While Google Glass isn’t quite a the brand spanking new idea it used to be, having been around for a few years now, it’s still a just out of arm’s reach of becoming available to the masses and a long way off from being as widely used as other recently developed technologies (iPads and other tablet devices spring to mind). 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?
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?
Retailers need to fully 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.
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 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 QR code to view their payment options and completes the transaction on the spot, while the sales assistant receives a payment notification on their device and bags the goods for collection or delivery.
Glass could replace 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.
Retailers could use Glass to instantly gather 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.
If 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..
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.