The Apple Watch: A Challenge and Opportunity for Brands
As technology gets closer to us, (literally in the case of the Apple Watch), eCommerce companies are wrestling with an interesting dilemma. While it’s tempting to quickly jump on the bandwagon of wearable devices, it’s important for brands and retailers to think about ways they can really add value for their customers by introducing wearable technology in the buying process. eCommerce companies have to tow a careful line between connecting seamlessly and frequently with their customers while avoiding coming across as invasive.
Here are some great examples of retailers utilizing the watch to add value for their customers.
In certain respects, eBay has a leg up in creating an app for the Apple Watch. The real-time bidding process and the on demand nature of their business means customers are interested in having the retailer literally at their fingertips. However brands could take a lesson from this application and consider using their Apple Watch apps as a way to alert customers about time sensitive information such as flash sales or shipping confirmations.
I don’t know about you, but I always seem to forget my grocery list when I go to the store. Target has solved that very problem with their Apple Watch app which gives customers the ability to create and upload a shopping list before you go to the store. The app also supposedly alerts (iBeacon) you when you are close to the objects on your list in the store. Other brands could learn from this application and incorporation features their customers may find useful; when grocery shopping like recipes incorporating ingredients featured in the store or an one click ordering system if items on the customers list are not in stock at the store.
Given the small size of the screen, many people are skeptical about the practicality of actually shopping on an Apple Watch app. Zulily has acknowledged this limitation and utilized the app as a simple bookmarking tool and introduced a multi-touch shopping experience. The online retailer who offers daily deals will let customers bookmark these deals as they come through their Apple Watch. They can then shop their bookmarked items later on their iPad or desktop. This eliminates the friction retailers may fear their customers will face on Apple Watch apps because of customers’ uneasiness of shopping on such a small screen; while simultaneously giving them a way to remind customers of the products they are interested in.
The Apple Watch and the growth of wearable devices presents retailers with a challenge. It is a great opportunity to connect with customers at the times they are most likely to make a purchase. However, to capitalize on this opportunity, retailers need to truly understand their customer’s mindset and how they shop their products.