Watch what happens (get it?)
April 21, 2015 05:01 PM
Soon the world will see if Apple Inc. can create yet another mobile market—this time, wearables. Apple drove demand for smartphones when it introduced its iPhone in 2007, and did the same for tablets with its iPad in 2010. Now comes the Apple Watch.
This time, many retailers and other businesses are not waiting around, they’re ready and unveiling Apple Watch-compatible iPhone apps. On March 12, QVC Group was the first merchant to debut its Apple Watch-compatible iPhone app. The latest update to Apple iOS, the mobile operating system that runs all Apple mobile devices, included Apple Watch functionality. Businesses can integrate that functionality into their iPhone apps. When paired via Bluetooth, the iPhone and the Apple Watch work in concert, from the same iPhone app.
Always among the first to the mobile table, web and mobile movie tickets giant Fandango has launched its Apple Watch-compatible iPhone app. The Fandango app for Apple Watch is designed to deliver to a consumer’s wrist all of the essential information needed to make moviegoing easy, the company says. Once a Fandango movie ticket for participating theaters is purchased on an iPhone, a mobile bar code ticket is delivered to the Apple Watch. The ticket then can be scanned by a ticket-taker for quick access to a theater. The app also provides key information on the smartwatch including a countdown-to-showtime clock, directions to theaters and a list of theater amenities.
The new app also delivers movie trivia as well as facts about a movie a consumer just viewed. In future updates to the app, moviegoers also will be able to quickly rate a film and share their ratings with others, as well as receive movie notifications, Fandango says. Apple Watch users can toggle between the Fandango app and other apps and such pedestrian matters as the time by using the dial on the smartwatch.
“Fandango is always looking for new ways to make the moviegoing experience more exciting and convenient, and our Apple Watch app is an extension of that strategy,” Mark Young, vice president of strategy and business development at Fandango, tells Internet Retailer. “Moviegoing is a time-based activity, and having your ticket and a countdown-to-showtime clock on your wrist couldn’t be more perfect. We have been first to support many of Apple’s new technology and platform introductions—like Passbook and Siri—and we have created Fandango experiences across all iOS devices. We are very excited to be a part of the Apple Watch launch, too.”
Fandango expects many early adopters of the Apple Watch also will be Fandango customers.
“Our moviegoers tend to over-index on their use of technology, as reflected by our significant mobile audience,” Young says. “More than 46 million people have downloaded our mobile apps to date and more than 50% of our ticket sales are from mobile devices.”
Online and mobile travel heavy hitter Booking.com just unveiled its Booking Now app for the Apple Watch. With Booking Now, which draws from Booking.com’s selection of more than 625,000 properties in more than 75,000 destinations, consumers can book a stay directly from their Apple Watch in just one touch. Through the use of Apple’s new pressure-sensitive Force Touch screen technology, travelers can choose and book the nearest relevant hotel in one gesture. Apple’s Force Touch screen can determine the difference between a light tap and a deep push, enabling app designers, for example, to integrate two functions into the same button (similar to a left-click and a right-click of a mouse on the same area of a screen).
“At Booking.com, we always are exploring new ways to empower travelers to simply search and book an accommodation that’s just right for them—no matter which screen or device,” says Stuart Frisby, principal designer at Booking.com. “We are offering a tailored, streamlined travel experience on arguably the most personal computer ever made, helping users do less to get more. Booking Now is intended for anyone who values simple, on-the-go accommodation matches that meet their specific needs. From the early tech adopter to the spontaneous traveler to the last-minute business booker, any user will find the app intuitive, time-saving and easy to use.”
Another travel player, Hotels.com, has introduced its first Apple Watch-compatible app, enabling customers to seek nearby hotel deals, view upcoming reservations and locate hotels via GPS.
The goal of the app is to help make travel for Hotels.com customers more relaxed and stress-free, a Hotels.com spokesman says. “With this new Apple Watch-compatible feature, we can help our customers retrieve all the necessary information about their booking without the need to search through their bags,” he says.
A guest with an Apple Watch can use the app to be notified about upcoming reservations and have full access to booking details, such as hotel images and address. The app also will display directions to a hotel and remind a guest about check-in and checkout information. Another feature also enables travelers to find last-minute hotel deals in their current location to help them choose their ideal hotel for the best rate, the spokesman says.
The Hotels.com app for Apple iOS, Android and other mobile operating systems has been downloaded more than 40 million times and offers mobile-exclusive deals, the company says.
Sign up for a free subscription to Mobile Strategies 360, a new weekly newsletter (debuting in May) reporting on how businesses in all industries use mobile technologies to communicate with and market and sell to their consumers. Mobile Strategies 360 is published by Vertical Web Media LLC, which also publishes Internet Retailer, a business publication on e-retailing.