Swrve Vies To Become Brands’ Guide To Apple Watch Push Notifications

Retailers’ exploration of the omnichannel potential of the quick messages to wearables is just beginning.

As retailers begin to figure out how to engage with in-store consumers using the Apple Watch, mobile marketing automation provider Swrve is proposing its platform as the guide. The San Francisco-based company is supporting push notifications on the Apple Watch. Using the Swrve platform, marketers can create, A/B test, preview, and send short-look and long-look notifications to its app users. Swrve claims to be the first mobile marketing platform to give mobile marketers control over all Apple Watch notification functionality directly through its platform interface with no developer code changes required.

Swrve's Steve Gershik
Swrve’s Steve Gershik

Steve Gershik, CMO at Swrve, says that the company was motivated to extend its offerings to the Apple Watch because of the tremendous interest the device has garnered among the company’s clients, which most prominently include gaming brands like Sega and WB games, and their desire to see how the technology could work for marketing purposes. It would seem Swrve also wants to appeal more to brick-and-mortar retailers as well as to the hospitality sector.

A Throat-Clearing Gesture

“Our customers came to us and said, ‘Help us figure this out,’” Gershik says, adding that Swrve at its core is really an A/B message testing platform. “Whether it’s an in-app message or an Apple Watch notification, we have the ability to try things out.”

The concept of short-look, which are intended for alerts, and long-look notifications, which include scrolling for brief access of the details of an alert, are native to the Apple Watch, and thus, brand new to the industry.

“The short-look message is kind of like the ‘ahem, the clearing of the throat,” Gershik says. “The long-look message is the actual offer. That offer can contain a link to an app. It can contain a link where you can respond to a particular alert or notification, or you can then start interacting with the brand through the mobile app on your phone.”

While Swrve doesn’t work with many brick-and-mortar retailers at the moment, it seems positioned to change that with its latest offering. Gershik explains how Apple Watch notifications in a retail environment might work: A consumer looks at a product through a retailer’s mobile app. They place it into their shopping cart in the mobile app but don’t go through and complete the purchase. “With Swrve we can integrate with an iBeacon, when [that consumer] walks into the store, we can send an alert notification to their Apple Watch that the product is available on the second floor, or is available for sale right now,” Gershik says.

Gershik sees plenty of potential around these push notifications, but recognizes the apprehension around any Apple Watch marketing agenda. After all, as he points out, nobody really knows how consumers are going to respond, or what methods will prove effective. That’s why it’s critical to start testing things out.

An Open Invite And An Open Platformunnamed-1

“It’s really important that we start testing those messages and notifications so we can see what works,” Gershik says. “We want folks to respond affirmatively to whatever we’re presenting to them in these Apple Watch notifications. With this announcement, we offer the ability for anyone trying to communicate with consumers on the Apple Watch to test those notifications, to measure what’s working, and to optimize the results over time so that they’re creating engaged, personalized experiences with their users.”

As an open platform, Gershik points out that Swrve can integrate with any other marketing software a brand is using. “That can be a point of sale system, a classic marketing automation system, an [enterprise resource planning] system, or [customer relationship management],” he says. “We [can] take data in real time out of a CRM system and use it to inform what messages you get sent on your mobile device, including your Apple Watch.”

Hospitality Interest

Gershik says that Swerve is getting a lot of questions about the possibilities of Apple Watch push notifications from the travel and hospitality industry. Answering them could be a move that helps widen the company’s scope of clientele.

“I think Starwood was one of the reference customers on stage during the Apple Watch launch, and they’re doing some really interesting things with using the Apple Watch as a key-less entry system to their hotel rooms. That kind of prompted a lot of other brands in that industry to start asking questions about, ‘Well what can we do with leveraging the watch, and using short-look and long-look notifications to help engage with customers in ways that are contextually relevant?”

It will be sometime before these brands can definitively answer those questions, but Swrve is positioned to get them well on their way.