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Wearables Begin to Find a Use Within the Enterprise Retail Market

London, United Kingdom - 08 Nov 2017

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Retail companies are beginning to use wearable technology to improve processes and customer satisfaction. Staff wearables provide shop floor staff with access to information such as stock levels, as well as to facilitate communication with team members. This allows customer requests to be resolved faster and ensures that the employee continues to interact with the customer, improving the overall shopping experience. ABI Research forecasts enterprise retail wearable shipments will reach nearly 10 million in 2022, increasing from just 2 million in 2017, a CAGR of 38%. This makes retail one of the fastest growing enterprise wearable verticals, with numerous devices improving store operations. Devices such as smartwatches, smart glasses, wearable cameras, wearable scanners, and hearables are all seeing an increase in adoption within the retail market.

“As online retailers are gaining in strength, the remaining physical stores are searching for ways to encourage customers to return and shop with them,” says Stephanie Lawrence, Research Analyst at ABI Research. “Wearable devices provide shop staff with the ability to look up stock-level information, request help from colleagues, and upsell other products, which helps to assure that the customer’s needs are met.”

Many different wearable devices are ensuring that customer requests are dealt with more quickly and more efficiently. Smartwatches provide workers with access to notifications about what work they should be completing, as well as information about product and stock. Having this information in a quick and easy to access form allows a worker to rapidly resolve a customer’s query, such as if an item is in stock and where it is located, without having to leave the customers side and physically search for it. Smart glasses with technologies such as GoInStore’s application allow in-store shop workers to connect to online customers, giving them the ability to demonstrate and describe all a product’s features, without requiring the customer to go to the store. This improves their satisfaction level, as it is a more convenient way to shop while still receiving the personal assistance they require.

Wearable cameras, such as those from Pinnacle Response, provide retail workers who experience robberies or threats of violence with a way in which to record interactions. These devices help to calm down potentially violent situations, as it alerts the potential criminal to the fact that their actions are being recorded, and if that does not work, then the recordings are used as evidence. Hearables, such as Onyx by Orion Labs, allow workers to quickly communicate with colleagues, no matter where they are located, such as the stock-room, on the road, or in a different store, to ensure that customer requests are dealt with quickly. Other devices, such as lone worker protection wearables from companies such as Skyguard, aren’t designed to improve customer satisfaction, but rather improve employee satisfaction, yet another important factor for retail companies. These worker protection devices give retail workers who are alone, such as early in the morning, late at night, or when accepting deliveries, a way to record potentially dangerous interactions and/or call for help if required.  Employees who feel safer on the job will stay on the job.

“Wearable devices are becoming a vital part of many enterprise verticals, and the retail sector is no different,” concludes Lawrence. “Improving customer satisfaction with such devices will help to ensure that customers remain loyal and continue to shop in an in-store environment.”

These findings are from ABI Research’s Staff Wearables: Closing the Retail IoT Loop report. These reports are part of the company’s Wearables, Usables, and Expendables research service, which includes research, data, and analyst insights.