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Target, Fandango, Expedia jump in with Apple Watch apps

Leading mobile merchants such Target, Fandango, Expedia, eBay and Citi recognize an opportunity to extend the convenience of smartphone applications by having Apple Watch apps available when the device launches next month.

Many of these apps are not transactional but leverage the convenience of a smart watch to make it easy for users to access important information, such as show times and flight reminders. Taking advantage of the geo-location technology, the apps can send notifications to shoppers, for example, when they are nearby an item on their shopping list.

“As mobile makes the jump from people’s pockets to their wrists, consumers will expect greater sophistication and value from their devices,” said Mark Ghermezian, CEO and founder of Appboy. “Based on yesterday’s launch event, any app that helps optimize and streamline daily activities and routine experiences is poised to resonate with consumers.

“Apps that properly leverage more advanced Apple Watch features, such as iBeacons and Digital Touch, and increase the symbiotic relationship between other devices (think home automation etc.) will be the ones to make the greatest initial impact,” he said.

More efficient shopping
The list of brands that will have Apple Watch apps at launch on April 24 also includes American Airlines, OpenTable, Redfin, Shazam and Uber.

The Target app for Apple Watch is designed to make trips to a Target store more efficient.

For example, the app knows where users are in the store, sorts the shopping list they create on iPhone and guides users to the next item. When they are near something on their list, they will receive a reminder.

The Fandango app will deliver a scannable mobile bar coded ticket to the Apple Watch to moviegoers who have purchased a ticket on Fandango. The Expedia app on Apple Watch will provide travelers with quick access to important travel information on the go.

For Fandango, its Apple Watch app is the next evolution in mobile ticketing for a brand that has previously launched apps for smartphones and tablets that enable users to purchase a ticket.

In fact, Fandango recently reached a mobile tipping point where more than 50 percent of sales come from a mobile connected device.

For the recent release of the Fifty Shades of Grey film,

Fandango saw 65 percent of ticket sales via mobile (see story).

Fandango has also previously worked with Apple on Siri and Passbook initiatives.

Once users have purchased a ticket on Fandango, the app will deliver a mobile bar coded to ticket the Apple Watch that can be scanned by a ticket-taker at the theater.


Citi’s Apple Watch app

Swiping up
Expedia, also a leader in leveraging mobile, will enable Apple Watch owners to receive notifications on their wrists for flight status, gate changes, hotel check-in and check-out.

For example, users will be able to receive a notification if their flight is delayed.

Users can swipe up on the watch face and scroll left or right to find Expedia Glance, where the most relevant reservation information will be available.

Users will also be able to check itineraries for upcoming trips.

Available information will include departure and arrival times for flights as well as gate numbers and terminals. For hotels, users can get check-in and checkout times, maps, directions and phone numbers.

“While it’s likely that consumers will initially favor familiar brands and apps on Apple Watch, enterprising independent developers will definitely have an opportunity to make an impact,” Mr. Ghermezian said. “Companies that aren’t mobile first will likely move slowly, leaving room for app developers to step in and create compelling user experiences that will attract consumers.

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