How A Mobile App Can Boost Sales and Enhance the Customer Experience
Keeping up with consumer demand is a never-ending process. Unfortunately, your competitors also realize the importance of this and are racing to develop new ways to outshine your efforts. How do you satisfy your customers in a culture where quick, ready access to products and/or services from a variety of devices is becoming more the norm than the exception?
The good news is there are affordable options to help sustain and grow your customer base. One option is developing a website with a responsive design. Responsive designs are named as such because they “respond” or adapt to any mobile device.
Using a responsive design preserves the integrity and browsing capability of the website, eliminating the need to create a separate “mobile” site. However, as consumers continue to demand more and more, many companies are launching mobile apps in addition to responsive websites to help boost sales and enhance the customer experience.
As we approach Black Friday, many retailers and malls are prepping mobile apps for the holiday season. According to 2012 IBM Holiday Benchmark Reports, mobile sales exceeded 16% on Black Friday 2012, an increase of 9.8% over the previous year. Mobile apps in particular are expected to positively affect the progression of this trend during Black Friday 2013.
Having a mobile app is most beneficial when it enhances the customer experience. Let’s examine some strategies app developers use to help companies motivate customers.
Quick, Easy Ordering
Mobile apps can allow customers to quickly place orders from the convenience of their tablet or smartphone. Fast food restaurants are examples of enterprises that have benefited significantly from mobile app development. Dominos is an example of a pizza chain who has a great mobile app. Their customers can explore options and easily place their order directly from anywhere using their mobile device. From big box stores to small retail establishments, companies profit by making products and/or services convenient and accessible to their customers.
Offering an e-commerce component to your app can be beneficial in helping customers comparison shop. The downside of e-commerce websites is they are sometimes not as customer friendly on mobile devices. Having an e-commerce friendly app to complement your e-commerce website gives the customer an opportunity to quickly obtain product pricing and place their order. Once they have looked up the product in your app, customers are more likely to place the order on the spot with a tap of the screen. Sam’s Club is an example company who has a very user-friendly app.
Value Added Benefits
Incorporating value added benefits for app customers helps generate sales. Retail apps that use a reward program can help give you a leg up over your competition. Starbucks uses this to its advantage by offering points toward rewards such as free song downloads, free apps, and free beverages. These benefits are exclusively for app subscribers, and help motivate customers to patronize their business. This, coupled with the ability to pay directly from the app, is a double winner for everyone!
Making the experience convenient for the customer will keep them coming back. Airlines in particular have embraced this concept. For example, the Delta Airlines mobile apps allow you to check-in to your plane, change or make modifications to your flight, reserve or change seating, and even display your boarding pass at the gate. Developing an app that makes your product and/or service more convenient for the consumer not only enhances their experience, but increases your chances for repeat business.
It is important to choose an app developer who understands the importance of creating a mobile app that utilizes as few steps as possible for customers to make purchases. Allowing customers to securely store credit card information or purchase history within the app helps reduce the time it takes to make a purchase. You are more likely to make a sale if you can feature a product, and allow it to be easily added to the shopping cart and purchased in as few steps as possible. The easier the app is to use, the more often your customers will explore the app and buy!
When working with an app developer, try to place yourself in your customers shoes and ask questions such as: What features would make it more convenient to order my product? What benefits or rewards can I incorporate to add value to my product or service? What innovative ideas can be integrated to help make my app stand out?
In the day and age of “wanting now, buying now”, it is important to ensure your products and/or services are conveniently available across a wide variety of platforms. Ordering online, and especially from mobile devices, is more prevalent than ever. Just like websites, there will soon come a time when every business has an app. Developing one sooner than later can help keep you ahead of the game, generate interest and boost your overall bottom line.
About the author:
Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications including Global Response. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.