Windows 10 is an opportunity to engage your customers in new ways outside of your website. When someone mentions Windows 10, the first thing that probably comes to mind is your PC. Maybe you think about all the hype out there right now surrounding this new operating system from Microsoft. You probably aren’t thinking about how Windows 10 can help you interact with your customers. If you’re a CMO, you should definitely take note of this new opportunity that just landed in front of you.

So how can Windows 10 increase your touch points with your consumers? Let’s take a look at some of the areas that make this an exciting opportunity.

Reach

Since it’s release Windows 10 has been installed on over 75 million devices worldwide, as of 8/26/2015. This is an amazing amount of penetration in a very short amount of time. These devices range from PCs, to phones, Xbox, and IoT devices like the Raspberry Pi. Each one of these represents an opportunity to interact with your customers in new ways.


Image from Yusuf Medhi's Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/yusuf_i_mehdi?lang=en)

The Windows Store has seen a 6-fold increase in downloads for Windows 10 compared to Windows 8. This increase was made possible not only by the sheer number of Windows 10 installations, but also by the growth of the Windows Store over the years. Not long ago it was hard to find apps for Windows in the store. This is no longer the case with top tier apps like Netflix, Uber, and Candy Crush available for download.


Image from Yusuf Medhi's Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/yusuf_i_mehdi?lang=en)

The number of high quality apps for Windows will only continue to grow once Windows 10 Mobile is officially released later this year. What will drive this growth is the Universal Windows Platform.

Universal Windows Platform

The Universal Windows Platform, UWP for short, allows developers to build apps that simply target the Windows 10 platform. Now we can write a single app that can be deployed to PCs, phones, and even an Xbox, all from the same codebase. This simplifies the delivery of your app to your customers, and it keeps development and maintenance costs down as well. There is even a single Windows Store now for all devices!


Image from Microsoft (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/dn726767.aspx)

UWP apps can take advantage of new controls that allow you to adapt your UI for the device it is running on. You can have the exact same app that looks amazing on a Windows Phone, but adapts for a larger screen on the desktop. In addition, UWP apps work with a wide range of input devices like keyboards, touch, pens, and Xbox controllers.

So now that you have your awesome new UWP app that is installed on your customer’s PC, phone, and Xbox, how do you engage with them?

Customer Interaction

The UWP not only gives you a way to develop an app that can be deployed to a wide range of devices, it also provides many hooks that allow to interact with your customers.

App

The app itself is your main touch point with your customer. Traditionally when you thought about an app, you thought about mobile. However with UWP you no longer need to be limited by a single device. You can develop new and interesting ways to present your marketing messages, sell your products, or simply interact with your customers. A few examples may include:

  • An app could allow your customer to contact customer service with a single click either from their desktop or their phone.
  • Your customer has recently visited your e-commerce site and placed items in their cart but did not purchase anything. An app can offer an opportunity to send push notifications to remind the customer they have items in that cart, or new cross sell items have been added.
  • Any business that needs to book reservations could have an app that sends reminders, complete with driving directions or weather updates.

The app is a great opportunity to engage customers in ways you haven’t imagined before. All of this can take place outside of the normal high volume channels like email or social media.

Live Tiles

Windows 8 brought the concept of Live Tiles to windows. These were interactive tiles that would automatically update their content and provide additional information to users through text and images. Windows 8 made Live Tiles a major part of the UI, which some users did not care for.

These tiles have survived the transition to Windows 10, however they are now part of the new “Start” menu. Users can “Pin” any app, which results in a new Live Tile being added to the start menu, or the start screen on Windows Phone. There are a wide variety of tile templates available that you can use to deliver custom messages. Users can also change the tile size from a pre-defined set of sizes. Tiles allow you to push notifications to your customer with both text and image updates as well as animations that catch the eye.

Push Notifications

Windows 10 also allows for push notifications. Traditionally push notifications have been solidly in the realm of mobile, but no longer. These notifications appear in two locations on Windows 10:

  1. A fly out notification is shown to the user when a notification is displayed. On the Windows Phone this is shown at the top of the screen. On a PC and Xbox this is shown in the form of a fly out from the side of the screen.
  2. All push notifications are also displayed in the Notification Center on Windows 10. The Notification Center basically holds a running list of any notifications the user has received. This can include emails, text messages, and more.

Push Notifications on Windows 10 can be simple text, but can also include complex structures that include images, buttons, drop downs, and more.


Image from Microsoft (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/tiles_and_toasts/archive/2015/07/02/adaptive-and-interactive-toast-notifications-for-windows-10.aspx)

These notifications represent a great way to interact with your customers since they are displayed immediately to the user, but also remain in the Notification Center to be viewed later on.

Conclusion

Windows 10 and the Universal Windows Platform represent a truly amazing new marketing opportunity for your company. What this represents is a new way to interact with your customers whether they are on a PC, on a phone, playing a game on their Xbox, or visiting your website. Being able to interact directly with a user on a wide range of devices at the same time is an exciting premise.

Right now you may be thinking your company has no need to push an app to a PC or even an Xbox. However, with the UWP it’s a no brainer: develop the app once and target the entire Windows 10 device family all through the same Windows Store. If you haven’t considered a Windows app in the past, now is the time to re-evaluate your strategy and how you can use this platform to engage your customers in new ways.