With shop vacancy rates reaching a ten year high and retail sales failing to reach pre-recession levels, a new report has revealed that wearable technology devices could revitalise the role of physical retail stores. Even before the public availability of Google Glass has been confirmed, findings show that almost a third of consumers (28 per cent) would use the wearable technology to access in-store promotions and over a quarter (27 per cent) would also like to be kept informed of local offers via the device.
The “Wearable Technology: The High Street’s Secret Weapon?” report, from digital commerce solutions provider Venda, commissioned YouGov to poll the views of a representative sample of 2,043 UK adults on their attitudes toward the new technology. The report findings show how these devices have the ability to market to consumers and the potential to encourage purchases when shopping on the high street - via location based promotions, in-store mapping and exclusive in-store offers.
The ability of wearable technology to improve the customer journey at all stages of the shopping cycle, can easily guide customer to their desired items in-store and ultimately drive footfall and sales. Google Glass, could help consumers plan their shopping routes and search for available stock and product ideas to purchase while in-store.
More than one in five consumers (22 per cent) said they would like to be able to unlock additional offers and promotions, via digital screens such as billboards or store window displays, highlighting Google Glass’s ability to harness impulse buys through instant offers.
Eric Abensur, Group CEO of Venda commented: “Wearable technology has the potential to help both consumers and retailers. Consumers will be able to make informed purchase decisions and redeem offers, while Glass will help retailers promote the visibility of products on social networks in a novel and engaging way. However this and other in-store technology innovations that retailers choose to implement need to be intuitive, approachable and accessible to truly take off”.
As retailers continue to struggle with the concept of ‘show rooming’, the arrival of wearable technology will further encourage the surge in this practice. As consumers increasingly head to shops to inspect goods ahead of making a purchasing decision, while simultaneously checking product details online, such as price comparisons and reviews, this trend is set to rise when devices such as Google Glass hit the market.
47 per cent of the consumers who said retailers should allow customers to wear Glass in-store felt that retailers should be thinking of ways to use Glass to enhance the customer shopping experience.
Despite the potential advantages Google Glass offers retailers, 79 per cent of UK adults said they would feel a degree of embarrassment using the wearable technology – a viewpoint more pronounced by women (82 per cent).
Although it is yet to debut in the UK, 19 per cent of UK consumers expressed fears that Google Glass would attract unwanted attention and felt that the highly visible high-tech devices might be the target of theft.
Abensur added, “Google transformed the ecommerce space and is now set to do the same for retailers with bricks and mortar stores. There is an appetite among consumers for this type of technology in-store and where there is appetite there is also opportunity. If high street retailers take proactive steps to incorporate the technology into their strategies, they are giving themselves the best chance to revive and revitalise their revenues”.