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How retailers are responding to the launch of the Apple Watch

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Shoppers who rushed to buy the latest idevice, the Apple Watch, when it went on sale in the UK on Friday already have a number of retail apps to choose from. Developers are grappling with the still smaller amount of space available on an Apple Watch screen in their challenge: to find meaningful ways to use a device that’s attached to the wrist and so is always available. Here we take a look at some of the early ways that retailers have responded to the launch.

Cook with M&S

M&S has adapted its in-house developed Cook with M&S app for the Apple Watch. Users who look up a recipe on their iPhone, for example, can use the watch to keep a track of their shopping list as they travel around the shop, ticking off items as they go. They can also use the app’s timers to keep track of the cooking process – and the app will remind them what to do, and when along the way.

“When we first developed Cook With M&S, we were aiming to provide not only recipe inspiration, but a tool that offers practical help in the kitchen,” said Peter Wright, product developer for M&S Digital Labs.

“In the Digital Labs team, we always ask how tech can improve the customer experience, and specifically for the app, how can digital enhance the cooking process?”

He says the speed of the digital labs development means that ideas can be tested and applied as quickly as possible. The Apple Watch represents an important step into wearable technology that Wright believes will become very popular.

“While currently only in its infancy in terms of mainstream consumer use, over the next year the role of wearable tech in customers’ everyday lives is set to grow as developments like the Apple Watch come to market.

“The way our Digital Labs team works, by constantly iterating and getting product to market as quickly as possible, means we have the capabilities to stay one step ahead in reacting to trends and anticipating customer demand.”

Vente-Privée: flash sales app

Vente-Privée’s app trades on the fact that time is of the essence when it comes to its stock-in-trade flash sales. Users can sign up to be notified when sales they are interested in start, they can register for upcoming sales and they can check the status of their last five orders as well as keeping track of their shopping basket.

Some 45% of Vente-Privée’s sales are now made via mobile devices: since its mobile app was first released in 2010 it has been downloaded more than 6m times.

Amazon: shopping on the go

Users of the Amazon tap the Amazon shopping app on the watch to buy items, or save an idea for later.

Designed for the on-the-go customer, the shopping app promises a tailored Amazon experience, offering voice search and quick tap features including one-click purchasing and save to wish list.

“This is still day-one for wearable devices,” said Paul Cousineau, director of mobile shopping. “We are excited to offer new ways for our customers to get quick glimpses of information they need from Amazon through Apple Watch. There are times when it might not be convenient to get your phone out of your pocket. So we worked to distill the best parts of the Amazon shopping experience into fast and simple access points from your wrist. Customers can use voice search, 1-Click purchasing, and find all of the key pieces of product information they need. We can’t wait to see how our customers respond.”

Using the Apple Watch app, Amazon customers can search the catalogue, add to wish list, save a shopping idea by saying it, or get more iPhone information.

eBay: keeping shoppers up-to-date

eBay’s app also helps customers stay on top of time-sensitive sales. It keeps bidders up-to-date on the auctions they’re on, telling them when they’ve been outbid, so that shoppers can react through their smartphone.

Asos: letting consumers know the latest product arrivals

Asos has updated its mobile app to include Apple Watch functionality. Users who save an item receive alerts when any of them drop in price or are restocked, and can then add items directly to their bag from the Apple Watch app before buying them through the Asos mobile site. New arrivals are also flagged up via the Apple Watch app: shoppers can browse them and add them to their saved items list as they go.

If you have an Apple Watch app that you’d like to tell us about, you can do so by adding a comment below or emailing press (at) internet retailing (dot) net.

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