Is the Apple Watch the innovation your digital customers are looking for? Sure, the smartwatch is not a recent invention, but only now it is becoming a business success. Estimates for the first quarter of 2015 talk about 3 to 5 million units sold. Add the multitude of Android Wear and you will have the whole picture of a promising market.
This could be enough for an answer, but the real truth always lies beyond cold numbers. Success or failure of the Apple Watch will decide the role of the smartwatch in the redefinition of digital customer experience and - as a consequence - of your digital marketing strategy.
We will remember 2014 as the year companies seriously approached the smartwatch as a business tool. That was one year ago. Now that Apple’s brand new watch is a reality on store shelves, it’s legitimized the entire industry. Setting the watch as the new trend, because that’s what Apple does best.
There has been much hype around the market, but not mass adoption yet. Things are destined to change very soon. Despite all criticism and skepticism, 2015 will be probably remembered as the year the Apple Watch became the object of desire. For brands and digital customers, for CEOs, CIOs and CMOs.
The watch, together with the one-touch mobile payment system and the Healthkit platform, is the product Apple is focusing on to establish the brand as more than “those of the iPod/iPhone”. And reshape (once again) the mobile customer experience in the process. A fair bet if you think about it.
The focus is - now more than ever - on the digital customer. The experience you deliver is the key to succeeding in this era of digital transformation, not the technology that enables you to deliver it. The reason why the watch is considered Apple’s “most personal device yet”, something unlike any device they have ever made.
New interactions, new technologies to empower the customer to do familiar things more quickly and intuitively. If you are able to adopt this approach - at the same time ordinary and revolutionary - you will understand why the smartwatch can really disrupt your business. The small screen won’t be a problem anymore, neither the price.
As the market grows, and the rate of adoption runs fast (faster than the smartphone, actually), early-adopter brands are already looking for innovative ways to include the smartwatch into their digital customer journey.
The stakes are higher than ever: the ability to engage high-spending customers, conquer their heart and connect with them when it matters most. When they are near or in the store, and ready to make purchase decisions. The essence of the wearable revolution.
The realignment of your digital marketing strategy for this new era needs to start by extending the idea of mobile from smartphone/tablet to include this powerful new tool, the smartwatch.
One shiny object will shake up the wearable market, ready to cause a change in customer behavior and customer experience (both for B2C and B2B companies). The Apple Watch is way more than a self-tracker for fitness activities. As Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner, perfectly summed up:
“There is a ‘killer app’ of sorts, it is convenience. Convenience mainly from being able to leave your phone in your bag, pocket or at home. Smartwatches put people in control of their communications instead of letting the smartphone be in control of them. Smartwatches have the potential to keep us connected, but in a more convenient way.”
Where is the true value of the smartwatch? What features can you leverage to appeal digital customers?
Mobile app development, specifically dedicated to the watch, is still a territory largely untapped, but full of opportunities. Even with all their limitations, the smartwatch versions of iOS and Android offer plenty of features, both for third-party developers and brands willing to improve lead generation and customer engagement (i.e. see the brand-new Neosperience Watch Wand).
If mobile technology is changing the way we pay for the things we buy, there is no better option than the smartwatch to disrupt the mobile payment system. Relying on the contactless payment technology and unique security built-in features, Apple Pay and the Apple Watch have a clear promise: let you pay in a simple, secure and easier than ever way. Mobile companies fight for your (digital) wallet.
Say wearable technology and they will think about self-tracking. Though there is much more than meets the eye, fitness and health measurement make the core of many watch features (Healthkit anyone?). No wonder from the very first day all models have had built-in sensors that gather and analyze all sorts of personal data: activity, heart rate, walking distance. Healthy living is also a technological imperative.
INTERNET OF THINGS
Digital customers live in a world of connections, with other people, with the entire world and, last but not least, with the objects around them. The Internet of Things is the final tile in the interconnection between physical and digital worlds. The smartwatch could soon replace the smartphone as the primary method to control this world: smart home, smart car, smart office.
The key to the amazing experience your digital customer have been asking for.
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