As wearables become more mainstream, especially with the early success signs of the Apple Watch, it is easy to see how people will extend their focus to these devices after they got used to fluidly go from their desktops and laptops to mobile phones and tablets for pretty much everything.
Every player is rushing to extend their apps for the watch and all face the same problem, the watch app cannot be just a smaller version of the existing phone app.
Banks have provided great examples of how they can leverage mobility for their customers with great apps. And with those new devices, banks can gain a lot by figuring out what are the workflows that could be achieved better from the watch versus pulling your phone out of the pocket.
Addressing those specific workflows could greatly improve the banking customer experience:
Personal in personal banking
The small screen size of the watch is less prone to branding, and when it comes to personalizing a banking app it’s a benefit.
Receiving a message from a person that deals with my bank account often feels better than receiving a branded automatic message from my bank corporate and recently this personal touch was completely lost with actions done in the app or on a website.
The watch can bring back some of this personal touch, even if illusory with messages that are contextually relevant, received like you would receive a message from any other contact.
Natural mobile payments
Today, banks use credit cards as the medium for transferring money from your account to a business, the watch can eliminate this medium, why do I need to use a credit card or even the likes of Paypal or Apple Pay, when my account is with me on my wrist? Not only this can render credit card intermediary obsolete, the watch can easily tell me what I can or cannot afford to buy and how this affects me and my family balance. Say you set yourself a saving goal for a Christmas gift, the watch can notify you when you are In the right store with the amount you’ve saved.
Implementing a natural mobile payment system can improve the experience of paying for anything and of tracking my balance.
Wrist savings account
Bumping phones together never got any traction with the customers for a good reason; it was silly, not comfortable and harder than touching buttons on the phone. Bumping a watch seems much more natural. For example, you can bump your kids watch to give them some iTunes or PSN credit, or you can add funds to your kids savings account by a simple gesture. The kids watch on the other hand can in turn educate them about money, tailored by their age and real account data.
There are endless new possibilities for new customer interactions with this device and banks can be the major benefactors from this latest mobility step.
I am absolutely excited about the potential of the watch to transform the way people interact with each other and can’t wait designing great experiences for people to try.