If you think building a mobile channel starts and ends with developing a new app, think again. Driving successful mobile sales is a long-term relationship. Here are five tips to help marketers kindle the romance and keep customers coming back:
- It’s a Marriage, Not a Holiday Romance. Don’t launch an app unless you plan to continually update and improve it. You need to look at the app as a channel that deserves as much, if not more, investment over the long-term as desktop or mobile Web properties. When companies build an app, they’re not going to get it right the first time, but will need to constantly innovate and improve their user interfaces and add new features to keep pace with developments, such as Apple Pay or fingerprint login. As handset makers launch new features, you need to be ready to take advantage of these or you will fall behind the companies that do.
- But You Still Need to Be Spontaneous. It’s vital to optimize for mobile moments to keep the spark alive. This means making mobile sales a quick, easy process that gets the customer quickly through to checkout. The best mobile experiences strip out those parts of the user experience and interface that are not relevant to mobile. Great examples are the apps from Amazon and Target, which aren’t just resized or responsive versions of the desktop websites. A lot of features and content have been stripped out, and the interface is very focused on what the user is most likely to need in a mobile context — emphasizing searching, browsing and making it very easy to purchase.
This simplified journey is, to some degree, enforced by the limitations of shopping on a smaller screen. But even as phones get larger the same rules apply, as this is really all about the mindset you are in when on the move. If you’re on a laptop or tablet, you’re more likely to be on your couch with time to browse and read reviews. On a phone, however, you are likely to be on the go — perhaps killing time when standing in line, or comparing prices when in a physical store. Best practice involves putting yourself in the mind of the consumer and making it as easy as possible to get from Point A to the checkout.
- Deep and Meaningful Matters. Implement deep-linking in mobile ad campaigns to drive customers to the exact item they want in order to minimize time navigating through the app. Use deep-linking for re-engagement campaigns, but also ensure that all customer communications — emails, push notifications — are deep-linked into the app. Again, this is all about making the customer journey easier.
- Keep the Flame Alive. Two million people have downloaded your app! Wham, bam, thank you … But hold on there! Don’t mistake the number of installs with success. You can’t now sit back and watch the money come in. Even the most popular apps use ads to drive downloads and sales, and you will need an integrated marketing plan that is specific to your app, not only to drive installations but to remind people about it and make them aware of new features. Use re-engagement, push notifications and emails to get people back into the app to ensure its continued success.
- Your Nearest and Dearest. Anyone who has taken the time to download your app is likely to be one of your most engaged customers, and those most active in your app are likely to be particularly high-value. Treat your app users as a special segment and take full advantage of having an additional communication channel with this group. Build your CRM system to keep track of mobile customers.
These customers may have very different profiles than physical or PC shoppers, and it’s vital to use the deeper level of data you can gather to best understand their needs. This can help to improve personalization — not only on mobile, but across all platforms. Understanding the characteristics of heavy app users may also help you create look-alike models that can help you target non-users with similar profiles in your wider customer base to drive further installs to get others into your app.