Why the in-store customer experience is key for marketing wearable tech

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Almost half of Britons surveyed by experiential agency Fizz Experience are willing to spend £111 ($164) on a piece of wearable technology, with a majority saying the in-store experience is key to their making a purchase.

Even though online research was the most common method of looking up new products, according to 41% of respondents, 84% will ultimately purchase in-store, validating the ‘webrooming’ approach to technology consumption. When they are in-store, the most important factor is the ability to touch, feel and try new products (41%), followed by in-store demonstrations (31%) and expert knowledge from store staff (28%).

Fizz notes this as a warning shot to retailers to beef up both their in-store and online experience. Yet the agency also notes a disparity between consumer awareness and understanding of wearable tech. 48% of consumers are aware of the Apple Watch – though it will cost a little bit more than the £111 average price ceiling – yet only 21% feel they have an adequate knowledge of the product. It’s a similar story with the Sony SmartWatch (33% awareness, 16% knowledge) and the Samsung Galaxy Gear (22% awareness, 12% knowledge).

More than half (53%) of those polled said they would like to invest most in technology that improves their fitness, followed by wearable tech which alters style and appearance (27%). Women (66%) were more likely to invest in health and fitness wearable products than men (45%).

“Considering how new the concept of wearable technology is to the general public, it is extremely encouraging to see such a high percentage of Britons wanting to invest in a piece of wearable technology,” Fizz PR manager Andy Youings wrote in a company blog post.

He added: “There is a big opportunity for brands to meet consumer demand, and for retailers of wearable technology to invest in their in-store experience as a fundamental part in the customer’s route to purchase.”

There are still very interesting questions to answer from the brand and marketing perspective as the first and second generation wearables come to fruition. With the demise of the original Google Glass and the push from Apple to create a $10,000 gold smartwatch, it’s clear fashion will have a major part to play in the technology’s development.

Similarly, the positioning of the product will have to be considered; Krispin Lawrence, co-founder and CEO at wearable tech firm Ducere Technologies, told an audience at Apps World Europe in November how wearables should be sold as part of general clothing, not among other tech products.

What are your views on the best way to market wearable tech? Let us know in the comments...

If you are interested in wearables, please visit IoT Tech Expo Europe in London's Olympia this December, 2-3, 2015. 

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