What does Apple’s keynote mean for ecommerce?

One thing’s for sure, Apple know how to put on a show.

I found yesterday’s keynote pretty exciting, not least when they welcomed Microsoft’s Kirk Koenigsbauer onto stage to demo the awesome way MS Office apps work on the new iPad Pro with the new Apple Pencil. And wait, was that an Apple watch he was sporting too?

It seems to me like Apple can still make waves with innovation in mobile devices, I’ve no doubt they will be overwhelmed with pre-orders from our friends and colleagues. I’m already drafting up my Christmas list!

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Apple’s devices have a stronghold in the market. We see this represented in the traffic stats on Big Data Labs where, just last week, ecommerce shoppers on iPhone or iPads practically equalled traffic from all Microsoft-based devices and was double that from Android.

Graph from Big Data Labs showing ecommerce traffic by device

Graph from Big Data Labs showing ecommerce traffic by device

Yesterday they even explained how easy they’ve made it for Android users to make the switch to Apple, describing it as ‘the neighbourly thing to do’.

New iPhone 6s features for marketers

So, as a marketer, what features caught my eye when it came to the iPhone 6s and iOS 9? I think there are some key takeaways to consider if you work in ecommerce too.

3D touch

Sensors on the new touch screen can detect how hard you press! This might seem like a gimmick at first, but watching the live demo really made me think that, although this is a new way to navigate, it will soon become second nature and we will become used to transitioning fast from emails to web pages. Pressing lightly gives you a preview of the email content, press harder and the email will open. I’m not sure if this will have any impact on metrics of email open rates (something to watch for if your audience has a high proportion of Apple users) but we’ll really need to make sure those email previews hit the spot because it’s easier to trash a message too.

Because you will be able to view a page linked from an email within the email app itself, it’s going to be even more important to think about where and how to include links in emails and which landing pages to direct users too for the most seamless customer journey. Whether clicking to call a retailer, write an email reply or dropping an item into your basket from the product page, it all feels a lot more spontaneous and I bet we’ll see a shake up of conversion rates in mobile commerce.

Superior images

The cameras just keep getting better and better. The iPhone 6s will boast a new iSight Camera with 12 mega-pixels, auto image stabilisation and a True Tone flash. If you’ve noticed any of the photos on billboards as part of Apple’s ‘World Gallery’ campaign then you’ll have seen the kind of quality we can achieve with phone-photography now. What this means is that consumers will be very used to seeing high quality images on their phones’ Retina HD display. You won’t want to disappoint with pixelated product previews in your emails or on the product pages of your website. Have a chat with your web designer about displaying high resolution images for users with retina resolution displays like the iPhone – perhaps make it an optional ‘larger image’ in case of limited connection speeds when users are out and about.


With the new contextual menus that appear with 3D touch navigation, there’s likely to be loads more opportunities for your audience to engage with your communications, apps and website. Social interactions such as re-tweeting your content or responding to a competition (for example) by taking and posting a selfie could all be new features that might create opportunities for engagement with your market – keep an eye out for trends like this.

UX for mobile

With more and more functionality becoming available in handheld devices, it’s really important to make sure your marketing communications and online customer journey are optimised for mobile. We regularly talk about the importance of reducing friction at the checkout stage of your website with simpler forms, requiring less data entry. Apple clearly support this idea and a simple tool such as address auto-complete can mean the difference between taking a new order or losing the customer.

To read more tips for creating a better user experience as part of your ecommerce experience, download our free guide to mCommerce UX .