The history of wearable tech is littered with products that have failed to deliver on the promise of progress. The demise of Google Glass was due to its over-reliance on simplistic utilities and its sparse acknowledgement that, as a wearable product, it should be fashionable. So when Snap (formerly Snapchat) announced its intention to release Spectacles, opinion was divided over whether the product would be a success or leave consumers balking at wearable technology yet again.
What are Snap Spectacles?
Snap Spectacles are sunglasses with a camera mounted in front of its hinges. A button on the side of the frame allows wearers to record up to 10 seconds of film as with Snapchat. These videos can then be viewed and saved on the app when uploaded via wireless connection. The 115-degree lens is intended to mimic the way that people see and the circular images it produces mean that its videos can be viewed in different orientations as the video plays.
There has been a lot of debate about the monetisation of social media channels, with some vociferous critics saying that it is unworthy of consideration as an ad space due to its poor metrics and illimitable ROI. For this reason, it makes sense that Snap wants to diversify and redefine itself as a “camera company”. However, there are many examples of companies looking to move into new markets that have drastically failed.
The price is said to be over £100, so anyone interested in the technology will have to be suitably enamoured before deciding to hand their money over. We take a look here at how Snap can create enough interest around Spectacles to ensure they are a success.
How has Snap looked to drive consumer demand so far?
There is currently little information available online regarding the more intricate details of Spectacles. Snap’s website describes the features of the product along with a few examples of how they are used. Having originally been announced over a month ago, the unhurried product release is a good way of driving consumer demand because it allows Snap to judge the target demographics. One of the main reasons that product launches fail is because of a failure to identify genuine consumer demand for a product. By allowing time, Snap can analyse the situation and leverage its efforts accordingly.
How has consumer demand been driven with wearable tech?
The key to driving product demand is to focus on the benefit to the consumer rather than becoming entrenched in the intricate functionalities of the product. Fitbit were excellent exponents of this stratagem, and Fitbit’s CEO James Park noted that allocating importance to software was a factor in the product’s success. The company also avoided marketing the product as an extravagance and centred on its value to the consumer. Fitbit managed to position its product as an extension to current consumer cognition as this allows a product to be more easily assimilated into a routine or framework.
Although demand started to slow at the start of last year, Fitbit is continuing to adapt to consumer demand as it addresses the facet of stylishness. This is an area traditionally ignored by manufacturers of wearable technology and Fitbit’s willingness to attack this tricky field shows its commitment to driving consumer demand based on need. Similarly, Snap should look to be flexible with its product and its design.
Wearable tech has been very popular in sport, although often more with sports scientists rather than consumers. The reason for this is that the level of information some of the technology offers is far too sophisticated for the average consumer to apply; however, the detail it offers is of interest to those working with professional sports teams. Snap can learn from this that having a niche market won’t necessarily diminish the value of the product.
NME has also used wearable tech to drive consumer demand. Last month it gave its readers a free Google Cardboard to allow them to experience the Abbey Road recording studio in virtual reality. This campaign proved successful as it again focused on what the technology could bring its users rather than becoming obsessed with the way it works. What this example should teach Snap is that consumers are rarely that interested in how the technology works.
One area that Snap does need to consider is how Spectacles are to be marketed alongside Snapchat. For NME this was a fairly simple task as the technology was used as a promotion. However, the issue becomes more complicated for Snap as Spectacles are an add-on to the app. Snap will need internal clarity over whether Spectacles are being sold to increase awareness of Snapchat or if they are a product in their own right.
Instances in which wearable technology marketed to consumers have been successful have all depended on significant amounts of consumer interest. The issue with Google Glass was that it was telling its consumers what they should want rather than responding to a specific need. Snap Spectacles aren’t too dissimilar in this sense – as there has hardly been an outcry for neoteric ways of taking selfies beyond the selfie stick – although they do hold the advantage of being the extension to an existing product rather than looking to redefine how we use technology.
Do you think Snap can drive consumer demand with wearable technology? What methods have you found effective for creating interest in your business or products? Let us know in the comments section or get in touch on social media.