The key to a successful wearable is that the owner continues to wear and use the device.
It may sound over simplified but the harder it is to incorporate that device into someone’s daily routine the faster it will find its way, in my case anyway, to the tech junk shelf/drawer.
Dr. John Feland, the CEO and Founder of Argus Insights a market research company, provided several data points during his presentation at the Wearables Tech Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida that show exactly what works and what does not when it comes to the wearables market.
Feland started by framing framed the four stage process that consumers typically go through when they step into the world of wearables as the starting point in identifying why many of them end up in the sock drawer.
Those four stages are:
BUYING: Involves the excitement about getting the device along with the anticipation of using it and what it will do for them.
LEARNING: Just how much time does it take to understand how the device works and master its functionality and capabilities.
USING: This is the satisfaction that is felt when the user starts to achieve the goals they set for themselves when they decided to buy the wearable.
SUCCEEDING: At this point the wearer is changing habits and making lifestyle changes because of the wearable and what it has helped them achieve.
However, the fall off happens during the Using phase when several different factors result in a user setting aside the device. One example Feland gave was Fitbit’s S1 filing when they were preparing for their IPO. Based on the number of active users they reported it showed that 60% of Fitbit customers stopped using their device after just three months.
As Feland said - imagine that happening in any other industry.
“Today’s wearables are sort of yesterday’s treadmills”
So where are wearable companies losing their customers?
According to research Argus has done there are several key areas.
LEARNING CURVE: How hard is it to get the device up and running? The quicker that process is the more likely the user will succeed with the device. He compared the learning curve of some products being like looking down the face of El Capitan – daunting. If it is too daunting it could result in the customer returning the device before they even really get started.
USE IN THE EXTREMES: Most wearables are tested in sterile environments and users want to be able to use them all the time. The more times they need to remove the device because it can’t tolerate a specific environment – even the shower - the more likely it will just end up not getting put back on down the road.
USER INTERFACE: These must improve because consumers tire very quickly of the constant swiping and rowing through info. According to Argus 1 in 20 smartwatch users complain about usability.
GAMIFICATION: This is a great way to draw users in and help them use and learn about their devices but customers should not run out of achievements three months into their use of the device. This must be a lifecycle aspect of wearables.
APP EXPERIENCE: If the app on the smartphone or data access on the website is a subpar experience then users will quickly abandon the device. It also results in a much lower customer satisfaction overall.
DATA: Work needs to be done standardize the data generated by wearables so that it can easily be moved between devices/ecosystems as the consumer changes the technology they use.
I suspect that many of you have experienced one or more of these variables in the time you have used wearables.
Let us know what is the biggest hindrance or assistance with your own wearables.