Just as retailers are getting the hang of incorporating smartphones into the physical shopping experience, the tech world has been developing another tool affecting the digital-physical divide: the smartwatch.
But while the mobile phone has been lauded for its potential to facilitate a sale, the smartwatch looks, for now at least, to be a key tool in building customer loyalty, according to recent research commissioned by GPShopper.
GPShopper, which builds custom apps for retailers such as Steve Madden and Bebe, worked with research firm YouGov to survey consumers about shopping with an Apple Watch. They found that rather than making impulse purchases, customers would prefer to use an Apple Watch for coupons and loyalty programs.
Researchers surveyed 2,037 adults online and found that 23 percent of Americans would consider buying the next version of the Apple Watch. Of those consumers, 41 percent would most likely engage with a brand’s Apple Watch app if they could get coupons, and 32 percent would engage if they could access customer loyalty programs.
A quarter of consumers were worried that a purchase would be an impulse buy, so they wouldn’t make a purchase using an Apple Watch, while 63 percent wouldn’t make a purchase of more than $100. One in five said that making a purchase on an Apple Watch would be the same as making a payment through their phone.
“We see that people who would consider buying a nearly $300 Apple Watch are not turning around and using it to make other big purchases over $100,” said GPShopper cofounder and chief marketing officer Maya Mikhailov.
In addition to loyalty programs, ways to enhance the customer shopping experience with an Apple Watch include checking inventory or getting an alert when something is back in stock (31 percent), contacting customer service (24 percent) and requesting a salesperson while they are in the store (20 percent). High-earning customers, meaning those who earn more than $80,000, specifically wanted to access customer loyalty programs (42 percent).
Just like with smartphones, brands that want to engage shoppers using an Apple Watch, Mikhailov said, “need to figure out how to make the device part of the bigger mobile experience they are giving customers digitally and in stores.”