Mobile has fast become the growth marketing channel for a number of organisations. For many companies this has meant developing a dedicated mobile application, but is an app necessarily the right choice for everyone? Frank Lord, VP EMEA for ATG, explains why the important issues to consider when developing a mobile app as part of a multi-channel retail strategy.
Apps are by nature designed to be people-friendly and engaging, so by encouraging consumers to use their brand’s apps via their mobile device, businesses will also be encouraging other types of mobile activity. However, not everyone will be able to use an app. As in every other area of marketing it is crucial that before organisations expand further into the mobile space, they are certain that the development will add value to the overall customer experience, rather than detract from it. The case of the app is no different. Against this backdrop, we have identified a number of key points for companies to consider:
Consumers no longer want the ‘one size fits all’ approach, they want their specific needs met and the purchasing experience tailored to their own interests. Retailers should therefore ensure their app can deliver a truly personalised shopping experience, which feeds in to the customer experience through other channels.
Strong brand experience
Mobile commerce remains a new channel for retailers and a big challenge is maintaining consistent brand experience through a new medium. This challenge can be overcome if retailers pay attention to the design and ‘feel’ of their apps and make sure they stand out from competitors.
Product information and search
Whether launching a new app or making improvements to an existing website, it is important retailers make the shopping experience enjoyable and hassle free. Making sure the product details are accurate and informative is key, as is having high quality search functionality to help consumers find the products they want as easily and quickly as possible.
Engage with the customer
Apps will be jostling for attention on customers’ phones with all sorts of other apps and services, some or all of which will be more amusing, more engaging or simply more exciting. Mobile users tend to jump around between activities far more than internet users and are active in smaller bursts of time, so to attract their attention retailers need to stand out by ensuring apps are very enjoyable, very useful, or both. Not every brand needs to come out with a novelty game, but retailers might want to try something a little different to ensure customers keep coming back for more.
What’s going to ‘app-en next?
Simply building and launching a basic mobile app as part of a multi-channel strategy is no longer enough. To be successful, these apps have to be dynamic, engaging and integrated with other channels to keep consumers coming back to the brand if they are to have any impact on the wider business. This is why the business case for and the strategy behind any investment in an app is so important. Regardless of whether companies chose to build a mobile app or optimise your website, it’s crucial brands carefully consider customers in this decision and focus on the channels that they interact with.
By Frank Lord
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