Better functionality and affordability are making wearables increasingly popular. In 2015 alone, over 78 million wearable devices from fitness trackers to Apple watches were shipped. And as they’re adopted by more and more people, they promise to both disrupt and provide opportunities that businesses need to be ready for.
Those opportunities include another channel to reach customers, access to valuable consumer data as people go about their daily lives and, starting to gain in importance - more convenient payment options. This underlines the need for businesses to incorporate the increasing use of wearables into their future marketing and sales strategies.
The Internet of Things - and wearables specifically - are greatly increasing the number of touchpoints that businesses can use to access customers with highly targeted and contextual marketing messages. But before that can be effective, businesses need to gain access to the detailed data generated and collected about our lifestyle and habits. There is also still the problem of how to effectively use all of that data and turn it into value for companies and customers alike. But as our ability to manage and process the massive amounts of data improves, so will the ability to personalize the buying experience for customers and, importantly, increase conversions.
For example, an online organic meal supplier could recommend specific dishes to potential customers based on current levels of activity and weight loss goals. For this to happen however, sophisticated data analysis becomes essential. Currently, marketers must sift through large volumes of information, extracting specific insights which can be used to target potential customer groups. But if this can be done automatically so that the right solution is presented to the right customer just as they are making a buying decision, the conversion and revenue potential is huge.
Juniper Research estimates that mobile and wearable payments will reach $95 billion by 2018, up from less than $35 billion in 2015. Innovative technologies for payments are emerging quickly and are providing unique opportunities for merchants. WISP (Wearable Interactive Stamp Platform) provides a stamp that can be applied to your body and used for NFC payments. This has the possibility of transforming the way people make cashless payments. For example, events such as concerts or festivals are starting to issue stickers that provide the ability to make payments with all the vendors at the venue and contain personal information on the attendee.
Vendors that are equipped to use the sticker to process payments will have a leg up on the competition. And those that leverage the personal information to produce unique compelling offers will rise head and shoulders above the competition.
The ability to integrate with a variety of payment options is morphing into a must-have for any viable ecommerce business. One example of this technology in action is the announcement by MasterCard that they are collaborating with Coin to provide the hardware and software to be integrated with the MasterCard Digital Enablement Service to provide payment functionality with consumer products. This collaboration is in line with the Commerce for Every Device program, which MasterCard announced in October 2015 aiming to transform any gadget, accessory or wearable into a payment device.
Without doubt, these initiatives demonstrate that wearables will dramatically change the way we make buying decisions and the manner in which we pay. Businesses who embrace this emerging trend and prepare their ecommerce platform for the plethora of data and payment devices on the horizon are poised to enjoy a significant competitive advantage over those who don’t.