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Wednesday, 18 March 2015 07:55

How The Apple Watch Could Affect Independent Businesses

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For retailers, there is excitement about Apple Pay, which is already in use in the US with an iPhone, and is potentially made even easier with the Apple Watch.

Just a wave of the hand can pay for your morning coffee, as opposed to a wave of your iPhone or your wallet with a contactless card inside.

But perhaps more interesting is the potential for integration of iBeacon technology in the Apple Watch. From a marketing perspective perhaps the Apple Watch will, at last, make real time, location-based marketing a reality. I remember years ago when I worked on mobile data strategy at O2, we often talked about the idea of getting a ‘local ad’ on your phone, for example a discounted coffee as you walked past a coffee shop. While this is technically possible today with geo-marketing cell-site technology and/or iBeacons, the uptake hasn’t happened as there are simply too many barriers and too much complexity in place. Could the idea of pushing these notifications straight to your Apple Watch make it real? Quite possibly, and app-builder solutions are looking at making it easy for SMEs to build apps for their customers that do exactly this.

So what does this actually mean for someone running an independent business on the high street? It means that they can now get more customers through their door, more often. That means more sales, and more profits. Simple, and made easy using a business app that their customers can have on their phone - and, in time, their Apple Watch.

For every day users, there are questions around the watch’s short team use vs. what happens in the coming months and years. When the developer ecosystem gains groundswell we may see a whole new category of apps coming to market that, beyond sport, make a compelling case for a smart screen on your wrist. But for now, it's looking like a great watch for active types, but for everyone else little more than a nice gadget.

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