Apple became a top player in e-Commerce some time ago now. The annual sale of digital products on Apple platform makes $16 billion – 16 times more than on Zappos. Thanks to the full control over its own sales channels, the company like no other understands the challenges of the twenty-first century retail.

Right now Apple is getting ready to change the entire retail ecosystem

  • The company has just enhanced the reach of its mobile ad platform iAd by 70 countries and promises some very interesting functions, like cross-device retargeting.
  • Apple Pay is going to become the biggest mobile payment system. It already dominated the market by building a database of 1 million credit cards – within just 3 days after launching the mobile payment system.
  • It is introducing iBeacons into its shops, being an avant garde in retail and encouraging others to investment.

The most commotion, however, will come from Apple Watch. The device is about to debut on the market in April, so the companies need to get ready for the potential it carries. That is the standpoint of eBay, for example. The company was looking for engineers to build an app for Apple Watch in November.

So far, the smartwatches have not got their killer-app, but a few interesting ones are waiting to be launched. One of the first e-shops to make use of the wearable devices’ potential is Flipkart. Thanks to Android War, the users of Flipkart app receive notifications and the updates on their wish list items directly onto the smartwatches. We should remember, however, that the devices available on the market have been built to take over the role of smartphones and so are rather complex. Apple takes a completely different approach.

Some basics of Apple Watch

  • Two sizes available – 38 mm, 42 mm.
  • Each size available in 3 versions: Standard (stainless steel chassis), Sports (aluminium chassis), and Edition (18 karat gold).
  • 6 stripes to choose – a mixture of leather and stainless steel, plus a variety of colour combinations.

The basics of UX

  • Advanced gestures on such a small device are impractical, according to Apple – only basic gestures available.
  • Screen sensitive to the force of touch.
  • Zooming handled by the ‘digital crown’ placed on the side – a high tech variant of the standard watch crown.
  • Three main forms of interaction available: Apps, Glances, and Actionable Notifications.
  • Siri integration – activated by pressing the crown.
  • Apple Pay integration.
  • Accelerometer embedded in the device.
  • Pulse sensor embedded.

Apple has also provided a Watch Kit, facilitating creating the apps for Apple Watch. The Kit includes a manual for designers, explaining how to apply UX design to the device.

At the moment, developers can create extensions on standard apps (Glances and Actionable Notifications). Creation of the independent applications for Apple Watch will initially be limited for chosen Apple partners. Supposedly, everybody will be given the chance in June, after the Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference.

The main functions, e-Commerce apps can exploit on Apple Watch:

  • Notifications on the special offers available in a given area.
  • Updates on the change in price, availability, and status of delivery.
  • Ultra-quick payment – by placing the Watch against the point-of-sale devices – without reaching for a card or smartphone.
  • Other types of authorization (air tickets, hotel rooms).

The future of retail with Apple Watch

Similarly to iPhone or iPad, the new device will offer a whole new range of functionalities. It would be a mistake to only recreate already existing interactions. The watch that is always within sight and has quick interface, will be able to engage its user in micro-interactions. This, in turn, will open a number of new possibilities of attracting customers’ attention.

The consumers may soon lose the habit of taking the smartphone out of pocket, which will make the fight for their attention shift once again – this time onto a different screen – the one of a watch. As it has happened before, new, agile companies will appear to make use of the paradigm shift, winning the range of the new medium. The sooner you start experimenting with Apple Watch, the bigger chance you have to be among those winners.

P.S. Would you like to discuss building an Apple Watch app for your business? Feel welcome to contact Divante.

Tomasz Karwatka

Supervisory Board Member at Divante. Leading industry voice who believes eCommerce can improve our world. Co-founder of Vue Storefront and Open Loyalty, angel investor, and founder of Tech To The Rescue. CEO at Divante eCommerce Technology Company | LinkedIn | Twitter

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