A retail spectacle?

It's rare that a piece of technology is as celebrated and derided as Google Glass. With a $1500 price tag, Glass is adorned almost exclusively by celebrities and tech-VIPs. Despite the hype the device has been met with heavy criticism. Uptake has been slow but has left us wondering just what impact Google's wearable tech will have on business? Or even society?

We are still yet to see mass adoption, and it'll be a while until we see the mass application of the technology - for now the device's only real impact on our everyday lives is the eye strain it supposedly causes.

In the crowded and fiercely competitive retail arena technologies are already battling for primacy. We've already looked at iBeacons and other innovations, but just what does Glass have to offer?

Location-based offers

Whilst email sign-ups and newsletter marketing has become standard practice, its continued efficacy is questionable. Even when ‘free delivery for the next 48 hours’ catches your eye, there are a dozen other offers all vying for your attention and ultimately your purchase. How then, can retailers overcome this problem of inbox saturation?

The answer lies in relevance: catching the consumer’s attention at the right time. Using location based technology, a similar concept to the iBeacon, Google Glass has the potential to create and deliver consumer alerts and/or offers that are not only personalised, but triggered according to the consumer’s location.

Consumer alerts

Over the last couple of years consumers have become increasingly aware of ad retargeting - a cookie-based technology that follows users around the web. Gaining insights from browsing and search behaviour, retailers can retarget and remarket their wares to consumers. Whilst wholly unnerving, it is a recognised selling tactic and one that web users seem willing to accept.

As is often the case with Google, its reach is far broader than the previously-outlined sticky cookies. Google Glass syncs with your Google account, and therefore your search history, Facebook activity and email subscriptions to make comprehensive, personalised suggestions about products or services that are almost certainly to be of specific interest to an individual consumer.

Virtual shopping

Whilst online retailers offer an element of ‘virtual experience’, through online services like Virtusize, a new concept under development by Eyevel could mean that you can connect to an in-store sales assistant through Google Glass and see their view of the product, whilst asking questions and seeking advice or product information. This provides a personal, human interaction that is more flexible than any other kind of online virtual shopping experience.

Immediacy

Unlike a mobile phone, which may well lay neglected in a consumer’s pocket, Google Glass could offer a new kind of immediacy never before seen. With new technology already allowing Google Glass to recognise book covers in the Google shop, the future of shopping could be a far more fluid experience, without the need to scan anything or search for physical clothing tags. The benefit of this is faster purchasing decisions, in this way Google Glass has the ability to streamline the inner workings of the 'browse and purchase' mechanism.

Posted in Blog.