How to Use Apple Watch for Deals and Rewards

By Marc Saltzman

Apple Watch isn’t just used to make purchases and offer support for loyalty cards; it can also be used in other ways to serve up a richer shopping experience for you.

Folding in other technologies, Apple Watch can also be used to customize the store experience to suit individual preferences. For example, stores equipped with Apple’s iBeacon location-based technology could identify you from your Apple Watch (and/or nearby iPhone) and welcome you, reward you with points for stepping into a store, notify you about deals, and give personalized suggestions based on previous interests.

Of course, these are things you have to opt into. That is, you must give the store permission first in its downloadable app.

Imagine stepping into a retailer and seeing what you need to know on the Apple Watch screen. It’s still early days, but the technology is there.

Just ask Cyriac Roeding, the celebrated entrepreneur, investor, and cofounder/CEO of shopkick, an app that helps you find deals and earn rewards.

“While it’s still a little early, smartwatches like Apple Watch are a next, natural step in the evolution of the shopping experience,” believes Roeding, whose shopkick app is the most widely used shopping app at retail stores in the United States, according to Nielsen, with approximately ten million users (as of May 2015).

Roeding says shopkick’s Apple Watch app will offer much of the same experience as the smartphone app “but without you having to take out your phone.” When you walk into one of the 10,000 stores with shopkick’s “shopBeacon” transmitters — built upon Apple’s location-based iBeacon technology — along with ultrasound, you’ll be welcomed by name, rewarded with redeemable kicks (points) for walking in the door, and notified of curated deals based on your previous shopping habits.

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“Just like with smartphones, our goal for Apple Watch will be to turn a store you walk into [into] your store. We’ll show you what you need on the watch screen — call it ‘mini shopkick’ — but if there’s more info you’ll need you’ll be directed to open the app on your iPhone,” says Roeding.

shopBeacon’s location technology, which uses ultrasound and Bluetooth low energy (BLE), does not collect any information about you, assures Roeding, as it only sends out information instead of collecting data.