Mobile applications have proven value for businesses. For those firms that remain resistant to the idea of developing an app, understanding the ability of apps to target, engage, support and retain customers should provide ample reasoning for them to build a mobile application of their own.
For businesses seeking new ways to engage their customers, mobile apps are all the rage.
According to a recent Clutch survey, the number of small businesses planning to build a mobile app is expected to increase by over 50% in 2017 alone.
If nothing else, the increase in the amount of businesses embracing mobile apps reflects a larger recognition among the business community of the value mobile apps can provide.
The following article lists four benefits of mobile apps that drive customer engagement and produce value for a business, all of which serve as powerful reasons that all businesses should consider investing in, and building, an app for themselves.
1. Apps Have Powerful Targeting Capabilities
The “mobile” aspect of mobile apps provides the distinct dimension to the marketing utility of apps.
In addition to niche targeting and data-driven advantages of traditional digital marketing channels, mobile apps have mobile-specific technologies that provide unique and effective means for app owners to engage with their customers.
One such form of mobile-specific technology compatible with mobile apps is geo-targeting, a function which allows mobile marketers to segment target audiences on a granular level by tracking user location through an app.
The degree of targeting capable through this technology allows marketers both to deliver personalized messages to their customers and engage them in the most optimal marketing contexts, for instance, when they enter a store.
Whole Foods Triples Click Through Rates Through Geo-Fencing
An example of the effective use of mobile-specific technologies in a marketing context is a 2016 campaign carried out by Whole Foods.
In this campaign, Whole Foods partnered with location-based marketing company Thinknear to place “geofences,” or virtual boundaries monitored by GPS location-enabled devices, around a number of their store locations.
When a mobile app user came within the geofenced area, a targeted ad or special promotion appeared on her phone.
Overall, through this campaign, Whole Foods raised its post-click conversion rate to 4.69%, over three times the national average of 1.43%.
The success of the marketing campaign, and others like it, is not possible without the specialized technology that’s compatible with mobile products and allows marketers to reach their customers in small but influential ways.
2. Apps Boost Customer Service
According to the aforementioned survey, small businesses invest in mobile apps to improve customer service. However, this benefit is not exclusive to small businesses. Mobile apps provide an opportunity for all businesses to improve and expand their customer service capabilities.
There are two primary methods through which mobile apps enhance customer service capabilities
- Customer-facing technology, like interactive chatbots
Below are respective examples of how each of these app-centric methods work to improve customer service for a business.
CVS & Walgreens Improve Convenience
CVS and Walgreens offer apps that improve customer service through convenience, by allowing customers to refill orders and prescriptions in their apps.
While this functionality is by no means revolutionary, it's very effective. By offering this type of convenience, these brands set themselves apart from the competition and attract business customers who don’t have time to visit the store and have their prescription refilled.
Chatbot Technology Gains Customer Trust
Chatbots and other integrated customer-facing technology in mobile apps provide another boon to customer service through garnering consumer trust and goodwill.
Because chatbots respond instantaneously to customers, they allow users to engage with brands in real-time, from any location. Thus, bots prove particularly useful when applied to functions like answering frequently asked questions or educating customers about how to use a product.
3. Apps Boost Customer Loyalty
Mobile apps also work to help businesses secure loyalty among users.
Customer loyalty procurement through an app commonly takes the form of loyalty programs and promotions, either exclusive to, or compatible with, a company’s app.
Through an app-based loyalty program or promotion, a business may inform users about early-bird special offers, carry out strategically timed promotions, or offer access to exclusive deals as users come within a certain radius of your store.
Starbucks Rewards is one example of the impact a loyalty program can have on securing customer loyalty, which in turn, can improve a businesses’ bottom line.
Starbucks’ loyalty program rewards consumers for their purchases and makes it easy to place orders before entering the store. (The program actually was so popular that it caused lines to become too long in the stores.)
4. App Data Supports Marketing Automation
Whenever a new user downloads a mobile app, a treasure trove of valuable customer data is unlocked, all of which has revenue-generating potential for your business.
Ultimately, collecting and measuring mobile user analytics allows for businesses to track, measure, and optimize their marketing campaigns for user engagement and returns.
The benefits brought by analyzing app analytics data include:
- Better understanding of customer behaviors
- Ways to segment users based on interests and online behavior
- Ability to develop personalized campaigns and messages
- Ability to identify the best channels for delivering these messages
- Ability to determine optimal time to reach customers
Ideally, brands use data collected from mobile app analytics to automate their marketing efforts and deliver messages in the most relevant context for customers.
In this context, the process of converting users to paying customers becomes much easier.
Mobile Apps Provide Unique, Multi-Dimensional Value
The benefits of providing an amazing mobile experience for your customers through an app are undeniable.
Specifically, a mobile app helps you connect with your target audience in a timely, location-based, and context-specific manner that is unique to any other vehicle for customer interaction.
There are four elements inherent to mobile apps that help businesses improve customer interactions:
- High-performance marketing channels
- Excellent customer service tools
- Engaging consumer loyalty platforms
- Productive marketing automation support
These capabilities show that mobile apps can make a critical impact for businesses that want to engage their target audience and drive value for their business.
About the Author
Michal Kowalski is the Marketing Manager at Ready4S - one of the leading mobile app development companies in Poland, UK and Ukraine. As a marketing leader, he is responsible for boosting the company's growth by generating valuable leads and building brand positioning strategies. He loves finding perfect links between data and creative marketing, in that order.