5 of the Best Apps for the Apple Watch

Poised to disrupt the digital watch industry and even restructure the smartphone user experience, there were many unknowns and wonders surrounding the Apple Watch.

When Apple announced that the Watch would have its own App Store for third party apps, it became clear that the Apple Watch was a great opportunity for developers with big ideas. Even more exciting news for ambitious developers was to know that Apple Watch Apps were not intended as mere copies of existing iPhone apps, but rather extensions and complements of them.

Presently, the new wrist-companion has proved itself a worthy fitness tracker, a walking-navigation system, and a mobile wallet companion to those who have purchased it – but these functions only glean the surface of its potential.

Retail giants like Amazon and Target have exploited the Apple Watch's usefulness as a tool for business by integrating it beautifully into their marketing strategies. These retailers are just some of the many that have made the Apple Watch a wearable version of a personal shopper that facilitates impulse purchases and increased revenues. For example, customers can build shopping lists in Target's app, and are then directed to their items once in-store via the Apple Watch. Users can then easily check items off the list on their way out, and if an item on the list is nearby, a reminder pops up and directions to the item are provided. Notifications of deals available on items purchased are also delivered in the Target Watch app.

As far as Watch App development for retail companies in general goes, developers that want to make the most out their first app should keep the following point in mind: Customer experience is all... although the same applies for any industry really.

The following will ensure your customers feel as if they have their own personal shopping assistant with them as they navigate your store.

Main Points:

1. Reward Regulars

There are those clients that are creatures of habit and who will without fault order/shop the same item. Compensate these loyal customers by letting your Apple Watch app allow them to call up their regular order and send it into the queu without making them wait for it. Don’t forget to integrate the pay feature so they don’t delay at the register either. 

2. Payment

Bottom line is that the ability to use Apple Pay, whether in person or online, is one of the top reasons people will buy the Apple Watch. It doesn’t matter if you are unsure of how to 100% best integrate this with your mobile app but it will pay off, for the payment system was reported as the most popular method of mobile payment as soon as it was introduced.

3. Knowledge of Customer Gusto

This goes without saying, but make sure to build on your knowledge of the customer’s likes to create incremental sales.  Allow your app to provide pop-up recommendations when your customer is in your store and integrate navigation and reviews into your apps. Don’t forget to allow them to make their purchase with the touch of a finger and they might always end up buying additional goods with the installed pay feature.

4. Loyalty Programs and Promos

By providing an app that scans coupons, calculates discounts based on loyalty points, and suggests offers to the client when they are in the store, your store will be better able to gather greater value on a client’s purchase history and will be able to send out more beacons to customers as a result.

5. Locator

A basic feature that all retail apps should have is helping consumers find the nearest location of a brand. Marriott and Trulia are among the companies with Watch apps that promptly notify their wearers when they are near their closest branch or within the radius of an available home.

Early Flaws to Lookout For

The Apple Watch is still in its baby stage and -- like with the iPhone-- there will be many great developments and upgrades to come. To mention a few of the notable shortcomings with the Apple Watch:

1) There is still a limited number of apps that can be used directly on the Apple Watch

2) The Handoff feature is not exactly seamless

3) Tattoos interfere with functions like the heart rate monitor

4) Charging issues

Is an Apple Watch Worth It?

Decide for yourself,  just know that there is most certainly a percentage of your customers that went out to buy an Apple Watch and that it would be in your best interest to provide a station for them on which to try out their device. Although you may already have a state-of-the-art mobile app brilliantly designed and developed, there is no reason not to take advantage of extra tools for success.

At the very least, an Apple Watch will help your customers navigate around your store or area of business with little taps to their wrists, have shopping lists and a payment method at hand (literally), and even set themselves the goal of walking around your store 1,000 steps to unlock a discount. 

An early partnership with the Apple Watch is an investment that will have a decent payoff for any company. Do yourself a favor and empower your retail business by designing a killer Apple Watch app to go along with the new Apple Watches today.