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3 things brands should consider about mobile

Back in the day (and by the day, I only mean a few years ago), your email address used to be the passport to the internet; now it’s your mobile number, your mobile and apps that unlock everything. The average global Android user spent 27% of waking hours on mobile in April 2020, up from 20% in 2019.

A mobile is in peoples’ hands every day—in lockdown we’re carrying it into every room! It’s actually harder to keep people off mobile than driving them to it. Therefore, we need to ensure we’re making the most of the various ecosystems that brings with it. Brands need to start thinking of mobile as a way of life, not just a device or a screen size.

CRM is at the core of apps

Customer relationship management (CRM) is at the core of apps—a good app becomes a customer’s focal point for interaction with a brand. For example, apps like Amazon and Sainsbury’s Nectar, etc, used to be an evolution of a website. Now they are the default destination for looking up anything to do with your history with the brands, as well as the easiest way to use their services.

In today’s day and age, it’s the easiest way to start and build personalised conversations, so brands can use it for rewards; changing behaviour; keeping users sticky; building trust; and getting a good understanding of the user’s needs and order history. I say easiest. You can’t just bosh out an app and assume some Field of Dreams magic will happen. You still have to prove the value to your audience; you have to put their needs ahead of your own gains.

And those gains are plentiful! As well as making your customers more sticky, more likely to keep using your service over others, you will start unlocking insight into their spending patterns, their hard transactional data and their behaviour and preferences.

Prove your app deserves space on their phone

Customers are so much more likely to use an app if it’s good. If it’s seen as a bit rubbish, they won’t want to interact with it or share it. Same with a mobile website—don’t immediately force people to get your app or ram it down their throats. Deliver them a great experience on the site first, prove your app deserves the space on their phone and that it will be useable. The worst thing you can do is put more barriers between your users and the content they want.

The key is to make sure you’re understanding the user’s ecosystem. Align your needs with customers and don’t put any barriers in the way. People want a frictionless experience—sending you from an email to an app where passwords are already stored and customers can use single sign on, etc. Customers expect the mobile experience to be seamless and relevant. It’s your job to facilitate that. Helping them is ultimately going to help you. A good customer experience means your customers will spend more. According to a research from PWC, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.

Aim to create an app that engages and delights.
Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

Don’t do it just because you can

We do a lot of cool stuff with mobile, in email particularly. People on their mobiles are more likely to be able to see all the interactive innovative coding. That being said, we make sure to never do it just because we can. Time and again I see people using ‘in-email’ technology because it’s available, not because it improves the user journey. It’s about the fundamentals of the next course of action for a user, and if that’s using mobile then great. Every interaction a customer has with your brand will inform their experience, regardless of which channel this interaction occurs on.

It’s also easy when thinking about mobile experiences to ignore or forget about the journey for desktop users. People want to be able to have the experienced tailored to them wherever they are. In email that means not scrimping on designing a less interactive experience; play to the strengths that a bigger screen has. For web-based journeys, make sure the right tools are in place for people to effectively complete that journey outside of the app you’ve spent so much time developing. Whether that’s making sure the login process is as smooth and frictionless as possible or that the service you are offering is just as easy and exciting, don’t keep forcing people down the channel you’ve chosen.

Mobile devices and apps have quickly become a huge part of our everyday lives. It’s a wonderful opportunity for businesses to strengthen brand loyalty, recognition and streamline the customer experience. Just remember, while mobile is an exciting and worthwhile avenue, as with everything, you need to do it well.

Put the customer experience first, prove that you have something to offer and remember to prioritise those personalised conversations.

—Sophy Wells

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