While Google Glass isn’t quite a brand spanking new idea, having been around for a few years now, it’s still a fair way away from becoming mass marketed and as widely used as other recently developed technologies such as tablet computers. Although it’s available to buy, the technology is essentially an incomplete product still in beta testing, hence the lofty $1,500 price tag.
That being said, there are already plenty of innovative uses for Google Glass, especially in the retail industry. But can it really help retailers, or will it simply hinder them?
Retailers need to properly understand how Glass can fit into their ecosystem and improve the customer experience on each stage of the shopping cycle – think searching for store directions, product information or availability, offers and alternatives. Handsets have certainly helped retailers both online and offline, giving them the means to link their customers’ devices and data to offer a shopping experience that’s tailored to the individual – surely Google Glass’s wearable technology can provide an an even better and more intuitive experience that’s in sync with both customer and retailer?
Customers could use Glass to check their bank balance and make a decision on whether to buy that pair of jeans, or the jeans and a pair of shoes, or Glass could replace old fashioned recipe books and shopping lists. Say the customer is walking through a supermarket and decides they want to cook something for lunch. They could simply ask Glass to bring up recipe ideas for “chicken breasts” for example, then use that recipe as their shopping list. They can even use Google Glass while cooking to save space and eliminate the worry of spilling sauces on cookbooks or tablets.
Perhaps Glass could take the concept of mPos to an entirely different level where customer and sales assistant don’t even need to be in the same place – say, for example, the customer scans a barcode, they could then view their payment options and complete the transaction on the spot, while the sales assistant receives a notification of the sale on their device and bags the goods for collection or delivery.
Imagine how much easier sopping would be if the customer could create a profile which stores data on their measurements, order history, preferences and budget, think of the marketing possibilities for retailers – and also the benefits for the customer, who can now be offered a personalised shopping experience which could help save them both time and money.
Retailers could use Glass to instantly access information on stock levels and access inventory management software, which they would otherwise have to either check a computer or – worse – the stock room for. Or a customer who has browsed a shop’s products online can add products they like to a wishlist, and then find information on stock levels, offers etc for that product when they go in store. Glass could even recommend items which compliment those products.
Ultimately, as with any in-store technology, it’s important that the innovation offers value to the retailer as well as the customer. If the service is too time consuming or complicated, the customer won’t want to use it, and if it’s not cost-effective, neither will the retailer. At the end of the day, any new technologies that retailers implement must deliver better customer service if it’s going to help their bottom line.
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