As more people become mobile savvy, the age of the apps is upon us. Constantly, new apps seem to be 'trending' as there are over 2 million apps competing for users. In June of 2014, Apple announced that 75 billion apps had been downloaded from the App Store. The figures grow year on year, increasing as new devices are released, however the fact stays the same- big brands no longer rely on the internet alone and have begun to use apps to showcase or sell their products in an easier way so their consumers have a more enjoyable user experience.
More and more small to mid sized businesses are now developing their own dedicated apps, these companies are getting a headstart being ahead of the marketing game. The apps are an investment of money, so I'm giving you three of the main reasons you need an app, and some examples of bigger brands getting their apps right.
1. A direct marketing channel. A study from GeekWire show Americans spend 162 minutes on average, per day on their phones. 86% of this time is taken up by apps, and those apps which weren't expected to last, are now dominating the mobile user experience. An app allows you to convey all the information you want to convey to your customers in one place, information, price lists, booking pages, special promotions- all through one app. The fact they've used storage on their phones for your app means they are interested in your products so it is a good way to reach those who have an interest. If the user allows push notifications from your app, this will be an even closer relationship which allows you to alert them on their phone homescreen.
2. Brand recognition. The more your brand is seen around and the more people are involved with your brand, the sooner they will begin to look seriously at purchasing from you/using your services. If you've seen a brand in various places many times- billboards, TV advertisements, magazines etc, the more likely you are to reach for that product in favour of one you've never seen before. This is called 'effective frequency' – which means the number of times an individual needs to be exposed to an advertising message before a response (e.g. a purchase) is made, but before exposure is considered wasteful.
3. Increase engagement. I've spoken a lot in previous blogs about promoting customer engagement, be that through your blog content, social media, or by having an app! If you've ever rung a business and been placed on hold for what seems like hours, you will know that next time you want to contact the company, you are far less inclined, and may go elsewhere- where customer support/ relations/ help is easier. Customer loyalty is hard to build up, and essential to keep, so your customer service must be of the highest standard at all times. If said company has an app, it would be easier to go on here to see if their question could be answered via some sort of help desk feature, such as Apple have where you can type your issue and they can assist you by typing back to you. Human interaction is so last year.
Dulex have created a 'Visualizer App' as they put augmented reality app at the heart of their e-commerce plans. The company know that if they get the customer to the point they are getting tester pots, they are more than likely going to gain a later sale once the individual has used it on their walls for a colour example. Their new app cuts out the tester middle man, and will in theory speed up sales for the company as you can see straight away through augmented reality technology what colours will look like in your home as you pick a colour, use virtual masking tape around objects in the frame such as picture frames, and then you choose the colour and can see on your phone screen what said colour will look like on your wall. I downloaded the app, and decided to spruce up the office with some 'Raspberry Bellini' paint, if you were wondering.
The app isn't perfect, it won't work well if there are lots of items in the way of the wall, and sometimes you will get a painted ceiling too, however to be able to see the colour on an entire wall of your home before you go ahead and paint it, and not just a little slodge on the wall before you decide that is the colour you want your entire room to be, I think is a great app for a business to create. Duplex have used the app to make consumer experience easier, and I think that makes it a successful app!
Amazon Mobile is a great app from the ever successful amazon.com and is as easy to navigate as the website itself which is an important point- no matter how mobile savvy a user is, if your app is hard to use, or the information is not clear, downloads will be hard to come by! The app has a great feature where the app syncs with the Amazon website, so your shopping and wishlists are transferred automatically for multi channel marketing.
Airbnb is a more recent business, founded in late 2008, it is a way for anyone who has a spare room, spare flat, spare castle, to list it online for others around the world to book to stay in during a stated period, at a certain price. They now operate in 34,000+ cities, 190+ countries, and have 1,400+ castles which I would like to go pretend to be royalty in. Having recently booked a holiday on the app, I can vouch that it is an easy way to view accommodation, profiles of those renting to you, and communicate with said person to arrange your stay.
David Lloyd clubs is a great example of more of a service industry- Dulux is a helpful app to showcase their products, Amazon is a retail app, Airbnb is a browsing and booking app, and David Lloyd is a clear app which allows you to book classes or see timetables of classes and literally nothing else. The app has one function which, as I referred to previously, is what you want from an app- to not get confused by all these great ideas you have, if the main function is for members to book a class for example, make it as easy and clear as possible to do so. This would be the same if the app was for any service- e.g. a hair salon, an appointment of any sort, or a restaurant booking.
Apps are a great way to get involved with your customer, and in essence, have purpose to make things easier to any client you may have or be attempting to convert- if your system is clearer and more advanced than others of its type, you definitely have the edge against your competitors!