Wearables: the next step for mobile commerce?

At CES this year, San Francisco-based company Osterhout Design Group (ODG) announced that their sixth-generation AR Smart Glasses, an Android-powered, sunglass-looking wearable, will soon be available for consumers at a price point less than $1000. The AR Smart Glasses will mimic the tablet experience with an emphasis in augmented reality.

Nifty features include a trackball on one arm of the glasses for navigation, a Bluetooth ring that acts as a mini trackpad, app capabilities, plus media and web streaming. But what if the product took it a step further by adding a mobile payments component?

Internet Retailer reported survey results yesterday that revealed that wearables might be the next big trend. 30% of 400 smartphone owners ages 24-50 already own a wearable; 75% of respondents said they plan to buy one in 2015.

Most interestingly, 43% of consumers who own wearables say they would like a feature allowing them to make payments for purchases in-store, the survey says. And 48% said they would use their wearable more frequently if it had a mobile payments feature.

Marketers have been preparing for the continued rise of mobile commerce in 2015, but it might be time to think about planning for the rise of wearables as well. Having payment functionality right at the wrist or directly in sight may be the most compelling way for consumers to do their shopping.

Smart watches like the Apple Watch with Apple Pay capabilities are geared more for in-store purchases, but wearables like the AR Smart Glasses could influence e-commerce and m-commerce in significant ways. If online browsing via the glasses is already a reality, why not add a feature to purchase right then and there?

It remains to be seen whether 2015 will bring changed perception of devices like smart glasses and watches from novelty toys into usable tools. When it comes to wearables, payment functionality might the “it factor” that turns the tide.

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