“Build it and they will come” the infamous quote from the Field of Dreams movie for sure does not pertain to creating a viable app. Regardless of your commercial objectives if you do not create a unified consolidated mobile channel that your customers like instantly, find easy to use, have a recurring reason to use and can engage with on their terms then don’t bother to waste your money, because you have little chance of success.
Consider your average shopper. The one that is completely channel blind and expects the same shopping experience whether it is in the shop, online or on their mobile. Your marketing team brings your shiney new app to their attention. The expectation is that they will notice and take the trouble to download your app. About 5% who notice and raise an eyebrow, actually go to the app store and download. That is on a good day assuming the app is not clunky, slow or has wheels spinning for more than a nano second. Now you invite them to share personal information and register as a member on your app. About 10% of downloads make it through this funnel. Hooray! Now you have a registered user. But this is when it gets really hard. The dreaded churn. Our 2 billion phone users out there have app fatigue. They are bombarded with app offers and will not crowd their precious phone screen with anything other than something that they absolutely need, is totally relevant, useful and/or fun & entertaining or better still all of the above.
Set your compass
This might seem like an impossible isthmus to navigate for so much effort and cost on this side. But before you give up, consider the promised land on the far side of the isthmus. It is truly worth the effort. If you set your compass correctly you will be preparing your business to meet the fast moving challenges over the next five years, gain significant competitive advantage while the chasing posse will be on the wrong side of the canyon.
It may seem like old school marketing but the starting point is that you need a compelling hook for your shoppers to become active users of your app. Only then can you work on a great customer experience, make your shoppers feel appreciated and respected and build long term relationships with them founded on trust.
Don’t make me think
So what is the right hook? I am your customer. Yes the lazy phone user who is so pampered I don’t want to think or have to do anything. I don’t want to print my boarding card. I don’t want to spend time queuing. I don’t want to go into the shop to find you don’t have what I am looking for. I don’t want to carry cash or credit cards. I don’t want stand on the kerb wondering where my taxi is. Just while I am complaining, I don’t need a supermarket app on my phone either as I am not going to shop for groceries on my mobile.
That little stream of consciousness informs us that our lazy customers are busy with their lives. However they will raise the eyebrow if they perceive we make life easier, better, more entertaining for them or we can save them time or money.
Turn a need into a want
To make the point let us consider now one very compelling hook – rewards for loyalty. The average American has signed up to 22 loyalty programmes and carries on average 10 plastic loyalty cards in their wallet. If ever there was a compelling reason to download an app from my favourite retail store then surely it would be a loyalty app that replaces the plastic card. “Yes, now that would be very useful and something I would use regularly if…” Here’s the thing if we can create a user experience to overcome the “ifs” then we have a chance to build a long term very worthwhile relationship. So how do we do that?
“Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” – Walt Disney