Should You Create a Mobile App?

As a marketer, you’ve created a Web page, established a social media presence and even experimented with mobile marketing. Is it time for the next step? Should you create a mobile app so your customers can engage with you more easily?

Mobile appsAs a marketer, you’ve created a Web page, established a social media presence and even experimented with mobile marketing. Is it time for the next step? Should you create a mobile app so your customers can engage with you more easily? According to the “Synchrony Financial 2017 Digital Study,” 63 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 15 have downloaded a retail app. The average adult has two retail apps on their phone at any given time.

Why People Download Mobile Apps

What are the driving forces causing customers to download retail apps? According to our study, the top reason why people download a mobile app was because they frequently shop at the brand — 51 percent said they downloaded an app for this reason. As a marketer, your most loyal customers are the best targets for an app.

The second reason was to make a purchase, at 48 percent, followed by the desire to browse and compare prices, at 37 percent. So, if you are planning on launching a mobile app, ensure that it’s easy to buy and browse products on it. These are driving factors for your customers.

Who are most likely to download mobile apps? You guessed it, it’s the Millennials. Millennials are downloading apps in huge numbers. Eighty-one percent of those aged 26 to 35 said they have downloaded a retailer app on their phone. The top reasons are the same, to browse, buy and compare prices.

Retailer App EngagementMost Important Mobile App Features

OK, so you’ve launched your mobile app. Now, you want to get people to use it, right? Well, do you know which features are most important to your customers? Below are the top-rated app features:

  • 69 percent — access to discounts and coupons
  • 30 percent — ability to order products quickly
  • 27 percent — product search feature
  • 23 percent — ability to make payments and check balances

So, the number one feature customers want from an app is the ability to save money and access to special offers. Other features that rate highly are speed, product search and payment-related features. If you want your customer to regularly use your mobile app, keep these features in mind. A few surprise and delight perks are always great ways to get customers interested and engaged.

Why Good Mobile Apps Go Bad (or Get Deleted)

The top reason mobile apps get deleted was due to poor functionality. Thirty-five percent of people deleted apps for this reason. If your app has poor functionality, doesn’t meet your customers’ needs or customers have a bad experience, your app will most likely get deleted. There is only so much space on a smartphone and today’s digital consumer doesn’t have much patience for a dysfunctional mobile app.

Coming in as a close second reason for deletion was simply that the app didn’t provide enough value. Thirty-four percent of consumers said they deleted a mobile app because they didn’t see the value in keeping it. This is a warning sign! Even if you spend the time and effort developing an app that runs great, if you don’t provide enough perks or benefits, it just won’t matter — it will get deleted.

In our hypercompetitive world of digital engagement, it’s important to prioritize our digital programs. One of the strategies to explore is engaging with your customers through your own mobile app. If that’s the case for you, be aware of the delighters and pain points for mobile app usage. It can be a great way to engage, but it can also be a lot of work for a minimal amount of gain, if not done correctly.

Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the blogger and not necessarily of Synchrony Financial. All references to consumers and population refer to the survey respondents from the Synchrony Financial 2017 Digital Study unless otherwise noted.

Turn Drab Direct Mail Into Fab

Have you considered how to have some fun with your prospects and customers using direct mail? Consider trying out a scavenger hunt that’s launched with the direct mail piece — it can lead to a better ROI.

direct mail scavenger huntHave you considered how to have some fun with your prospects and customers using direct mail? It can lead to a better ROI. Consider trying out a scavenger hunt that’s launched with the direct mail piece. You can have everyone start the same way or use variable data to start them off at different locations. Are you unsure of where to start to create a direct mail scavenger hunt? Scavenger hunt options include:

1. QR Codes

You can use QR codes on print items starting with your direct mail piece. Then, lead them to strategically located posters or flyers around town or your store where they scan additional QR codes to activate new clues to the next location.

2. Augmented Reality

You can create a virtual scavenger hunt where your prospects and customers scan the direct mailer to launch the content on mobile devices in their own home to start the adventure. Since people are very busy these days, you may end up with more participation this way. It will really depend on who your audience is.

3. NFC

You can create a direct mail piece with an embedded NFC chip that can be used in your store locations to launch content to drive them to the next location in the hunt. Since Apple does not currently support NFC, your best bet is to have people take the mailer into your store to use the NFC on an android device station that you set up in your store. (This also gets them in the door to buy from you.)

4. Store

Not sure your audience is ready for mobile technology? Go with the old fashioned hunt. Send a mailer that has them start at your store and check in to get a clue. You can then drive them around the store or to other locations nearby in the shopping center.

5. Online

Create an online scavenger hunt where they can visit special landing pages you have set up for the hunt. You will send them a direct mail piece that has the initial start landing page you want them to go to. This makes it easy for people to participate from a PC or mobile device.

Get creative and have fun with this. Yes, it is a marketing tool so you will want to highlight special offers and new products or services, but keep it light and fun. When you are able to do that your prospects and customers will enjoy themselves, share with others as well as buy from you. In order to pick the right hunt for your audience, consider how they currently buy from you. If they come to your location, consider using the store hunt. Another consideration is how much of a budget you have. The least expensive options above are the store and the online. You can create a great hunt without breaking the bank.

Before you start, map out the journey your customers and prospects are going to take. You want it to be fun, not super complicated. Once you have that down you can create the special offers they will see along the way. Of course you will save the best offer for the finish. You can even set the rules so that the first 5 people get a super offer and the rest get a smaller one to entice people to engage and finish quickly. There are so many opportunities here to create a really fun and engaging hunt. If your audience has children, you can create fun for them too. Remember to get testimonials you can use for future hunts and if it is a slow media day, get your local TV station to announce it. The more buzz you have the more people will participate.

Are Coupons the Key to Mobile Marketing?

Mobile commerce has exploded in recent years—and mobile coupons are responsible for much of this growth. In fact, mobile coupons are redeemed 10 times more than print coupons and the number of mobile coupon users is expected to reach 53.2 million by 2014. Combine that with the increase in mobile usage by consumers on the go, and it’s clear that mobile coupons are the perfect solution for growing your small business and attracting customers on the hunt for discounts through their mobile devices.

Mobile commerce has exploded in recent years—and mobile coupons are responsible for much of this growth. In fact, mobile coupons are redeemed 10 times more than print coupons and the number of mobile coupon users is expected to reach 53.2 million by 2014. Combine that with the increase in mobile usage by consumers on the go, and it’s clear that mobile coupons are the perfect solution for growing your small business and attracting customers on the hunt for discounts through their mobile devices.

The Mobile Marketing Opportunity Is Real
eMarketer estimates that nearly 20 million US adults will redeem a mobile coupon this year, including coupons or codes received via SMS, applications and mobile web browsers; quick response codes for redemption online or offline; and group buying coupons purchased via mobile. More than 70 percent of US adult digital coupon users will redeem a coupon or code on a mobile device for online or offline shopping in 2014.

The mobile coupon audience will post double-digit growth rates annually through 2016, driven by continued smartphone and tablet adoption and the proliferation of digital channels offering coupons easily accessed by mobile, such as mobile apps, daily deal and group buying sites, email, and social networks. eMarketer expects that by 2016, mobile coupon users will represent nearly 83 percent of all digital coupon users. This is huge!

The Revenue Opportunity
There are a number of different ways to engage consumers and drive revenue opportunities, including:

  • Coupons: Mobile coupon redemptions in the U.S. will exceed 53 million this year. The mobile coupon audience will post double-digit growth rates annually through 2016, driven by continued smartphone and tablet adoption. (Source: Business Insider 2014)
  • Geo-Targeting: Geo-targeting has boosted the success of SMS-delivered coupons, with retailers seeing high redemption rates from coupons sent to consumers close to their stores.
  • Loyalty Programs: Consumers expect to be rewarded for brand loyalty, particularly millennials. A 2014 poll by Bond Brand Loyalty indicates that 6 in 10 millennial respondents would switch from brands they buy and two-thirds would change when and where they shop, if it meant getting a better loyalty program.

Don’t Forget the Tablet
Year after year, tablets are becoming an increasingly important part of a brands mobile strategy. According to eMarketer, in 2014, 80.2 percent of mobile coupon users will use a tablet for redemption, compared with 75.4 percent who will do so on a smartphone. Tablets are frequently used for in-home digital purchases, which boost tablet coupon redemption.

Coupons, geo-targeting, and loyalty programs can be offered, tracked, and monetized with a mobile engagement platform. Additional revenue opportunities include banner ads, mobile video, rich media and SMS campaigns. But keep in mind that more friction points in the redemption process will greatly reduce the use of mobile based offers. So keep it simple for consumers to redeem your offers.

The data from Black Friday on-line shopping as well as coupon redemption data from Cyber Monday should tell an interesting story for retailers who have made a strong commitment to mobile couponing to drive commerce and increase total purchases by incentivizing their consumers.