Dozens of retailers have stepped forward in the past few weeks announcing their own shopping apps for the Apple Watch.
Some believe that consumers want to shop directly from the watch, and have designed their apps to accommodate those needs. However eBay announced its app last month, and they are taking a different stance on their users’ wrists.
eBay’s app gives users the ability to check on items they’ve bid on and keep an eye on items they’re interested in. There are a couple of other features that act as a complement to the eBay experience for both sellers and buyers.
Instead of treating their app as another selling channel, they’re using it as a feature to lift the eBay shopping experience.
Retailers can, and should, take note of this.
Selling directly through the Apple Watch seems like it could be a good idea, but research reveals that shopping on mobile devices isn’t entirely favored by consumers right now. Surprisingly, 30% of ecommerce sales come from smartphones, and 41% of consumers use them solely for research.
Mobile commerce is gaining traction, but many of its problems would be exacerbated on a smartwatch. About 38% of shoppers dislike mobile shopping because of the tiny picture sizes, and 32% can’t easily view product information.
On a smartwatch, tiny images will look smaller, and product information will be harder to read. Therefore, it should act as an aid, not a selling channel.
Multichannel has been one of the biggest buzzwords to hit the ecommerce industry in recent memory, and for good reason. It perfectly represents the interweaving of our personal and technological lives.
People are connected all the time, and smartwatches’ growth in popularity is just one example of that.
An multichannel retail strategy consists of a retailer’s selling channels working together to create a seamless shopping experience, such as ordering an item online and picking it up in store.
When customers are shopping in physical stores, they often use their phones as resources to do additional research.
Roughly 36% of customers practice multichannel commerce, and for a good reason. When retailers have their channels working seamlessly to help one another instead of competing, it benefits both the retailer and the consumer.
Smartwatches provide retailers with the perfect opportunity to do this.
Quick glances at a smartwatch can give consumers insights into certain products that interest them. About 46% of customers decide to leave a physical store to purchase the item online or do additional research before purchasing. With a smartwatch, that information is a wrist flick away.
Retailers like Target are going to introduce an application that allows the consumer to make a list of the items they want to purchase directly on their watch to act as a shopping list.
This is perfect for a consumer who does research on a product online, but wants to experience it in person. It removes the hassle of having to meticulously search for a product page on their phone.
Retailers could also use the watch to show the prices of products online.
The shopper could use this information when it comes to price matching policies, promptly showing the sales person the price on their wrist.
Using competitor data, the retailer could also show the prices on competitor sites. The decision to match those prices is up to the retailer’s discretion, but the price transparency between themselves and competitors could streamline a long process of winning over a potential shopper.
Perhaps smartwatches can act as beacons for customers who need help. Add a ‘help’ button to your app, and have a salesperson meet the shopper on the sales floor. Or import data on your item’s location in your store to direct shoppers to exactly where they can find desired products.
The digital divide in retail is growing, and smartwatches could help retailers take a big step to bridge the gap.
There has never been a better time for retailers to implement an multichannel strategy, especially with the recent launch of the Apple Watch.
With the ability to have several gigabytes of data on their wrist, the shoppers’ in-store experience can be more digitized and convenient than ever.