Article origially appeared in Internet Retailer
Iteration, customer feedback, marketing, CRM—these are some of the things that help create the best apps. And the need for truly great mobile app experiences has never been greater.
It’s 2015 and whether you’re planning your first mobile launch or updating an existing mobile program, there are several key points to consider in order to ensure your mobile strategy is successful this year.
First, your mobile app is not your web site nor your mobile website. Last year, mobile was still seen by many businesses as primarily an m-commerce tool. This isn't wrong so much as it is an incomplete picture.
So, what is your app? It is a remote control to your entire brand. It’s the loyalty program, a private media network, an e-mail program, an in-store guide, a personalized offers engine, and a branded credit card. Mobile apps unify programs and channels, all wrapped in a convenient package for your biggest brand fans. Although it’s easier to measure a mobile app’s impact on m-commerce sales, the overall app impact on the purchase decision process, brand loyalty and in-store action cannot be ignored. And thanks to growing features such as mobile wallets and in-store beacons, app impact will be easier to measure.
One feature doesn’t make an app—iteration and listening to customer feedback does. Marketers can become hung up on the idea that one feature can make an app successful. However, their audience tells a different story. They want something that works consistently and is intuitive and personalized. What makes a 5-star shopping app is often a series of very “boring” features that are well executed and on brand. Innovation is important, but the basics shouldn’t be tossed aside in favor of chasing one “magic feature.” Listening to user feedback and iterating to match users’ needs is as crucial as that first launch.
If you don’t market the app, you are asking for it to fail. Long gone are the days of casual app discovery. In an age where entire job titles and budget line items are dedicated to driving web site traffic, mobile app marketing is often an afterthought. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other large retailers constantly affirm that mobile app users spend more, and are more engaged, than non-app counterparts. There are plenty of low- and no-cost ways a retailer can leverage their existing digital reach to beef up their app audience and drive increased user engagement and return on investment.