Enjoy this trip down memory lane:
Wearing a communication device on your wrist has been a dream since the days of Dick Tracy. We were almost there in the 80’s, with calculator watches and ones you could use to play music or games. Then the cell phone came along and got smaller and smaller and we all forgot about our dream wristwatch. Until now.
The one downside to a cell phone is that it has to be held in the palm of your hand. Yes, companies have created carriers and armbands and slings of all kinds, but I’d guess that the majority of smartphone users keep them in their hand for long periods of time. I didn’t used to be one of those people, until I discovered the joy of thrift shopping. Look the items up on the eBay app, find the hidden treasures and cha-ching! I’m in the money.
But a phone in the hand isn’t worth two of anything. Oh if only that computer was strapped to my wrist – I’d have both hands free and I’d still have easy access to information.
What does all of this have to do with marketing? Plenty.
Frank N. Magid Associates’ latest nationwide study, The Heartbeat of Connected Culture: Smartphones and Tablets has this to say:
Smartphones are becoming a force in the brick-and-mortar retail environment. An impressive two-thirds (66%) of users aged 18-34 now interact with retailers in-store on their smartphones. However, Magid’s nationally representative consumer survey shows retailers and brands lag far behind consumer expectations for a mobile-enhanced shopping experience.
Ecommerce dollars are increasingly coming from tablets with the tablet emerging as a primary purchasing tool. Half (50%) of tablet users are regularly shopping online with their device, with an average annual e-commerce spend of $230 annually per user on tablet.
The survey also notes that wearable tech has the potential to be a game changer. 43% of consumers said they were interested in wearable tech and 50% of 18-34’s wanted more options for mobile payments.
Scanning a bar code with your cell phone isn’t hard – but imagine if all you had to do was touch the face of your wristwatch to a product. In return, you get reviews, price points from different retailers and a buy button. Press buy, confirm and it’s charged to a card you already registered. Then you walk out with your item or, if you bought it online at a better price, it shows up at your home three days later. No shipping addresses to enter. No typing out credit card info. No standing in line waiting for a checker who can’t figure out how to make change for a fifty.
This type of commerce will take impulse buying to the next level. That means that advertisers and package designers and merchandisers will need to step up their game. You’ll get one short shot at reeling in the customer before they decide between you and your competitor.
Getting back to the smartwatch. . . It takes only seconds to locate your mobile phone, pull it out and swipe to activate but that’s double the time it would take to activate a smartwatch. We’re an impatient civilization, if smartwatches catch on, those few seconds will change everything about the way we shop.