Wearables, or wearable technologies, are different to mobile devices. 

The Samsung Gear smartwatch has tight controls over what users can run on the device and Google has similar constraints.

For now, they are ‘ad-free zones’. While we can expect this to change in the future, brands will have to take a different approach to capitalising on wearables.

The first retail wearable apps the sector is likely to see will be simple ones that promote convenience. Tunde Cockshott, creative consultant at consultancy Amaze, says augmentation will also be key.

He says: “Devices such as Google Glass can extend a wearer’s senses in a variety of ways. Glass is particularly important as it has the function to obtain data about the wearer’s location, their diary and their habits.”

These context-aware devices will allow brands to interpret the world in a way that is personal to the user.

The Amazon app on Glass, for instance, could recognise the products a shopper is looking at and overlay the scene with the Amazon price, reviews and allow the wearer to order immediately.

Cockshott says: “Currently 84% of shoppers use their smartphones in store - such an app would mean showrooming would become the norm, and an almost invisible activity.”

Wearables will add to the data retailers can, and should, harvest.

Cockshott says that determining return on investment on any wearable app is initially going to be difficult but brands should seek to understand the potential usage patterns of all data collected and seek to find behaviours they can influence.