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Three ways retailers are using wearables to bolster brand loyalty

Wearable technology is emerging from the novelty phase, and retailers are now starting to integrate them into loyalty programmes. With CCS Insight predicting that the wearables… View Article


Three ways retailers are using wearables to bolster brand loyalty

Wearable technology is emerging from the novelty phase, and retailers are now starting to integrate them into loyalty programmes. With CCS Insight predicting that the wearables market will be worth $25bn by 2019, it’s clear that there’s a massive opportunity for retailers.

Businesses like Disney, TUI and Walgreens have shown that wearables can be used to make the customer’s life easier, by using this technology; loyalty schemes can ensure that their customer’s experience is as smooth as possible. Retailers can offer better support to their loyalty programme members as they strive for their goals, and gain a deeper insight into how the business can fit into and around a person’s life. Even something as simple as allowing people to check on and redeem their points via their smartwatches can go a long way towards making the customer’s life easier.

Wearables help to create personalised rewards and content
Retailers can track what a customer does on their site and in their stores to varying degrees, but it’s been difficult to track journey’s to purchase that start online and end in-store (and vice-versa). Wearable tech can help with this, allowing retailers to get a better picture of what their customers are interested in, and helping them create personalised rewards. For example, some trainer brands are building step trackers into their shoes. These trackers can feed data into the brand’s app, allowing the brand to reward people not on a generic fitness goal, but reward them for meeting targets tailored to them. This provides the brand with a great way to continue engaging with customers beyond transactions.

Wearables can also help retailers deliver a personalised in-store experience. A few years ago, Nike started providing people with unique in-store displays based on data from their Nike Fuel wristbands. Of course, this kind of idea would need to be opt-in. In a survey Comarch conducted in 2017, 45% of UK consumers questioned were interested in personalised offers based on the data they generated. Wearables can help deliver what customers want.

Wearables help retailers reduce customer effort.
Customer effort scores have risen slightly in the past year. In an increasingly competitive landscape, reducing customer effort should be a priority for retailers, but it’s something that many businesses struggle with. KPMG found that 85% of operators they contacted did not provide a call back option to customers.

Disney’s Magic Band 2 (launched in 2017) is one example of a wearable introduced to reduce customer effort and increase convenience. It lets people unlock their hotel rooms, buy food and merchandise, and makes their progress around the park faster.

Retailers exploring omnichannel solutions may want to consider incorporating payments via wearable technology (such as Apple Pay and the Apple watch) as they can help to create a seamless experience for customers at the point of sale.
Deloitte has discussed the potential of ‘line of sight’ wearables, like Google Glass, to heighten a customer’s in-store experience by sending personalised content directly to the individual shopper.

Retailers are also using wearables behind the scenes to fulfil orders faster and give employees the information they need to upsell products that they think the customer will be interested in. Some smart glasses even allow employees to connect with customers online so that they can demonstrate the product to the customer even though they’re not in the shop.

Research by Interactions found that 90% of customers who said they spend less time than they had expected on a customer service interaction were “content” when the interaction had ended. Thirty-four per cent of people questioned felt that their time had been wasted, as the time to resolution was much longer than the complexity of the issue. Customers appreciate it when retailers respect their time, and wearable technology is providing a way for retailers to make their transactions more efficient.

Wearables allow retailers to influence and reward behaviour
Wearables offer retailers a way to influence and reward customer behaviour. In America, pharmacy retailer Walgreens lets people link their fitness app or tracking device to their loyalty account to earn reward points for participating in healthy activities. This allows the brand to have an ongoing role in their loyalty scheme member’s lives and it gives them a way to back up their values with actions. 

Trackers for pets – like PitPat – are now being used to monitor pet activity and could lead to reduced insurance premiums, but there’s also great potential for pet retailers to incorporate the data into their own loyalty programmes (the pet wearables market is predicted to be worth US$2.712 billion by 2023).

As in the case with Nike Fuel, retailers can use wearables in conjunction with apps to create customer communities around people’s interests and goals. This forges a stronger bond between the brand and customer and ensures that they keep in touch beyond occasional transactions.

The wearable market is expanding, and retailers are looking at ways that they can use the technology to strengthen their relationship with consumers. Juniper expects the wearable market to shift from wristbands to products like connected clothes and even jewellery.

With the market predicted to be worth $25bn by 2019, the opportunity for retailers is obvious. Wearables offer another great way for them to connect with customers and reward their loyalty. It’s worth researching what technology is out there, and is being developed now, to see how your business can use it to improve your customers’ experience.


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