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Wearables should bring about a serious shake-up. The market will spike to 485 million device shipments by 2018, according to ABI Research. If industry predictions are right, wearables will be one of the most disruptive technology advances since the smartphone arrived – and that tipping point could come around much faster.

Here’s what you need to know about wearables right now.

Different interactions

Wearable technology could have a dramatic impact on the way customers receive and interact with email. Google is already on the case – it has created design specifications especially for small-screen devices.

The user experience will be drastically altered, so there are far-reaching implications for email marketers. Be prepared ahead of time and you’ll be all set to deliver a consistent experience across channels and touchpoints.

‘Glanceability’: your new goal

Marketers will soon be entering an extreme mobile mindset when creating content. ‘Glanceability’ is the ultimate priority – which means content that’s minimalist and registers positively at first glance.

Smart watches like the Apple Watch can’t render HTML, so text versions are coming back onto marketers’ radars – they’re no longer just a requirement to pass spam filters.

Subject lines: more essential than ever

First impressions will be more important than ever. Your subject line and pre-header text are going to be vital, as people accessing emails on wearable devices will be able to skim their inboxes and postpone, flag or delete emails on the go. So you’ll get a pretty small window of opportunity in which to grab their attention.

Think email automation

Wearables present exciting new possibilities for real-time and automated email marketing. While the 2015 Email Marketing Industry Census found that around two-thirds of companies currently use some automated triggers, they’re generally only using a few basic ones.

Through wearables, you can deliver immediate information to your customers. There is scope to build on location, proximity and more. It could be as simple as alerting customers when they’re near stores that sell items they’ve added to wishlists.

New data horizons

While you may be familiar with the idea of big data, you probably haven’t thought about the insight you could collect through wearables – so long as you have permission! Data from new types of sensors can tell brands when people interacted, what they were drawn to and even how they were feeling at the time.

Wearables could help plug the gap between the online and offline worlds – and better enable you to reach your customer with the right message.

Email still rules

Wearable technology is the most personal way to gather data, but it’s important to operate respectfully and use data that won’t seem intrusive to customers. A 2014 survey by PwC found that 82% (of 1,000 consumers surveyed) saw wearables as an invasion of privacy waiting to happen.

Email is the one constant among an ever-changing array of social media platforms, so it can be a great way to connect different channels. How do you avoid seeming intrusive? By delivering content and experiences your customers actually value. Do that and there’s no reason why email, social media, wearables and more can’t work in harmony.

If you’d like to know more about how email can work with wearables, download our paper Email: the Centre of the Multichannel Maze?