The use of a mobile app can be the first sign of a lucrative relationship with a customer and should therefore offer them a noticeable added value. The smartphone becomes the preferred Internet access channel. Only in 2020 people spend around 200 minutes a day with their smartphones.
Thus, the value of mobile apps should not be underestimated since it shapes future customer loyalty and engagement.
However, a good-designed mobile app should not just copy all the interface of a web page to bring value to the customers.. Rather, it must be designed in such a way that the customer is always connected to their brand.
As Slava Vaniukov, CEO of Softermii, says: the costs to develop an app depends on the complexity of the solution, the use of the technological stack, and the implementation of the functionality, but even taking into account all these factors, the business will receive a noticeable increase in both sales and the number of clients, which of course also affects recognition brand.
Mobile App: The New Normal For Your Business?
Because mobile apps are radically different from websites or desktop apps, they should not be designed differently and offer new features to the customers. While fewer features may be offered, the challenge will be to promote them better and with more customer focus.
Some of the questions and ideas may include:
- What type of app do you want to develop and what are the potential benefits? What features does an app offer?
- Who is a target audience?
- How to improve the overall customer experience? Marketing-wise, what data do you need to collect and analyze?
- How can you achieve cost-efficiency and value?
At first glance, mobile apps may not seem very profitable for a company and you might think that app development costs will be too much for your business, especially if you’re a startup. However, when used correctly, they offer tremendous potential in marketing your products and tying customers to your company. According to App Annie, 50% of smartphone users prefer mobile apps for purchases and social-communication purposes.
But how do you squeeze the most out of it and offer something valuable for the customers?
Mobile Apps for Your Customers: Added Value
To spark interest, your app must be fun to use (like games) and make life easier.
For example, the catalog app offered by IKEA combines both of it. Users can view furniture at 360 angles and place it in the room at an appropriate scale. All the descriptions and information are gamified. In a matter of seconds, customers will know if the functionality and design of the furniture fit a home interior and whether they need to visit IKEA at all.
It makes customers` life easier and also engages them thanks to augmented reality features.
Of course, the app is not necessarily completely altruistic.
The benefits of an app could be:
- By browsing the app, potential customers learn about furniture or items they wouldn’t otherwise look at or buy.
- Because customers can virtually place the furniture they are interested in, profitability is reduced, but it`s compensated by customers` loyalty and improved brand image.
Collect Customer Data
To improve customer loyalty, it`s advisable to collect customer data. This is more difficult in certain countries due to comprehensive data protection regulations and the public’s great distrust of the use of personal data.
Nevertheless, it`s beneficial for both parties.
Evaluate your app or personal data anonymously and purposefully. This way you can very accurately identify your target audience and optimize your product development and marketing accordingly.
In our example with IKEA, a furniture company could use a catalog app to independently gather statistics about the market shares of smartphone operating systems in certain countries. That way, they know which regions are most likely to need Android or iOS interfaces. Appropriate statistics enable businesses to react immediately to bring changes in the market.
By signing up in the app or linking it with a credit card, IKEA could record which customers are interested in which areas, while most of the websites are only able to record views and clicks.
The most successful offers are those that are tailored to the individual interests of your potential customers. This increases your sales and the satisfaction of your target audience.
As an example, you can place a button next to your products with the text “Let me know about the price reduction”. If your customer clicks the button, he will receive a push notification as soon as the price drops. As a result, your interaction with a customer increases and you are more likely to sell a product.
And you get the benefit of a neutral decision that has been explicitly requested or approved by the customer. You can also disable these buttons at any time.
Amazon has almost perfected this system. A retail giant offers customers products on home pages and article pages that they could be interested in. It also lets them know what other customers with the same interests have bought.
Another advantage of mobile app development: it can offer customers seamless support, whether it’s a phone hotline, a location feature, a contact form, or the uploading of images or videos.
All features are now integrated into every smartphone and can be easily used. If the product is damaged during shipping, the customer can easily send photos to the dealer. He then decides whether to exchange the product or deliver a replacement part.
Mobile Apps and Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty programs can be integrated into the app. For example, you can reward customers for their loyalty with customized offers. A popular example of this is loyalty cards, which are easily integrated when you program the app and therefore always available to customers. Promotions, such as exclusive products, are also a good way to attract new customers because they see the benefits of the app and install it.
Several studies have shown that this marketing strategy has a positive effect on sales and that customers will use your services more often in the future. Push notifications can also be used to increase customer loyalty by always keeping your customers informed about events and discounts.
No matter where customers are, they can find out what’s going on around them through location-based features like Facebook, Google Places, or Foursquare. Companies can also use this feature to draw attention to their services. If you communicate discounts or special services through such location-linked apps, you’ll reach exactly those customers who are currently interested in such offers.
This technology allows customers to choose a product in the app and see all the mailboxes nearby with the appropriate distance and direction.
Because of the trend toward cross-media communication, mobile app communication will become more widespread in the future. Only those companies that have innovative ideas and add value through their applications will prevail. Since the line between information, communication, entertainment, and technology blurs, mobile apps will be providing more and more value for companies.
Mobile marketing is characterized by higher added value due to the flexibility and versatility of the smartphone. The role of the smartphone in our society forms the basis for equitable communication with customers and for an identity that customers will remember.