Creating happy and loyal customers is a great deal of concern for today’s businesses. For this very reason, they are turning towards different ways to generate genuine engagement and improve the customer experience.
For many brands, employing innovative channels - such as mobile - represent the missing link to get closer to their customers. The question is: How can you harness the power of mobile apps to change positively your customer experience and gain a competitive advantage?
Today, the smartphone acts like our personal metronome that sets the pace of daily routine. Both as human beings and customers, we strongly rely on mobile devices and apps to carry out the most diverse activities: playing, communicating, socializing, buying.
According to recent researches, in fact:
- More than 80% of all online adults of the most developed countries now have a smartphone.
- Mobile searches on Google have now overtaken desktop searches, forcing companies to the mobile-friendly evolution.
- Apps now account for 86% of the time spent on mobile devices, replacing web browsers as the primary door to access the Internet.
It is no wonder, then, that companies are increasingly utilizing mobile apps to interact and connect with digital customers. Apps are not just a way to ‘be there’. They can be the perfect mean to engage with customers, reach them when and where it matters most, sell products (ever heard about mobile commerce?) and increase revenue.
Statistics confirms that apps represent a unique opportunity to build a deeper relationship with customers. As the number of competitors continues to grow, though, the real challenge is to avoid the backlash of bad development and prevent that the app ultimately disappears in the mare magnum of app stores.
“Be different, be epic” this is the secret to achieving sustainable growth in the expanding global market we live in. But how? All industries face this challenge in a scenario where the only constant is constant change:
- Consumer goods and retail brands need to overcome the rise of e-commerce and mobile commerce, reinventing the very idea of store to reach customers when they are ready to take decisions.
- Insurance and financial services are now evaluated by customers like any other type of brands. They need to start caring about loyalty, reinventing the experience, exploiting multiple touch points to connect with clients.
- Fashion and luxury brands probably have the hardest task. They need to embrace the power of technology to appeal digital customers; at the same time, they need to avoid losing their legacy and the sense of traditional and exclusive that nurture their identity.
- Health and government services need to shorten the distance that separates them from customers. They need to overcome the greyness of bureaucracy and evolve to become more open, accessible and efficient.
They all have a common problem: find a way to connect (meaningfully) the physical and digital worlds. So it happens that the need to differentiate brings back the attention to what is really important: the experience. Building a powerful customer experience is becoming increasingly difficult because everyone is also trying to create something unique, stunning and personal.
Happy customers are the result of an amazing experience. Experiences that are truly unique and personalized drive satisfaction, encourage positive word of mouth and pave the way to customer advocacy. In a few words, they create the foundations to drive market share and revenue growth.
How do you connect the online and offline dimensions? How do you create a differentiated experience? In a world dominated by all sorts of mobile devices (smartphones, smartwatches, activity trackers) the answer is right in front of your eyes.
Following this line of thought, more and more businesses are uploading their branded apps to the stores. The problem is, many are doing it without a plan or even a strong reason why. They are not developing the apps for their customers; they are doing it because everyone else is doing it. A misleading idea that only leads to disaster.
The fact that mobile apps have become a popular tool for business marketing does not necessary mean that they will work for your business as some sort of magic, bringing customers to your stores like the pied piper of Hamelin.
Being easily accessible via mobile devices is top priority but, in the end, it is not the ‘what’ that will decide whether you will be successful; it is rather the ‘how’ and the ‘why’. How are you going to engage customers with your mobile app? Why are you doing it in the first place?
As mobile devices integrate deeper into the digital marketing strategy, it is time to bring the conversation about apps to the next level. To understand how you can deliver value to your clients and provide a superior overall experience, across all stages of the improved customer journey.
Here are some ideas on how you can harness the power of mobile apps to fulfill customer’s desires, and live with them happily ever after.
A well-thought mobile app is the perfect tool to engage customers in the exact (micro) moment that matters most, wherever they are. To work efficiently, your app must be smart (able to deliver the right content), personalized (able to learn from behavior), contextual (able to show location-aware content).
PLAY WITH CUSTOMERS
Customers love discounts, and marketers know it. They also love reward, and not so many marketers know it. Reward ensures loyalty, but traditional loyalty programs are costly and not efficient anymore. The answer lies in games: success stories show that gamification dynamics helps to engage customers and keep them coming back to your app and store.
Digital leaders sometimes struggle to maintain the right balance between two distinctive demands: customer engagement on the one hand and brand identity on the other hand. One way to connect the two is to improve the online presence through an innovative customer-facing app that delivers a sense of exclusivity and creates a unique ‘appmosphere’.
DEVELOP A HUMAN BRAND
Despite the prejudices, a branded app is not meant just to remind customers of your brand’s existence. They can be used for various purposes, which includes engagement, loyalty and customer service. Opening a two-way dialogue with users can be used to improve the connection, get feedback, respond to issues, and ultimately show the human face of your company.
CAPITALIZE ON DATA POWER
Customer-facing apps improve the communication but also serve as collectors of information about customers, their social habits and purchase behaviors. Apps can be substantial sources of data that enhance your knowledge if you know how to read them. You will get a better understanding of your customers, and you will be able to predict their behaviors and adapt your strategy accordingly.
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