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Varun KrishnaSenior Director, PayPal WalletPayPal
Although wearables are seeing success in the fitness market, there are other opportunities for engagement and interaction with these devices, such as payments. Varun Krishna, senior director of PayPal Wallet at PayPal, spoke with eMarketer’s Rimma Kats about how wearables have the potential to create context-driven payment experiences.
eMarketer: Has the adoption of smart watches taken off as you expected?
Varun Krishna: Wearable adoption has skyrocketed, and it is manifesting itself in a number of different ways. Companies are developing apps for this form factor, developers and engineers are figuring out how to address ever-changing screen sizes, and consumers are putting these devices to use.
We expect to see continued momentum in the wearable space as the number of active users, apps and form factors continues to grow, and as the wearable experiences have a huge amount of relevance in consumer experiences.
eMarketer: Will wearables be an effective way for consumers to pay for goods and services?
Krishna: The wearable device represents an always-accessible environment in which a seamless continuum of experiences can be delivered. As long as people feel their wearable device is bringing them added value and making their life easier, they will use it for many different use cases.
eMarketer: How does your strategy for leveraging smart watches differ from the approaches you’ve taken for other devices?
Krishna: Wearables are an extension of the mobile form factor. They connect our digital and physical worlds, bridging the gap between online and offline shopping experiences.
eMarketer: Many have said that notifications will be the best way for brands to connect with consumers via smart watches. Do you agree?
Krishna: Notifications are certainly a core value to wearable devices, but they’re still only one component. The wearable form factor presents other opportunities in access, identity authentication and contextual alerts in a hands-free, easy-access environment.
Wearables also represent more than an extension of a mobile experience. They are a more discreet way for consumers to access information or approve actions that are quick access, like having interactions that only take seconds, and avoiding the need to pull out your phone.
eMarketer: What opportunities do wearables offer?
Krishna: We see wearables as a huge opportunity to create seamless, context-driven payment experiences that change the way people interact with their devices. The primary challenge is keeping pace with all the new devices coming to market.
eMarketer: What's the best way for a brand to gauge the business potential of wearable devices?
Krishna: A truly wearable-optimized application has to be a completely fluid, streamlined and contextual experience. It needs to better the consumer’s life. With so many new devices being released from different manufacturers, companies who are looking at this form factor should use a device-agnostic development approach.
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