“Retail is about offering consumers the products and services they want, on the devices and media they intend to use.”
A throng of third party shopping reports reveal consumers are missing “something” from their in-store retail shopping experiences. The two missing ingredients which account for over 70 percent of the findings are a relevant, personalized shopping experience and knowledgeable employees to help them buy right. Consumers are missing and pining for “something” through their physical in-store shopping experience. Something that allows them to self-serve a personalized, relevant shopping experience. Something to offer instant-knowledge-gratification at the last three feet of the retail aisle. Here’s the great news: something is coming to satisfy and energize consumers and its coming right now. That special something will also energize and profitably capitalize manufacturers and retailers who muscle up their organizations appropriately.
That something has recently arrived. Aggressively, with mammoth consumer expectations for achieving much needed in-store and personal life enhancements. Something is vacuuming up consumer attention, interest, conviction and yes much needed profitable demand. Major and minor manufacturers are hyper-architecting and preparing market navigation of this special shiny something. Retailers are re-sizing and re-counting shelf-space-footage and opportunity hunting for potential share growth, pining for desperately needed consumer in-store traffic inclines. Carriers like AT&T, Verizon and others are salivating for the prospect of more data more quickly promulgated across these consumer-cool retail-profitable somethings. App developers are cooking, baking and heating up a multitude of relevant categories focused on-board experiences from healthy living to self-measurement to connectivity to “infinity and beyond.” CMOs, CIOs and CFOs are estimating forecasts and market-build costs while building new infrastructures for advanced competitive advantage.
Yes you know just what this colossal market making something is. We are clearly moving into a highly prosperous new economy in consumer electronics fueled by wearable “somethings”: wearable technologies. This mounting economic force has the potential to become an inflection point of significant revenue impact across manufacturers, retailers, software developers: especially impacting internet-demanding, tech-commanding, knowledge-expanding shoppers. These devices are a culmination of decades of shrinking software, technologies and active node infrastructures advantaged by global and local hub-cloud connections. Wearables are prime “meat” to extend and append consumer social networking as well as manufacturers and retailers social engineering infrastructures to the next phase of personalized, one-to-one evolution. Wearables will over-leverage today’s smart mobile devices through the tiniest, most fashionable and shiny form factors, offering hyper-advances in camera lenses, voice recognition, biometrics, social engagements, on-demand cloud storage, advanced battery retention, global video communications and fashionable wardrobe statements.
Early market exposed smart wearables like Samsung Galaxy Gear or Google Glass or watches like InPulse Smart Notification Watch expose consumers to new ways to collect, capture, view and project content on the go. All the while, health and medical wearable devices like Nike FuelBand, FitBit Flex and Force, Jawbone collect and analyze your health data to maximize physical exercise, to improve personal wellness. Other medical devices, arriving in varying flavors of cosmetics and designs will monitor biometric data such as pulse, blood sugar levels, cholesterol heights, heart monitoring as well as even varying early cancer triggers and alarms.
None of this is a pipe dream states Credit Suisse’s recent research report, but rather potential for a $50 billion dollar global market opportunity by the year 2017. And according to a recent IDC – ZDNet report, wearable tech shipments will surpass 100 million units by 2018. Retailers and manufacturers are already on the brave hunt. This week Amazon announced the launch of a new Wearable Technology store which will include products from such brands as Samsung, Jawbone and GoPro. In addition, a newspaper in Asia, The China Times, reports that Apple's highly-rumored "iWatch" computer is already in small-scale production and will be available in the second quarter of this year.
Regarding retail enhancements in consumer shopping experiences and profitable retail enhancements, here are just four of ten axiomatic, perfect and practical shopping applications and implications to best super-size profitable in-store shopping baskets:
1. Perfect Content: Google Glass and other lens devices connected to the cloud super-extend the truest Omni-channel retail model beyond four concrete walls. Active glass that envelopes knowledge, predicts consumer preference, coordinates shopping intentions and demands. Imagine consumers walking up to any product, receiving the dignity of knowledge across facets of features, reviews, services, pricing including positive recommendations from social networks. Enjoying a product video in one eye, while physically touching the product and simultaneously purchasing the product with a tilt of the head. Perfect content leads to perfect buying.
2. Perfect Data: Retailers will smartly permission-base-leverage consumer CRM and SCRM data collected through the ecosystem of wearable technologies. This granted data can be thoroughly integrated into retail reward programs. The collective can assure contact and content relevancy in brand, size, color, price or help to guide the customer experience strategy. Perfect data leads to perfect buying.
3. Perfect Shopping: Wearables will kindly and profitably be alerted of in-store events, specials and new product launches while walking through the store or siting in their living room. Wearable’s enhance a consumers most important motivators: personalization and activation. With personalized, highly relevant messages the basket integrates additional products, increases in profitability. This level of perfect shopping boomerangs consumers to traffic back again for more. Wearable’s can also instant-motivate digital crowd source price incentives right in-store-glass-aisle. Perfect shopping leads to perfect buying.
4. Perfect product integration: Again with consumer agreement, wearable’s can transmit data to chosen retailers to allow for brand, product, pricing and overall preference profiling. Knowing that a consumer tracks all they eat on their wearable a chosen retailer could recommend a weight scale or perhaps relevant weight loss devices or pills to help the consumer to reach their targeted weight. They can also alert manufacturing partners of required product enhancements to fuel next-gen product demand. Perfect product integration leads to perfect buying.
Peter Weedfald is president of Gen One Ventures and author of Green Reign Leadership