What does Apple’s WWDC mean for retail innovation?
Apple held its Worldwide Developers Conference on Friday, with several announcements which will improve the tech giant’s current mobile and retail experience for users. CEO Tim Cook emphasised both on the technology behind Apple’s new announcements as well as the exciting features behind it.
While the tech giant might be behind some of its leading competitors such as Google and Amazon in introducing new tech it’s newest features sound promising for users’ mobile and retail experiences.
Apple Pay is launching an extension of its service for peer-to-peer payment capability on iMessage which will compete with existing online P2P payment providers i like PayPal and Venmo. The announcement comes just a couple weeks after the Google I/O event where Google and PayPal were seen strengthening their evolving relationship between Android Pay and PayPal. With iOS 11 Apple Pay users can send money to other users, if you’re on the receiving end you’ll get an Apple Pay Cash card with a balance that can be spent using Apple Pay, transferred again or withdrawn into your bank account.
With iOS 11, developers will for the first time be able to create apps that can interact with NFC enabled objects. Currently the NFC chip in the iPhone is only used to handle contactless transactions via Apple Pay and Passbook check-ins but with the new framework Core NFC tags can be read without launching a separate application.
Following the footsteps of Amazon Echo and Google Home Apple is finally making its way into home AI. The technology company has announced it will release Homepod its own smart speaker device in December. The new AI home assistant could open new opportunities for retailers to create new retail experiences right in the home leveraging Apple’s existing video capabilities with AppleTV and iPhone/iPad. Developers also have interesting potential to combine the device with Apple Pay thus creating a new marketplace for shoppers across any Apple Pay accepting retailer.
QR code scanner
With the new update, the tech giant’s popular iPhone will have the ability to read QR codes via its native camera app. Apple is late in the game to release this technology as Android has already offered this on their devices for several years, but the QR code trend is rising in popularity again and it seems Apple couldn’t avoid incorporating this feature any longer. The once much-maligned links are making a comeback with Facebook, Snapchat and Pinterest already using QR code capabilities to drive retail innovation, read how here.
Live chat for business
Additionally Apple has announced Business Chat, a new tool that allows business to add live chat / customer support on iMessage for companies to communicate more directly with customers. The feature is similar to Facebook Messenger’s chatbot platform but could potentially be more valuable for retailers who want to encourage more frequent interaction with customers. The system will be integrated with customer service systems that businesses already commonly use such as Salesforce, Nuance and Genesys. Conversations in Business Chat are initiated by users and act as person-to-person chats where no chatbots are involved although Apple didn’t confirm if actual chatbot integration is in the future plans.
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