September 20, 2013

Google glass and high street retailers

Written By Martin Sandhu

Technology has generally been viewed as the enemy of the high street, taking shoppers away from bricks and mortar stores and encouraging more browsing and purchasing online. Whilst some retailers are doing great things with regard to keeping shoppers in their stores with the help of mobile devices, it’s not generally a widespread strength.

Wearable technology could change all that though. Google Glass and other similar technologies could prove to be a valuable new way to connect with customers, whether they’re already in-store or not.

The potential to improve customer experience at all stages of the shopping cycle is huge. If shoppers enter the store knowing exactly what the want, a Google Glass app could tell them instantly whether the item is in stock and if so direct them to where they’ll find it, making the shopping experience quicker and less frustrating. Those simply browsing would benefit from special offers or a ‘personal shopper’ app that can help them find items in the store that they might like to purchase.

Recent research conducted by Econsultancy and YouGov showed that before Google Glass has even launched, consumers are seeing the benefits. One in three consumers (38%) said that they would use Google Glass to create a shopping route, 27% would use it to check stock availability and 22% said they would like Glass to unlock additional offers and promotions.

One hurdle that will need to be overcome however is the wear-ability of Google Glass. If consumers are to benefit from going shopping in them, they’ll need to feel comfortable about wearing them in public. Currently opinion on this isn’t great; research has found that 62% of consumers would feel ‘very or fairly embarrassed’ to wear Google Glass while shopping. Perhaps unsurprisingly the findings found many more women would feel self-conscious wearing the technology in public than men.

Regardless of teething problems and initial concerns, with the recent release to developers and mounting speculation about the functionality of the first public release, it’s likely that many retailers will be considering Google Glass app development and how it could help revive their high street stores.

We could soon be walking through shopping centres in Nottingham and other UK cities seeing a large majority of shoppers wearing Google Glass, rather than looking down at their smartphone!