The wearable app market is set to explode over the next few years. This will entail everything from IoT device connected watches to clothes that will measure your health status. As this technology is finally reaching its stride, making sure to prepare for this opportunity should be a primary goal for those in the mobile application business.
In 2007, Apple launched the iPhone, and in 2008, they launched the App Store—both instances forever changing the tech game as we now know it. While many considered the new emergence and fascination with apps a fad, we can safely say, nearly 10 years later, that apps are an extremely important part of a business. In fact, the rising popularity of apps created a whole new digital ecosystem for businesses to navigate.
While the concept of curating a digital ecosystem was not new, apps represented a new model that centered around crowdsourcing digital interactive content. The trend also put most major brands in the business of building apps—an area of tech where many businesses never had to navigate before.
Today, app ecosystems are a requirement for any successful smartphone operating system—and players in the wearables market have been quick to integrate similar app ecosystems into their business models.
What we saw happen over the past ten years with smartphone app development will echo in the wearables market. There will be an initial rush to be the first business to introduce and offer wearable apps. And while the urge to have a presence on these platforms will drive need, it could be to the detriment of many businesses.
Putting customer needs first
When the app craze first hit the smartphone scene many companies created apps for the sake of trying to stay ahead of the digital curve. This, however, was a big mistake. Many customers considered the rushed apps that were produced to be irrelevant or the apps pushed into the marketplace were riddled with bugs, glitches, or terrible user experiences.
Instead of focusing on keeping up with the technology, these companies should have put their customers’ needs at the center of their strategy. They needed to truly think about how the app could benefit the customer, and more importantly, consider how the company’s value proposition translated to a mobile experience.
Customers only want to interact with your brand when it’s useful for them. If you want to create a wearable app, it’s important to think about what would be useful to your users. Let’s say, for example, you own a chain of health and fitness clubs. In this case, your users might be very interested in a wearable app that pushes geographically specific chain location info to a member’s smartwatch while they are traveling. Pestering them with your latest press release, however, wouldn’t be as effective.
In the wearable ecosystem, a company’s value proposition will be even more important because the threshold for obtrusive or distracting interactions will be much lower. With a wearable app, you’ll have a much better chance to grab the customer’s attention and get across the information you want them to see. In fact, in some ways, the point of a smartwatch is to reduce the amount of time spent staring at a screen—if you’re really looking to get the attention of your customers, think “at-a-glance,” rather than “fully engaged.”
Wearable app trends on the horizon
Of course, as the technologies continue to develop, we may begin to see high growth in the aggregation of data from wearables. Imagine all the information that could be gathered from a smartwatch—whether it’s all the places your customers are visiting on the weekends or the amount of time they spend at the gym. This information could help you create even better experiences for your customers as time goes on—so long as you know how to take advantage of it.
The information that wearables collect could also be great input for an existing mobile app. For the healthcare sector, businesses could connect fitness data to Health Insurance smartphone apps. For the financial services industries, wearables could use context-specific payment data for better budgeting visualizations.
Like the app trend and craze that Apple started back in 2008, we only see the use of wearables increasing in popularity over the next few years. The businesses who are first on the scene with relevant and useful wearable apps, will find themselves in the best position to capitalize on the trend.