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Is Wearable Commerce the Next Big Thing

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The focus at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show was wearable technology, including watches, motion sensors, glasses and headsets. Some experts believe that with the release of the Apple Watch, the catalyst for widespread change in this industry will reveal some wearable technology we never dreamed possible. As the bar is raised, it is probable that we will see wearable technology infiltrating many different industries.  Niches such as travel, shopping and entertainment are forever changing the way we are used to interacting with the idea of wearable commerce.

Growing Interest in Mobile Payment Features

According to surveys taken by Internet Retailer, 30 percent of 400 different owners of smartphones indicated that they already own a wearable device. 75 percent indicated that they plan on purchasing one this year. Surveys have also shown that there is a growing interest in wearable technology that allows consumers to make payments for in-store purchases; 48 percent of consumers who participated in the study said they would use their wearable technology more often if it featured mobile payments.

The Future of Commerce Has Arrived

Osterhout Design Group (ODG) made an announcement at this year’s CES that Android-powered sunglasses will soon be available for purchase for under $1,000. The AR Smart Glasses will emphasize augmented reality by mimicking the tablet experience and allowing consumers to browse the internet. Imagine the impact the ODG could make if they combined technology like this with mobile payment features – it could forever change the way we make online purchases.

Other companies are honing in on the consumer demand of online shopping and taking it to the next level. Take, for example, the Intel Jarvis headset, a voice-activated Bluetooth-enabled device that works in both online and offline modes. Practical Ecommerce predicts that “it has greater likelihood of consumer adoption (compared to other wearable devices).” It is probable that Jarvis will primarily be used to shop utilizing voice commands, a feature that consumers are clearly craving. Since Jarvis can be used in offline mode, the product potentially has an edge over Google Now and Apple Siri, which can only be used while in online mode.

Practical Ecommerce also anticipates that contextual commerce is the next big thing in wearable devices, targeting a consumer’s unique environment and assessing their associated needs. For example, the new glasses developed by XOEye Technologies has the capability of tracking a person’s specific movements during the day. This can provide related products that would benefit the consumer in a unique way. Specifically, if an employee works in packaging, these glasses can sense how many times they have to bend over during their shift and provide them with a list of products that can protect their back. Ultimately, this creation and related wearable technology are leading to better productivity and the employee’s overall health.

Wearable technology is a new concept but companies that meet the demand for online shopping this year will take the edge in the market. In other words, this year we should anticipate wearable technology making the shift from a novelty toy into a powerful, usable tool.

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