Apple made its first leap into the ‘wearable technology’ market by announcing Apple Watch at the iPhone 6 launch event on 9 September 2014. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO recently soothed the anticipation by revealing that Apple Watch will arrive on the shelves in April 2015. Being a device that’s to be worn on a user’s wrist throughout the day and not carried in a wallet, purse or pocket, Apple Watch is one of the most personal devices out in the market yet. This had lead experts to predict that Apple Watch will present brands with better opportunities to reach the right person at the right time, compared to what we have seen to date.
Marketers all over see Apple Watch as an exciting new playground for both mobile advertising agencies and app developers. Many even expect agencies to cram yet smaller ads onto the smaller screen. However, in the midst of all this, it is highly essential that we don’t ignore the fact that consumer behavior is the bedrock of marketing. As wearables go mainstream, it’s crucial that marketers adjust their marketing tactics to account for the new ways in which consumers are bound to engage with wearables.
In this post we will discuss how Apple Watch is fast emerging as the new face of mobile commerce.
1. Greater commerce utility through Apple Pay integration
With the capability of being on a user’s body during waking hours, Apple Watch has the power to become the center point of a user’s needs and desires – two factors that define commerce. Last year Tim Cook, announced that Apple Watch will work with Apple Pay, its NFC based mobile wallet service.
Users are no longer required to take out their plastic credit card at the cash register to make a payment. All they have to do is add their MasterCard, Visa, or American Express cards to their wallet through iTunes, and they can easily use the device to make a payment by double clicking on the button beneath the “Digital Crown” and holding it up to the contactless payment system.
This ability has now poised Apple Watch to become the foundation of watch commerce. The shift is subtle yet markedly different from the commerce conducted on other devices. In fact, the very limitation of the screen size and other interface constraints will create greater utility through simplification.
For example, say you are walking down a street and you receive a notification saying that your favourite cafe outlet nearby is offering your regular Espresso at 10% discount. You could just walk in, and pay using NFC based Apple Pay. Once your Espresso is ready you will then receive a lock-screen notification that it is ready for you to pick up.
2. Greater content relevancy through personalized location-based offers
Apple Watch features Bluetooth 4.0, a localized wireless signal system which enables developers to create invisible geofences that sense when an Apple Watch user is in close proximity. While this functionality is already available for mobile phones, the contact is expected to be much more intimate when an alert uses haptic feedback to virtually “tap” the user on the wrist to get his or her attention.
At the recent CES 2015 event at Las Vegas, TapSense, a mobile marketing company, released a product that allows marketers to deliver targeted ads to their potential customers in applications created for the Apple Watch by third-party developers. The technology excited many marketers with its ability to detect consumers as they approach or walk by a store and target them with ads (based on detailed location information) directly to their wrists.
In fact, Marsh Supermarkets, a grocery chain is already preparing to roll out beacon support for Apple Watch across its stores in the U.S. The plan is to fully integrate Marsh’s loyalty program with this wearable device in order to deliver targeted information directly to a shopper’s Apple Watch. It will help Marsh track coupon redemption and sales data that will then be used to serve up more relevant ads to the consumer in the future. This way Apple Watch opens up new opportunities for marketers to reach out to their potential customers and engage them for retention purposes.
Another important thing to note is that, even though the iWatch’s SDK is out, Apple hasn’t mentioned any details about plans to deliver ads to the Apple Watch yet. With the tech giant already having an advertising platform of its own, called iAd, it would hardly be surprising if it chose to do so.
At the same time, high scope to be intrusive if not used properly
Apple Watch also poses one huge challenge to marketers all over by causing brands to risk alienating customers, if not used properly. To avoid this, brands must identify the fine line between being an innovative and forward-thinking digital marketer and being downright creepy and intrusive.
According to a study by inMarket, too many irrelevant push notifications, or an overload of messages, nudged consumers to stop using an app or uninstall them. The study also reported that, overwhelmed by in-store marketing, most consumers ended up checking their beacon apps three times less frequently. Thus, with every other push notification that is delivered per store visit, marketers risk a whopping 313% drop in app usage.
The best solution to this is to ensure that your notifications are contextually relevant, well-timed and actionable. In fact, when used along with utility apps, beacons are reported to drive 500% increase in interactions compared to standard push notifications with location relevancy.
So how do you think Apple Watch will fare once it is out? Let us know in the comments.