Econsultancy: Three points to consider when developing a mobile app strategy

August 20, 2015

As mobile adoption continues to flourish, brands are required to incorporate distinct mobile web and app experiences into their mobile strategy.

Apps have quickly become a source of information, utility and point of contact between users and brands.

In fact, according to Flurry, a staggering 86% of all time spent on mobile devices is now happening within apps, with users converting at a 21% higher rate than in-store.

Brands that are not considering an app are avoiding an essential question that should be answered when planning a mobile strategy.

Every brand’s mobile strategy must be designed to meet the unique needs and challenges of its business, brand identity and customer preferences.

Determining whether your brand needs an app and uncovering its potential are vital steps in building out a winning mobile strategy. Here are some things to keep in mind...

Mobile app vs. mobile web

Before investing in an app, consider the benefits, possible disadvantages, required resources and associated costs.

Unless you have a clear strategy, target audience and distinct use case in mind, pursuing a mobile app may not make sense.

For instance, if you’re satisfied with the level of engagement on and repeat visits to your mobile site, or if you don’t have the budget to experiment with an app, you should focus on further optimizing the mobile web experience.

Like apps, the mobile web has its advantages and is especially crucial for audiences just discovering your site. According to Usablenet's study, 67% of mobile users are more likely to make a purchase via website than app.

Mobile apps, on the other hand, allow for deeper interaction with consumers. Personalized content in an app is powerful, whereas mobile web often seems less specific or aimed toward a larger audience.

Before coming to a final decision, however, you should first evaluate the use case and value of native device functionality to determine which strategy is best aligned with both your business and users’ needs.

smartphone

Balancing efficiency with customer experience

When deciding to build an app, pay close attention to the tasks customers perform at the highest frequency.

Is there room to simplify these processes and streamline the brand experience? This evaluation will help determine where an app can add value to the customer journey and why they’ll be encouraged to download the app.

That said, you must also pay special mind to the interplay between apps and web. The last thing that you want is for your mobile experiences to cannibalize each other.

Next, consider which native capabilities best support use cases that can differentiate the experience. It is imperative to gauge the value of third party integrations and APIs that make apps more useful and transform the mobile experience.

Repeat use is central to an app’s long-term success. Of users who make an in-app purchase, 44% do not do so until they have interacted with an app at least 10 times.

Similarly, users who interact with an app multiple times before making a purchase also make 25% more in-app purchases during their consumer lifetime.

For high-frequency engagement, apps must remain current and content must be refreshed, requiring a long-term commitment to innovation and marketing investment.

Nothing in the mobile world exists in a vacuum, just as apps require regular updates, efforts to promote your app must continue on a sustained basis to bring the most value to both brand and consumer. 

Apps

Ensuring (sustained) quality execution

Once a comprehensive strategy is in order, brands should ensure apps will be executed in an efficient manner.

Examine the resources you’ll need when building an app and prioritize them internally.

Primarily, it is important to ensure your development team has deep user experience capabilities, the ability to deliver high-performing apps within a specific timeframe and budget and technical skill to integrate the app with an existing platform, channel or API.

The team should also have the flexibility to provide ongoing support after the app’s launch, including updates to and refreshes of the user experience. 

Once an app is complete, pay close attention to users’ reactions by evaluating ratings and downloads in the app store.

Further engage in frequent UX audits to gauge which functionalities can be improved and which features or aspects of the experience best drive repeat visits.

Ultimately, the measure of an app’s success comes from the combination of engagement and transactions. By keeping end goals in mind and conferring with user preference, you just may find your app at the top of the charts.

Read the piece on Econsultancy

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