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Consumers Expect Wearables To Enhance The In-Store Experience

30 percent of smartphone owners have purchased or will purchase wearables for in-store convenience, alerts, and mobile payments.

Wearables for consumer-facing and business purposes are starting to show greater appeal, as more than a quarter of mobile users indicate that that they will have this kind of connected device on their person over the course of a year, according to a survey cited by eMarketer.

The research, conducted by technology ratings and reviews company PowerReviews, shows that, as of this past April, 30 percent of U.S smartphone owner have already bought, or plan to buy a Wearable within the next 12 months. Of this group, 82 percent say they are interested in using Wearables as a tool to enhance their in-store experience.

Nearly half say of the 30 percent cited say that they expect Wearables to save them time while shopping. Twenty-eight percent of respondent say they hope to receive event reminders while in the aisles, and a quarter said they specifically want alerts that can help them divert long lines in a store.

Using Wearables for mobile payments is also appealing; with 22 percent of survey participants saying they’re interested in touch-free or one-click payments at checkout. One-fifth of respondents expressed interest in using interactive maps features on their Wearables.

If nothing else, the data shows that many consumers expect their Wearable device to play an active role in their in-store journeys, which is welcome news to the brick-and-mortars who have been wary about if and how to use technology like the Apple Watch for marketing purposes. Industry analysts have warned of the risk of being interruptive or invasive, with some altogether ruling out the potential of the Apple Watch as a marketing medium.

The key, it appears, is for location-based marketers not necessarily to push products and/or offers on the tiny screen, but to bolster the aspects of ease, convenience, and privilege. Consumers want their shiny new toy to do cool and helpful stuff. That isn’t thrown out the window in a retail environment; in fact, that’s where it could be the most important.