Why Retailers Need to Start Building Apps for the New Apple TV Right Now

by Jessica Ramesh SmartFocus

Az Ahmed, Marketing Expert at SmartFocus, discusses the new Apple TV and the opportunities it could present for marketers

On 9 September, Apple held a special event to launch several new products. Most of the products launched were rumoured weeks ahead of the launch and almost all the rumours were true. Products included the new iPad Pro, a new Apple Pencil, a new Apple Watch OS, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and finally the new Apple TV.

A lot has been written and spoken about the new iPhones and how the iPad Pro looks suspiciously like the Microsoft Surface, but this article is about the new Apple TV and how it now has its own app store. The Apple Special Event showcased demos of quite a few new apps, but one that stood out came from New York fashion brand GILT.

The way the app looks and works on the Apple TV is straightforward and simple. It makes buying things quick and easy—straight from your TV. This is a very interesting new space to be in because products look a lot better on a 40-inch TV screen than on a 4.7-inch smartphone. We have now entered the world of television commerce.

Retailers should be rushing out to build native apps for the new Apple TV as their next step in online shopping. People are already sitting in front of their TVs watching programmes while on their phones, so this is the next stage of the customer journey. From a survey of web-enabled phone owners, 80 per cent of respondents were found to mobile multitask while watching TV. Retailers need to jump on the chance to get potential consumers to buy here as well.

Brands should be looking to transform the living room experience into a shopping one and do clever things with the apps they build. With Siri now built into Apple TV, product searches could be voice-controlled, and features like enabling a consumer to upload a picture of themselves and try on clothes will make it even easier for consumers to spend money on a TV-based app.

Building one app that works on both the new iPhone and the new Apple TV will be a challenge but, if successful, will make shopping a seamless process for consumers.

The future of retail just got very interesting. With apps on the Apple TV and the brand power of Apple behind it, this could become a hot new battleground for retailers over the next few years.