Wearable tech and smartwatches have been around for a while, but with the much ballyhooed release of the Apple Watch, we now find ourselves on the cusp of a new smartwatch era that will force brands and marketers to figure out how to squeeze messages and functionality into the tiniest of screens (like the 38-millimeter and 42-millimeter screen options on the Apple Watch).
Screen size limitations aside, smartwatches also offer the potential for hyperlocal, hyper-targeted shopper marketing. Here are three opportunities to consider as we get ready for next generation horology.
1. Healthy Lifestyles.
It’s easy for almost any company to support the social cause of a healthier lifestyle. Even if you sell fast food, you still want consumers to think you care about them. Of course, working this health angle into marketing efforts will be easier for some brands than others.
Brand X wants you to be healthy, so we’re offering a 10% discount off your next purchase if you’ve worked out today. Just show us your Apple Watch results, and the discount will be applied at check out.
Walgreens is already doing something similar with its Balance Rewards loyalty program, through which members can earn loyalty points by doing things like weighing themselves, exercising, and logging their blood pressure or blood glucose levels.
Apple Watch app developers already have the ability to create invisible geofences that sense when an Apple Watch user is in close proximity. So just imagine the possibilities for retailers and dining establishments who want to alert users close to a physical location.
This functionality is already available for mobile phones, but the contact is much more intimate when an alert can use haptic feedback to virtually “tap” the user on the wrist to grab their attention.
Perhaps a shopping experience could be enhanced by seeing which stores have the best deals, newest products or largest inventory as you stroll through the mall. Or say it’s lunchtime in the city, and you’re walking down the street with a friend trying to decide what to have for lunch. Suddenly your watch taps to let you know that the restaurant you’re walking by has a 10% off coupon that expires in 15 minutes.
3. Go Frictionless
Retailers need to jump on the Apple Pay bandwagon (which powers transactions made with the Apple Watch) and be prepared to start accepting other forms of contact-free payment technology. Google Wallet made inroads with its app-and-tap tech, and certain credit cards have added a chip that eliminates the need to swipe, but both of these options still require a customer to pull either a phone or card out of a wallet, pocket, or purse.
With wearable tech like the Apple Watch that comes with frictionless payment options, customers no longer need to carry cards or fumble around in their pockets to find a payment device; everything they need is already on their phone and wrist. This layer of convenience will encourage customers to start shopping exclusively at stores that accept swiping one’s watch as a form of payment. To remain relevant, marketers will need to appeal to a growing number of swiping consumers.