Ecommerce is a way of life for countless millions of individuals across the globe.
Attribute its meteoric rise to technological advancements, society’s obsession with consumerism, or simply mankind’s aversion to do anything these days not controlled by a handheld device. Taken individually or as a trio of causative factors, there is no denying the magnitude of digital commerce and the impact of mobile app marketing.
As much as e-commerce has become ingrained in everyday existence, so has the use of apps, those oh-so-convenient links to our fleeting interests and specific needs in a given activity cycle.
Apps have become so commonplace that many are forgotten as soon as they are acquired, showing how quickly society takes for granted technological opportunity. As such, the ongoing challenge for digital marketing efforts is to maximize app effectiveness, visibility and ability to provide consumers with the apps that are best suited for their lifestyles and interests.
The Rule of Three
If a consumer takes the time to download a particular app, it can be assumed that the consumer maintains an immediate interest in a given resource for various possible purposes.
Whether said consumer acts on the app is a different consideration, but to fully understand the power and potential of the downloaded app, one needs to break down the app concept into three categories, each detailing the app’s divergent potentialities.
The action app centers exclusively on how the consumer uses it for commerce purposes through direct purchases (from buying tangible goods to contracting for services).
Netflix, iTunes and Amazon are just a few entities that host commerce-specific apps for their respective businesses, with each giving customers instant access to purchase their various offerings, view video content, or listen to music.
For those searching the depths of the Internet seeking facts and figures, informational apps fit the bill perfectly. Not designed for buying/selling activity, info apps are providers of a different type of sensory stimulation than their action-oriented siblings.
Whether looking for online bank account balances, comparing airline ticket prices or merely revisiting today’s news headlines, info apps offer users resources that can lead to actual commerce, but will do so indirectly.
Apps also play a role in bringing social media outlets into the palm of one’s hand, easily and immediately. What better alternative is there to keying in clumsy URLs than tapping an icon on your smartphone screen and being chauffeured directly to your digital destination?
With social media outlets being so dominant, apps that facilitate the communication process between users are vital components to everyone’s shared cyber-experiences, whether coming via Facebook, Instagram, or elsewhere.
Apps and the Consumer
So how is the importance of app utilization best described as it pertains to consumers? At its most basic level, the app is a shortcut that makes life easy and stress-free for digital activity. For consumers specifically, the app world is one that brings them where they want to be in nano-seconds, free to indulge themselves as buyers, sellers, or data gatherers.
Use of apps has grown to point where smartphone users have multiple apps downloaded at any given time while also receiving daily updates from their host app stores. App users are fickle, though, and therein lies the challenge (and opportunity) for app marketers.
Seeing is Believing
For apps, visibility is one of the most integral parts of usage. Potential consumers need to see the app in action, in addition to seeing its value in the present and near future. In addition to visibility, simplicity is the second greatest factor.
Imagine a consumer in a retail grocery market, comparison shopping his or her way through the produce aisles. An app that makes that consumer’s life easy by providing in-store sales, promotions, and coupons will be an app that remains high on that shopper’s priorities list. Conversely, an app that offers far less value-added features will fall by the wayside as soon as the consumer finds something better.
Now consider an app that incorporates action and information, one that allows a consumer to adequately research an item before purchase, then makes the transaction process a seamless experience.
Sound like something you would want as an app user? If yes, then it is something you would want to offer as an app marketer to other consumers. Simply put, apps address consumer needs and provide them with efficient ways to get what they need—be it information or sheer convenience.
Strategies for App Marketers
Once you’re aware of the importance of apps to the overall marketplace, it’s time to develop a plan to facilitate the consumer’s journey through the use of your company’s app(s).
First, understand that the magnitude of app usage is nearly incalculable, thus attracting consumers’ attention is a profound challenge. If you have a mailing list or social media profile, let your base know that you have a brand new app and what it can do for them.
Additionally, it’s a great idea to have a link to Android and iOS versions of your app available on your website. Your apps MUST be visible to potential users, with that visibility coming by way of standing apart from the app masses.
Additionally, your app has to ultimately offer value—more than the norm, and much more than the competition—to not only attract first time users but also to retain them for future commerce activity long beyond the initial download.
One and done is not a successful plan for generating consumer loyalty, and the term “re-engagement” needs to be in everyone’s app marketing manual.
Apps must engage consumers with relevant content and information that will be repeatedly utilized for optimum benefit. This entails staying current with target demographics’ requirements, then delivering as best as possible.
Working with developers to ensure push-button notifications of new features, reminders for special offers, and to continually add new features and fix bugs that cause apps to malfunction or crash is a process your team needs to be prepared to undertake to give consumers maximum benefit from your app.
The potential for developing value-based apps is only constrained by a marketer’s creative limitations and lack of vision. The more ingenious one can be with designing and aligning apps to one’s business, the greater upside for app users in the flow of commerce and their ultimate consumer journeys.
Remember, apps are designed to make consumers’ lives easy and provide more than the competitor’s offerings. Think of the apps you currently use as a consumer and merge that mindset with the principles of marketing to put your apps and business in positions to be successful.