soon changes as they make contact with you to help deliver what they need. Quickly, without even having to ask the customer’s size, an awkward and uncomfortable question for some, you use your trusty Galaxy Gear Watch by Samsung to scan the product. PRESTO! You now have all the stock information for the specific product on your wrist along with their size information from your Google Glass in eye sight. No need to waste valuable time going to the back store and scanning through the piles of merchandise you carry, or even walking to your nearest computer. You find out you have their size and then send them on their way, a happier customer.
Smoother sale, less wait time, and more productivity from the sales staff. What more can a retailer ask for?
Apps like Google Wallet and Passbook grant users lighter pockets and purses by allowing them to leave their wallets at home. But what will happen once wearables move past their early-adoption stages?
Let’s step back into the retail store but this time as a shopper.
You’re a customer walking to the cash with a product in hand. You go to pay and instead of using your smartphone or wallet, you’re equipped with a more technologically advanced “Geek Ring.” Presently, The Geek Ring, allows wearers to communicate with digital devices via NFC communication. Now let’s imagine this future Geek Ring has the ability to store your credit and debit card information. Instead of having to go into your pocket, you could simply pass your hand in front of the pin pad (much like you would for Pay Pass) and your payment is done; that simple!
In conclusion, at the current rate of innovation these scenarios are likely to materialize in the not-so-distant future. During its start up phase, in the retail industry, wearables will most likely replace a lot of the functionalities that our mobile devices presently fulfill, leaving you with a much smoother, faster, and simpler experience.
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