How are mobile apps changing the way customers interact with brands?

Mobile apps can bring immense business advantages to brands only if app developers take stringent measures to generate gripping content and offer compelling customer experiences so as to enhance long-term customer engagement.
How are mobile apps changing the way customers interact with brands?

Mobile apps are radically transfiguring the global digital scenario. Customers of the 21st century, especially the millennials, are moving at warp speed to keep up with evolving technologies so as to stay updated on everything happening around them. Smartphones play a crucial role in the lives of modern consumers as they prefer spending a major portion of their time using smartphones apps.

Digital media at the present time is primarily being propelled by mobile applications for being the most customized vehicle that engages consumers worldwide. Mobile apps are ruling digital media as they offer several exclusive features and also have greater operational efficiency. Moreover, data retrieval in mobile apps happens more swiftly compared to web servers. According to a study conducted by Forrester, smartphone users spend 85 percent of their time on mobile apps. Another study conducted by ComScore states that usage of mobile apps has gone up by 90 percent over the past two years. This makes it imperative for brands to develop useful and engaging mobile apps for connecting with their target audiences.

A Boon for Brands

Till the year 2015, promotional activities carried out for enhancing customer engagement via the web, social media, and email campaigns dominated as the biggest branding trend. However, in the current year, all brands are eying the mobile app channel for boosting customer engagement. Mobile apps can offer brands with a host of advantages by—

  • Facilitating direct and instant communication with customers on their mobile phones;
  • Building customer loyalty;
  • Reducing printing and distribution costs of newsletters;
  • Enabling customers to place an order and make payment with their smartphone.

Thus, more and more brands are now focussing on the launch of unique mobile apps to reach out to their customers. Brandings on apps is responsive and interactive and can be repeated umpteen times - every time the user opens/logs on to the app. Technologies and functionalities of smart devices have enabled marketers to bring more interactive and integrated branding/sales on apps, such as hmtl5, music, video, text, VR, and more.

Smaller screens and fragmented app usage means that marketers are coming up with efficient and attractive branding information. In view of the fact that mobile apps now form an important element of the marketing mix, brands that are neglecting the importance of mobile presence are depriving themselves of the opportunities of engaging and influencing their existing as well as prospective customers.

Attractive Apps Attract More Customers

Brands should keep in mind that customers turn to mobile apps only to simplify their lives. For example, customers continue using an app repeatedly only if it serves a purpose; otherwise, they end up uninstalling specific apps soon after making a transaction. So, it becomes imperative for brands to keep their customers attracted to their app to make sure that it is used time and again. This can be easily done by adding value to an app, such as offering attractive discounts on each transaction, or through daily rewards programs.

Mobile apps in regional languages: Brands can also think of developing mobile apps in local languages to add to the convenience of non-English speaking customers. This initiative will help brands deal with their customers’ language barrier with ease.

Push Message Marketing: With the popularity of push message marketing, brands are now focusing more on increased customization for stepping up their game.  Push message marketing can go a long way in doubling app open rates as it enables brands to communicate with their audiences for driving engagement and purchasing conversions. What’s more, push notifications also help enhance mobile app conversion rate.

Gather the Right Customer Data:  In order to know the preferences of their customers, brands should make use of sophisticated tools designed for accumulating in-app data. This will help brands customize messages accordingly for boosting the usage of their apps besides driving conversion rate.

Explore the power of visual storytelling: Since we are living in an age of visual storytelling, brands should utilize the same for brand engagement by telling engaging stories to their clients in an amusing way. Visual storytelling helps brands develop an emotional bond with customers so that they can survive in highly competitive markets.

Design a user-friendly interface: At the same time, brands should take measures to satisfy their customers by providing them with a user-friendly interface. Moreover, mobile apps developed by a brand should be able to secure every transaction and interaction occurring between the brand and its customers.

Bright Future Ahead:

At present, the number of mobile phone users exceeds 3.2 billion, and the total number of mobile app subscriptions amount to almost five billion across the world. According to experts, the number will considerably go up in the near future. A study conducted in May 2015 claim that 40 percent of smartphone owners browse for mobile apps in app stores to discover the latest apps. The rising popularity of travel apps, music apps, food apps, retail apps, health and fitness apps, news and weather apps, along with gaming apps among consumers is motivating brands to model their apps in a unique way for taking advantage of the existing behaviours of the customers.

Mobile apps can bring immense business advantages to brands only if app developers take stringent measures to generate gripping content and offer compelling customer experiences so as to enhance long-term customer engagement.

This article has been authored by Ebrahim Popat, Country Manager, 9Apps (Alibaba Mobile Business Group).

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