A key reason so many brands have begun extending their digital offering to include smartwatches is the rapid pace with which millennials are bringing this technology into their lives. Last year smartwatch adoption among millennials rose to ~15% (US and EU) and that figure is set to multiply rapidly. (For more on the way the smartwatch market has taken off click here).
But aside from this obvious trend, there is another important reason smartwatch apps could be a strategically valuable part of your business. Namely, they enable you to connect with your audience faster and much more effectively.
Let me elaborate.
In the fast transforming phone app market, there are two main challenges: app download and retention. Brands know apps are essential for satisfying new consumers’ needs. But with so many options out there (the Apple App Store has over 2 million apps whilst Google Play is close to 2.8 and counting) it is hard — if not very expensive — to gain users at a rate that will truly impact your income and develop mind share.
Presumably the same challenges would be faced by smartwatches? Interestingly, no.
The situation is very different with this market place - in fact, it’s the opposite. What’s more, having a smartphone app will in itself enhance your phone app offering. And here is why.
HIGHER VISIBILITY IN THE APP STORE
There are 100 times more apps for phones than there are for smartwatches. And generally speaking, the smartwatch owner is much more willing to try new things with their watch than they are with their phone.
So not only is it easier to gain visibility but the audience is eager to try it. What’s more, since watch apps connect to and interact with phone apps, you also get a shortcut to the consumer's second device.
BECOME THE FIRST CHOICE
In physical terms, the smartwatch is the device that is closest to the user. It is worn on a daily basis. As such, for the owner it is the go-to device for digital needs, but only if there is an app out there to deliver the goods. Bear in mind that users try first what is closest to them. And if they don’t find it there, they move right on to the next closest one.
It is the same reason people use their mobile devices at home even though they have a big computer or tablet on the table or in the next room which will, in theory, offer them a much better experience.
But things are changing; until recently, the phone was the closest device - now it’s the watch. By having your smartphone app ready to go, you will truly be at your consumers' fingertips.
CREATE AN EMOTIONAL BOND
A smartwatch is more than personal, it is intimate. It is not just a device you need to remember to pick up, it’s right there on the skin. A companion during each moment of the user’s life.
And there’s more. Smartwatch operating systems are strongly implementing AI to give apps a contextual visibility, so they become more relevant to users and, in turn, more profitable for you.
Having an app on the watch effectively takes your company within that special intimate area of the individual’s life and headspace, thereby creating that valuable emotional bond every brand craves.
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