Wearables are widely forecast to follow smartphones as the next major technology trend and there has been a huge amount of hype around products like Google Glass and the Apple Watch.
As the technology is still in its infancy the opportunities for marketers have been limited so far, but as always with disruptive technologies it’s those who take risks and act first that will likely reap the biggest rewards.
To help marketers get an understanding of wearables and the opportunities and threats it brings, Econsultancy has published a new report called A Marketer’s Guide to Wearable Technology.
It aims to demystify the world of wearable technology, give you an overview of the current state of wearables in key markets and explain how your company can succeed in the wearable space.
Author Martin Talks has identified seven big opportunities that are presented by the adoption of wearable tech.
Here’s a quick run-through the areas he identified:
1. New customer experiences
Customer experience has become a high priority for marketers as it enables brands to differentiate themselves from the competition and increase customer lifetime value (CLV).
Wearables can deliver new customer experiences that extend the brand ecosystem, allowing companies to take a much wider role in a customer’s life.
For example, a company that traditionally sold tech products can now become the supplier of a service through wearable tech.
Econsultancy’s Matt Owen tries Google Glass
2. New revenue streams
With new products come new revenue streams.
Brands that sell wearables can also sell add-ons such as digital services or subscriptions, leading to higher CLV.
Wearables as a Service (WaaS)? I’m going to copyright a new buzzword…
If products also provide an on-going service then this will also impact customer loyalty.
It makes sense that the more you get from a product the more you are going to use it, and equally if you have invested lots of your time and personal data (e.g. health tracking) into a wearable then you are less likely to abandon it for something else.
It can also link to other services, such as travel paying points that people use several times a day.
More straightforwardly, brands can use wearable tech very directly as part of their loyalty schemes.
Brand advocacy is the light at the end of the marketing funnel.
Customer endorsements have greater impact than a brand singing its own praises, as is evident with the importance of user reviews in driving ecommerce sales.
Wearables, by their very nature, offer a highly visible way for people to show off their support for that brand.
This is amplified if digital services are then tied into social media.
Data is the new oil! Another excellent marketing catchphrase for you there, but one that actually holds more than an element of truth.
Wearables give brands access to a wealth of customer data directly from the source and without the distorting affect of focus groups or surveys.
Many of the current crop of wearables come with a screen, e.g. smartwatches or Google Glass and its various rivals.
This obviously presents new opportunities for advertisers, though it will take a huge amount of subtlety and self-control to ensure that ads in wearables don’t become spammy and invasive.
Contextual ads based around where a person is or what they’re viewing have the potential to be hugely powerful.
7. Internal performance
Ultimately the brands most likely to succeed in the wearable space are not just those that see wearables as a way of selling more products or gathering more data, but those who understand that wearable technology is going to change the way we all live and work.
Internal adoption of wearable technology within brands will speed up this understanding. It will also lead to greater productivity.
Furthermore, the benefits of these products will increase as the ecosystem around the Internet of Things begins to mature.
Wearables will then have access to a greater range of data and can plug-in to different services.
This expands the opportunities for brands to play a wider role in their customers’ lives.
Martin Talks suggests that 2015 would be a great year for all brands to think about how they can harness the potential of wearable technology.
It’s not an easy task, but whatever wearable route you choose to follow it’s essential to maintain a strong focus on the customer experience.
“As never before the world will revolve around the customer who will be at the centre of his or her truly networked world.
So considering how a wearable will be useful, entertaining and/or participatory in a way that is relevant to that customer is vital in any wearable strategy.
The customer will decide if a company’s wearable technology succeeds or fails.”
For an in-depth look at this topic download our new report, A Marketer’s Guide to Wearable Technology.