The Rise of E-Commerce for Brands: Wearable Technology

September 15, 2015

Brands Bradley Keenan By Bradley Keenan

The rise of e-commerce has changed the retail landscape especially for branded manufacturers. Online retail is disrupting the more traditional distribution channels for these companies and consumer behavior is driving more and more branded manufacturers to make a move into e-commerce. But wading into these unknown waters can be tricky and a bit scary. We’re here to help.

Over the coming weeks on the blog, we’ll feature more brand-specific content — whether that be recent news or success stories. We want to help guide you through this industry transformation and give you more insight into what other brands are doing and why it matters.


gear-s2_model_type1Samsung recently announced the launch of its version of the smartwatch, the Gear S2. This was a great move from Samsung — the product itself is amazing, but the timing of its launch is also brilliant.

Samsung launched the Gear S2 ahead of Berlin’s IFA consumer electronics conference (a major event in the technology world), affirming its position as a serious competitor within the market. The key features of the Gear S2 include:

  • Two differing styles
  • Easy access to applications and notifications
  • 1.2-inch circular screen with a 360 x 360 resolution
  • 1 GHz dual-core processor, which will run on the company’s Tizen operating system

The Gear S2 is also compatible with other Samsung devices, but one of the biggest game changers is that the battery can last from two to three days and features wireless charging.

Similar to other smartwatches on the market, Samsung Gear S2 will provide notifications of calendar appointments, emails and news, and users can also send texts directly from their wrist thanks to built-in 3G connectivity. It will also allow for mobile payments, activity tracking, smart car keys and remote control of home devices. However, it’s one of the very few smartwatches that doesn’t rely on a mobile phone to work.

Impact on the E-Commerce Industry

This leads into what wearable technology could mean for e-commerce businesses. In the last few years, the impact mobile technology has made on online retail is already clearly visible. For example, Facebook’s local awareness ads currently allow retailers to drive foot traffic into their brick-and-mortar stores with geo-targeted ads to shoppers who appear in a certain radius of a store location. These ads could eventually pop up on a shopper’s wearable technology gadget when they are near the store.

Retailers especially are battling with one another to create more efficient, valuable and high-tech products than ever before. Samsung isn’t the first company, but will also not be the last company to launch into wearable technology.

I’ve been using a smart watch for a few weeks now. It seems to me that the biggest change is that I see my messages much more quickly than before. This means that things like geo-targeting are becoming more feasible as acknowledging alerts occurs nearly in real-time. So where we’ve seen retargeting online, we could expect to receive alerts when an offer on a product is only 30 meters away.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to grow to 25 billion installed units by 2020 and retailers are beginning to feel the pressure to create more and more products. Soon, consumers will be able to control every aspect of their lives through wearable technology — from being able to boil a kettle from a different room to telling consumers what is in their fridge when they’re out shopping and have forgotten their list.

Impact on Logistics

In the next few years, it’s expected that retailers will feel a significant impact to their supply chain, inventory, logistics and fleet management. IoT devices will allow retailers to monitor their inventories and data more effectively. Products will also be moving through the supply chain at a much faster rate, meaning that retailers will have larger inventories and will be able to improve their supply chain efficiency.

Another impact retailers will see is how their interactions with consumers will change — the focus will be on tailor-made promotions and real-time analytics, rather than generalized advertising. The IoT mixed with big data equals endless opportunities and possibilities for retailers, including higher staff productivity, faster customer service responses, better maintenance and improved security.  

Impact on Consumer Behavior

It won’t be just retailers feeling the impact — consumers will also feel the full force of the IoT movement over the next few years. The IoT market will change the way consumers shop and interact with retailers. With these types of new technology, consumers will find they have more control over their product selection, while spending less time and effort shopping.

Consumers will have a broader choice of available products, with the ability to then customize these products to their specific wants and needs. Shoppers’ experiences will become more enjoyable and easier. Soon they will be able to enter a store and, based on their internet search history or previous product purchases, be guided to either similar or their favorite products.

We hope this will have a positive impact on retailers. Sales will increase as well as profits, but before any of this can happen, consumers and retailers need to trust each other so the stream of data for analysis can become available.

It’s safe to say that several exciting new products — like wearable technology — will be introduced to help make our lives much easier. Maybe the newest gadget will soon shop for us or automatically place orders online for items based on use? Who knows what is to come and how it will impact the world of retail, but we will be watching this evolution closely.


Blog post by Bradley Keenan, Senior Director, Brand Solutions, ChannelAdvisor