The Google Glass Experiment in Retail Sales

Google_Glass_Explorer_EditionGoogle Glass. It’s weird, wonderful, controversial and holds practically no end of benefits to the discerning sales professional. Ever since I heard about this technology, I’ve wanted it to test it out and see what it can do for my retail sales business. Recently, I got the chance, and some of the results were quite surprising.

Setting the Scene

Just to set the scene a little, basically the idea was to have our salespeople wear the eye gear and feed a live video stream into different locations, whether directly to a product expert or onto a Google hangout for people to watch and discuss the process as it unfolded. Of course, the completed videos would then be recorded to see what, if anything, the footage could teach us when replaying it later on.

The Benefits

As we’d hoped, the benefits were genuinely immense. We had our rookie salespeople speaking directly to retail prospects while receiving expert advice from someone 3,000 miles away. They were getting live advice on handling the sale, provided detailed info on the products and given questions to help close the deal. Surely this is a sales manager’s dream come true?

While increased sales is an obvious plus point here, there are other benefits. For example, these people will likely come back to the store after they enjoyed such expertise at this location. An improved customer experience means a better reputation and more repeat business. What’s more, we found our salespeople on the floor learned a whole lot about the sales process and the product.

Most sales managers are familiar with the sheer power of call recording. It allows you and your team to gauge performance and spot mistakes in a pressure-free environment when they don’t have to think about the next line in the pitch. That power translated into recorded videos was nothing short of incredible. If a picture paints 1,000 words, a live interaction sales video paints a million.

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The Downside

Probably the most obvious downside is the “weird factor”. Prospects come into the store and are met by someone with a weird pair of glasses and a light shining into their eye, looking like a Borg out of the Star Trek movie. It can seem a little odd.

Although this initially serves as a pattern-break and gets conversation going, sometimes the prospect doesn’t like the idea of being recorded and is more than happy to tell you that. This can get the conversation off on the wrong foot. That said, and perhaps more surprisingly, many people didn’t even take a second glance at the glasses and just went about the inquiry process as usual.

The other thing really worth a mention here is the battery life. Although it’s early days for Google Glass hardware, and we’ll likely see extended battery life in the future. Currently 40 to 60 minutes is the best you can hope for.

At the moment, this is not a long-term solution where a retail sales representative can wear them all day. If you work an eight-hour day, you’d need several headsets per person, having one charging constantly while you rotate them.

The Verdict

We expected great things from Google Glass and we weren’t disappointed. Google Hangouts have been making a great name for themselves in marketing and sharing information in general. Now, we can put live video feeds directly into them with this great telecoms technology. We have to wait and see what kind of privacy laws get put in place for Glass, but we if these exciting results are anything to go by, we hope it becomes a staple of the sales funnel refining process in the next few years