You have probably heard about smartphones being used to make purchases at grocery stores, shopping centers and restaurants. Well, that’s old news. The latest trend that’s got consumers buzzing is the concept of wearable devices. Bracelets, watches, QR codes printed on fabric and even tattooed electronic sensors; these innovative products are changing the way that we interact with our environment, not the least of which is how we make purchases!
Commonly used accessories are being re-designed to extend their functionalities as payment devices. These are devices that many people wear daily and which are very convenient to use (plus they look cool). So, as a business owner, are you prepared to accept these payments? Is your business ready to handle customers who are not just carrying, but are literally wearing their wallets? Here is a quick overview of the most popular wearables followed by how to prepare your business for wearable tech as well as some key benefits.
Popular Wearable Products
While there are a number of devices that have built-in purchasing capabilities, the smart watches and glasses seem to be more promising as they are easy to use and will provide better opportunities to engage the consumers. Let’s look at some of the most talked about wearable payment devices.
Google Glass - Next Generation Shopping
There’s a lot of excitement created by the Google Glass in its promise to change the consumer’s shopping experiences. Retailers and small business owners can use this innovative device to enable their salesperson to give better customer service. Consumers may have already seen one of your product offers and might walk in with the QR code saved in their smartphone. Your sales executive can detect the customer’s interest with the help of an alert via Google Glass and direct them to buying the product. You can also delight your loyal customers with promotions on specific products they might be interested in, as soon as they walk into your store!
Remember that Google Glass enables your customer to do things that weren’t possible before, and that you may not be aware of. For example, while they’re browsing through various outfits, they may be checking in with their friends for feedback, or looking up their clothes spending for the month. You’ll want to make sure the wifi network bandwidth in your shop is sufficient for them to enjoy the experience fully.
Smart Watches / Wave-able Devices
These trendy watches can not only tell the time but also provide contact-less mobile payment options to their users, who can shop, eat and entertain with just a wave of their wrist!
The ‘Perry Go’ Watch by RumbaTime and ‘PayPass’ by MasterCard are great products that can be simply tapped or flashed in place of a credit card. They have in-built digital codes that are linked to the user’s credit card or bank account, allowing for safe and secure transactions.
PayPal Wearable - Apps for Wearable Tech
As wearable technology continues to become more sophisticated and mainstreamed, the market for app development will become more lucrative and open to players beyond the biggest names in payment. This said, PayPal has made its foray into creating apps for wearable devices subsequent to their rapid success in mobile commerce. It’s launching a new payment app for the Samsung wearables such as the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo Smart watches.
Consumers will be able to check-in to stores, make payments with the watch, earn and store rewards and even send person-to-person payments. They can also check their balance, track payment activity etc. and many more user-friendly features. Read more on PayPal’s latest initiatives at MobileCommerce.
Preparing Your Business for Wearable Payments
So, with these latest developments in contact-less payments, how do you prepare your business to meet the consumers' expectations? How can you bring wearable technology into your existing marketing strategy? We will discuss a few important points that will help you adjust some aspects of your business to better accept wearable payments:
- Survey your Target Audience
Find out how your potential consumers are using the latest technologies - be it mobile apps, wearable devices or social media. You need to understand their preferences before creating the right marketing plan.
- Adopt wearable technology into your Marketing Mix
Wearable devices are here to stay and their popularity is expected to rise at a steady pace in the coming 4-5 years. Integrate plans for wearable payments in your business along with creating a mobile and digital marketing strategy.
- Upgrade your systems
You need to attract consumers who have wearable devices and give them the options to use contact-less payments in your store. Upgrade your systems with the latest applications and hardware to make them wearable payment ready.
- Customer Engagement
Create notifications and promotions for your customers’ wearable devices. For example, send an instant alert to a consumer’s smart watch when you home-deliver his order or announce a deal through wearable advertising etc.
- Leverage Customer Data
Through wearable devices you can get insights into your customers’ buying patterns, preferences and other important data. This will help you plan your inventory, promotional campaigns and product offers in a timely manner that will ultimately improve your sales.
Learn more on how wearable technology is shaping today’s retail markets in this latest article featured on Retail TouchPoints.
Challenges in Adopting Wearable Technology
As some wearables are not strictly payment devices at times, they are subject to privacy concerns that extend beyond financial data .
- Respecting User Privacy
While wearable devices have a number of benefits for your business, do respect your customer’s privacy. For example, while using the Google Glass, be careful not to stare at your customers or for that matter appear to be recording their movements. It’s best to ask their permission while using the Glass or explain its features to put them at ease.
- Establishing Guidelines
Educate your employees in adopting a set of guidelines when it comes to use of customer’s data for business or communicating with each other. This will help you eliminate issues such as misuse of information or violation of customer privacy.
- Data Protection
It’s still early days for the wearable devices and yet to be integrated with high-security systems. Ensure that your wearable payments are not facing risks of security breach etc.
Key Benefits of Wearable Technology
In summary, wearable technology can help:
- Create better customer engagement and service
- Increase employee productivity and motivation
- Reduce operational costs
- Make payment processing more efficient
- Speed up and reduce the hassle of transactions
- To leverage customer information and increase sales
- Increase customer satisfaction and retention
While there are challenges to be overcome, small business owners can benefit tremendously from adopting wearable technology. They help you engage your customers effectively, provide them with greater service and also increase the productivity of your sales team. Overall, the adoption of wearable payments will not only help increase your sales but also enhance customer satisfaction.
Have a Smart Watch or Google Glass? A neurally-embedded microchip? Let us know how it's affecting your daily life in the comments below!