Wearables and Customer Loyalty

Posted by on Jan 11, 2018 5:00:00 AM Carmi Brandis  
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IoT-enabled wearables, which include everything from smart glasses to fitness trackers, are rapidly becoming popular in both the business and consumer markets. And this is not some passing fad. Businesses are realizing significant cost savings, as well as enhanced productivity, once wearables are introduced into their ecosystems. Consumers are equally enthusiastic. Most see wearables as a natural extension of their cell phones, and something they can’t live without. In fact, research by Ericsson showed that two out of five users of wearables honestly feel naked without them. Even better, the wearables market is just in its infancy, and that means there truly is unlimited potential for a technology that, conceivably, could unseat smartphone dominance.

Yet with all this amazing growth, there still exist significant risk factors. Many wearables companies already have gone bankrupt, and consumers today are picky with little brand loyal. That’s why it’s important to get the fundamental offerings right from the start—and that begins with understanding why people abandon the wearables they once considered mandatory.

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It’s later than you think

The wearables market, as a whole, has gone beyond the early adopter stage. Just like buyers of the new Tesla Model 3 are more discerning—and less forgiving—than the early adopters of the hallmark Model S, today’s wearables user has high expectations and little tolerance for ‘science experiments’. The Ericsson research demonstrated surprising abandonment statistics. One in 10 users surveyed no longer use their devices, and one-third of those abandoned them within a few weeks of purchase. This puts wearables on par with exercise equipment, and that’s a dangerous place for service providers to be.

Mitigating the reasons for abandonment is key to market success, regardless of the application. The two major reasons for people ditching their new devices is lack of inbuilt connectivity (including the inability to operate as a standalone device) and limited functionality and use. Other reasons for abandonment are strikingly similar to complaints common with smartphones. These include inaccurate data and information (how many times has a smartphone GPS system been wrong?), poor integration with other devices, low batter life, and better/newer choices from other vendors.

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Knowledge is power as they say, which is why it’s important to take into consideration the aforementioned issues. Before deploying any wearables application, make sure robust, continuous connectivity is available to all your users and their potential geographies. For example, a fitness tracker marketed to hikers must be tested in a variety of terrains. The device needs to work independent of a smartphone or other connectivity source, and should be easy to use. From a marketing standpoint, your offerings must have a narrowly defined purpose that will match with consumer expectations. Mobile tech users are accustomed to ‘Swiss army knife’ devices, so they often (wrongly) assume wearables can offer the same benefits.    

By guaranteeing smartphone-like connectivity (at a minimum), ensuring consumers have clear expectations, and delivering on the exact promises you make, you can gain a powerful foothold in your wearables niche. And that translates to long-term, loyal customers, today and tomorrow.

For more information on wearables, connectivity, and the IoT, visit Neo.

Topics: wearables, IoT connectivity