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Rue La La sees increased smartphone app engagement with Apple Watch

While it is still early days for Apple Watch applications, flash sales retailer Rue La La reports increased engagement with its smartphone app as a result of the watch, promising news for the numerous merchants who quickly jumped onboard with smartwatch offerings.

The list continues to grow for merchants who are accelerating their smartwatch strategies since the introduction of the  Apple Watch, with Whole Foods also entering this area recently. These offerings run the gamut from attempts to replicate the smartphone experience on a smaller to screen to significantly pared down versions that offer only a few key features.

“It’s still early, but we’re seeing some increased engagement with our phone app as a result of the watch,” said Arash Hadipanah, senior mobile product manager at Rue La La. 

We’re planning on conducting some usability testing to make improvements with the watch app, especially with the announcement of WatchOS2 at WWDC to further improve the experience,” he said.

Shopping from the wrist
The Rue La La Apple Watch app enables users to see the flash sales retailer’s latest boutiques from their wrist, view upcoming boutiques and set calendar reminders for when their favorite brands go live, check the status of an order as well as view shipping details and available credit.

“Members also have the ability to see which items are still in their cart and which ones are about to expire, from there they can go into the phone app to make a purchase,” Mr. Hadipanah said. “We also remind members of how many days they have for free shipping and whether they have credit in their account.

“Additionally, they can contact customer service via phone from the watch,” he said.

Driving engagement
The Whole Foods Apple Watch app follows along with what other food retailers have introduced, with users having the ability to view their shopping lists on the smartwatch and check off items on they go. Checked items are automatically updated on customers’ phones.

While the first generation of smartwatch app have been tightly integrated with iPhone apps, the next generation could have more standalone features now that Apple has updated its operating system for the watch. This could help merchants drive even further engagement.

“Engagement is an area of focus for us, having the watch app helps us notify members with timely information such as new sales or when their order ships or when an item is about to expire, getting them into our phone app and interacting there,” Mr. Hadipanah said.

“We’re not looking to replicate the full shopping experience on the watch app as some others have done, we think the watch should be treated as an extension to our phone app and a way to glance at specific, relevant information for the member,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York