How the latest in wearable tech affects the automotive industry.
First portable music players, then cell phones, and now timepieces– Apple has revolutionized them all. The Apple Watch is officially available, and with the popularity and buzz surrounding it, it’s time to ask– what are the implications for automotive enthusiasts?
Two automakers have already launched apps for the Apple Watch. Both BMW and Porsche have come out with apps that work on the watch, which allow drivers to connect to their vehicles.
The BMW app works on the BMW i3 and BMW i8 electrified vehicles, and allows drivers to connect with the vehicles at any time. They can check the status of things like the car’s battery, set the internal temperature of the vehicle and more.
The Porsche app can also control vehicle metrics like those, allowing drivers to access Porsche Car Connect functions directly from the watch. It works for 2014-and later models of the Porsche Cayenne, Macan, Panamera and 918 Spyder.
What about at the dealer level?
The Apple Watch will also allow consumers to more easily conduct searches for local businesses, which is important for dealers. Why pull a smartphone out of a pocket or purse when a consumer can simply look up a dealership on their watch?
The default navigation app on the Apple Watch is, predictably, Apple’s Maps app, which features Yelp integration. Many dealers focus on their efforts on boosting their Google reviews, or their ratings on sites like Cars.com and DealerRater, but Yelp reviews and ratings are equally important. If a consumer is looking for a nearby dealership on their Apple Watch and yours has a lower Yelp rating than a competitor, they might keep driving.
The Watch may also make Apple Pay more prevalent– if businesses get on board. If dealers are prepared to accept contactless payment through Apple Pay via the Apple Watch, more and more customers are likely to use it, adding an additional layer of seamlessness to customer transactions.
The Apple Watch is still new to the market, so many of the benefits to dealers and digital marketers have yet to be seen. Going forward, marketers will be able to customize messages to consumers based on their recent activity, push proximity- and timing-based messages to consumers and more. Dealers should stay tuned to find out how the newest wearable tech on the block can help them target consumers.
Once Apple releases a new product like this, it tends to become more and more mainstream. Prepare to start seeing quite a few Apple Watches on wrists in your showroom in the near future.