Engaging Customers with the Apple Watch

We briefly discussed possibilities for engaging Apple Watch users last month, but now that the Watch is making its way onto the wrists of early adopters, it’s time to dive deeper into building strategies that drive engagement and conversion.

Apple Watch users are looking for personalization and convenience. They don’t want to go looking for information, they expect it to come to them.



One of the biggest challenges in designing an app for the Watch is determining how to engage customers on a screen approximately one-third the size of an iPhone 6 and still provide a useful user experience. Retailers will also face challenges in finding ways to seamlessly interact with customers without being intrusive.

There’s a big opportunity for retailers to stand out while the Watch is still in its youth. Even though over 3,500 Apple Watch apps are available, only a handful of retailers currently offer apps for the Watch, including Target, Amazon, JCPenney, Kohl’s, and QVC. 

We caught up with one of our very own Branders to discuss bridging the gap between online and in-store experiences for omnichannel retailers.


“It’s more likely that a user will have location services and WiFi enabled if they have a watch,” said Chris Brack, Lead Engineer at Branding Brand. “Retailers that incentivize customers to connect to their store’s WiFi or grant their app GPS access will drive conversion and gain insight on how customers navigate the store.”

Brack explained that in-store interactions provide a greater understanding of how customers utilize their mobile devices and wearables. Retailers can leverage these insights to optimize marketing placement, capitalize on otherwise non-converting store visits, and increase brand loyalty so the customers are more likely to return to the store or the app. 

“As location services become more refined and more widely-used, retailers are now empowered to record customer activity within a store,” said Brack. “If a retailer’s app registers that a customer goes into a store and leaves shortly after, this action can trigger a notification saying, ‘Did you find what you were looking for? Get free shipping on your next online purchase.’”

Retailers should be thoughtful when sending notifications to avoid disrupting customers; however, using notifications in a relevant context can deliver rewarding experiences and increase user engagement and loyalty in the long-run. Alerting users of a shipped purchase or in-store offers at a nearby store are low risk and high reward notification opportunities. 

There are many other ways for retailers to engage their customers to increase conversion and sales, including:

  • Location-based ads
  • Loyalty cards
  • Coupons
  • Shopping lists
  • In-store item locator
  • Order tracking
  • Store locator

While the Watch opens up a new realm of possibilities to reach your customers, it’s important to understand your customers and their expectations for connecting with your brand. Talk to us today to see if your brand is ready for an Apple Watch app.

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Topics: Trends Solutions

WEBINAR ALERT: Apple Watch for Retailers

You're Invited!

Apple Watch for Retailers


Apple Watch for Retailers
Thursday, April 30, 1 PM EDT

Join Branding Brand CEO Chris Mason for an inside look at the new Apple Watch and what it means for retailers. Attendees will also hear from guest speaker Julie Ask of Forrester Research, Inc., who will introduce a list of to-dos for creating a clear mobile strategy in an increasingly complex world. 

Sorry, you missed the webinar. Contact us to find what you missed.

Topics: Company Webinar

"A New Way to Say Hello" from Google


Google announced today that it plans to offer wireless cell services through a new program called Project Fi. By partnering with Sprint and T-Mobile, Project Fi has the ability to seamlessly transition from 4G LTE networks to Wi-Fi to provide the fastest service available without draining a device's battery.

Currently, Project Fi is only available on the Nexus 6. Project Fi customers who already have a Nexus 6 will have the option to receive a free SIM card shipped, which will allow their current device to connect to the different cellular networks. Those without the device already can purchase one through Google.

Project Fi doesn't require an annual contract and only has one Basics plan. Fi Basics includes unlimited domestic and international talk and text as well as Wi-Fi tethering for $20 per month plus $10 per each 1GB of data used. Any unused data will be credited toward customers' accounts.

Interested in joining Project Fi's Early Access Program?  
Click here

Image Source: Google, https://fi.google.com/about/plan/

Topics: Trends

Google's "Mobile-Friendly" Update Could Impact Over 40% of Fortune 500 Websites (TechCrunch)

Our Q1 2015 MCI report was featured in TechCrunch. See the excerpt below, or read the full story.



As Google explains today, in order for a site to be considered mobile-friendly, its text has to be readable without tapping and zooming, its tap targets need to be spaced out appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling. In other words, the site simply needs to be easily usable from a mobile device.


The advantages to making a site mobile-friendly aren’t just good for Google and consumers – they’re good for site owners, too. For sites that are mobile-optimized, search sends a number of visitors to smartphone sites and contributes to a significant portion of a website’s revenue. According to a study of 100 top mobile properties by Branding Brand, search accounted for nearly half of all smartphone traffic (43 percent) in Q1 2015, up 5 percent from the prior quarter. In addition, organic search produced 25 percent of all revenue on smartphone-optimized sites.

And mobile traffic continues to grow – smartphone visits grew 35 percent year-over-year as of Q1, the study noted. Apple devices accounted for 59 percent of all smartphone visits in the quarter, during which time 28 percent of all online revenue was generated by mobile devices....

Read full article on TechCrunch.

Topics: Trends Report Media Coverage Company

What You Really Need to Know about Mobilegeddon

Google’s algorithm update for search engine optimization (aka Mobilegeddon) will be released in less than a week and has the potential to eliminate smartphone visits and revenue if brands aren't providing mobile friendly experiences.


According to 
Branding Brand’s Mobile Commerce Index, smartphones are the fastest-growing revenue source for online retailers.

In Q1 2015, Organic Search produced:

  • 30% of traffic to smartphone sites

  • 25% of all revenue on smartphone sites

In Q1 2015:

  • 14% of all online revenue was generated by smartphones

  • 38% of all online visits were produced by smartphones

From Q1 2014 to Q1 2015:

  • Smartphone visits as a whole grew 35% YOY

  • Organic Search visits grew 55% YOY
What does this mean for retailers? If you aren’t following Google’s mobile friendly guidelines by April 21, it’s possible that 30% of your smartphone customers won’t be able to find your products, let alone buy them. What's more, 25% of your smartphone revenue could be at risk.


Understanding Mobile SEO & Organic Search
Search engines, like Google, inspect websites by following links from page to page. Search results are ranked in multiple ways, including:
  • Quality
  • Relevance
  • Timeliness
  • Security
  • Context
  • Location

Google’s latest algorithm update targets smartphone organic search. Organic search results are listed for their relevance to the search terms rather than being paid advertisements.


How Mobilegeddon Affects Mobile SEO & Organic Search
Mobilegeddon is a progressive step to provide smartphone users with a better experience when they click on a link from a search results page. Although Google first announced their update in February, TechCrunch recently reported that 44% of Fortune 500 companies' sites are still not mobile friendly.


Mobile-friendly sites are useful, intuitive, readable, and fast. They don’t require users to pinch-and-zoom, and they’re branded consistently with the company’s desktop site. Now, they also have to be recognized by Google as mobile friendly.

There are several ways to be mobile friendly, but Google doesn’t favor one particular mobile-friendly type of site over another as long as the site passes these requirements:

  • Mobile-friendly pages are signaled
  • Googlebot crawling is enabled
  • Playable videos and animations 
  • Redirects are implemented properly
  • Disruptions and mobile-only errors are avoided
  • Site speed is fast

How to Prepare for Mobilegeddon
Branding Brand doesn't just make innovative shopping experiences for retailers, we also make mobile friendly sites that rank high in search results by using our thorough 20-point SEO checklist based on Google's best practices. If you don't have a mobile site or you're looking to optimize, let's talk mobile together.

If you have a mobile site but aren't sure if its mobile friendly, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Branding Brand recommends testing the homepage, category page, and product page to account for each page variation on your site.  

Topics: Trends Report

Branding Brand Tops Mobile Commerce Rankings Four Years in a Row

According to new data released from Internet Retailer’s 2015 Top 500 Guide, more IR 500 merchants use Branding Brand than any other mobile commerce platform. This is the fourth year in a row that Branding Brand has enjoyed distinction as the largest mobile provider based on the number of web retailers naming the company as their vendor.

“We are very proud of the continued recognition of our market leadership by Internet Retailer,” said Chris Mason, CEO and co-founder of Branding Brand. “Over 200 major brands rely on Branding Brand for their mobile experiences.”

Available at top500guide.com, 2015 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide rankings are based on annual web sales of North America’s largest e-retailers.

Related Articles:

Topics: Company

Q1 REPORT: Search Accounts for Nearly Half of all Smartphone Traffic

There’s no doubt that the Google algorithm update is about to change the game for mobile, but now there’s proof. According to a new report from Branding Brand’s Mobile Commerce Index, 43 percent of all smartphone traffic came from search in Q1 2015--a five percent increase compared to Q4 2014. 

“Search is the leading source of traffic to retailers’ smartphone sites,” said Chris Mason, Branding Brand CEO and co-founder. “With Mobilegeddon around the corner, retailers need to focus on providing mobile friendly experiences that not only convert but can also get found in the first place.”

Q1 2015 Mobile Traffic Sources

According to the report, 27 percent of smartphone traffic arrived direct; 16 percent arrived from email; and 14 percent arrived from referrals. 

The Index also revealed that Apple devices accounted for 59 percent of all smartphone visits in Q1 2015. Visits from users running iOS 8 grew 30 percent, while iOS 7 dropped 42 percent compared to Q4 2014. 

The 100 mobile-optimized sites in the study received a total of 280 million visits from January 1 to March 31, 2015 and produced $233 million in revenue. During this time, 28 percent of all online revenue was generated by mobile devices. 

View full report

Discover Q2 2015 shopping trends.

Topics: Trends Report

March Mobile Commerce Index Is Live

Branding Brand's latest Mobile Commerce Index revealed smartphone conversion grew 32% from March 2014 to March 2015; desktop conversion fell 3% year-over-year.


The report also found that, last month, smartphone users flooded search with the keyword "green," leading up to Saint Patrick's Day. Compared to the last week in February, there was a 103% increase in "green"-related queries.

Throughout March, smartphones and tablets produced 54% of all online traffic and 28% of all online revenue.

Read the full report now.

View an exclusive report on the state of mobile in Q1 2015.

Topics: Trends Report