As more and more smartwatches hit the market, prospective users will be seeking them out like never before. For now the online stores are very fragmented — each device being sold through it's respective site with the exception of a few bigger name devices like the Qualcomm Toq, Galaxy Gear, Sony Smartwatch 2 and even the Pebble, which are all available on Amazon as well. Other upcoming devices like the HOT watch, Sonostar and Kreyos however are currently only available (for pre-order) from their respective sites. They have yet to hit the mainstream and thus many smartwatch fans who aren't "in the know" may never come across them without a bit of work. Even if they do go to big online retailers, it's still hard for consumers to know which is the best watch or the watch for them just by reading reviews.
Even when seeking out a new cell phone, people want to head to a carrier store and play around with a device first to know if it's a good fit. Sure, many people but phones without ever having touched them, but how much better is it to actually try out multiple devices in the store first? To see all the features, feel the device, ask questions — it just makes sense. A good point comes from the forums and poses the question, why shouldn't smartwatches be sold in watch stores as well so consumers can have the same experience?
You can use the analogy of carrier stores for phones as an example. For year the carriers sold just "classic" phones. Dumb phones, flip phones, candy bar phones — whatever you want to call them. Now you're actually hard-pressed to find a classic device among all of the smartphones throughout most carrier stores. There's no reason that watch stores couldn't work the same way. Smartwatches are still watches, so why not offer them alongside "classic" models as well?
“Maybe that's the critical turning point down the road for watches ... I was thinking that a place like this could really set itself apart from the competition by carrying a selection of smartwatches."
Watch stores could have a solid selection of smartwatches to sell and customers could actually try them on to get a feel for the device. They could learn the features and see it in action. Some of us have the ability to attend shows like CES to have this experience in person, but what about the average consumer?
Of course it would take both sides to make it happen. The smartwatch manufacturers would need to put in the effort of seeking out the stores and giving them good terms, and the stores would have to be open to taking the risk in the early days of smartwatches. Still, they could be sold alongside expensive watches and serve as a fun "accessory" to buyers who may even buy one just for fun. There's plenty of room in a nice watch collection for a smartwatch, especially with higher-end designs coming up like the Pebble Steel, COGITO and the Hyeits Crossbow.
So what say you? Do you think smartwatches have a place in retail watch stores? Sound off in the comments!