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Growing Business

Three Must-Haves for Mobile Applications

Mobile apps offer an opportunity to provide a clear signal through the noise of sales-driven marketing.

by David Goltz

July 2015

People increasingly use mobile apps to access information, rather than a mobile web browser. In fact, a recent study by Nielsen shows that 89 percent of time spent on media is through mobile apps, versus 11 percent on the mobile web. In the near future, customers may make most of their purchase decisions by doing research on a mobile app before reaching out to companies directly, making it critical for companies to deliver a mobile experience consistent with all other sales channels.

Brands that deliver a poor mobile experience are at risk of losing 27 percent of their customers, according to a survey by Zogby Analytics for CA Technologies. So the stakes are high for getting this right.

Let’s break down the three characteristics of a successful mobile app:

1) It solves problems
Companies tend to use mobile applications as another direct marketing channel—another outlet to bombard customers with general info, news feeds, special sales, and promotions. Instead, companies need to develop mobile apps that solve customers’ unique needs.

Let’s look at one example from the travel and tourism industry. Anyone who has stayed at a hotel knows that check-in can be the biggest barrier between the comfort of your room and a long day of travel. As a way to make this easier for customers, many hotels now let guests check in, get their room number, and unlock their door directly from their mobile app.

2) It’s personalized
You deliver tremendous value when you offer users a tailored experience. One way to do so is by enabling social sign-on, which allows users to sign in to an app using their social media username and password.

Brands that deliver a poor mobile experience are at risk of losing 27 percent of their customers.”

Aside from alleviating password fatigue, social sign-on gives marketers permission to access accurate data derived from social profiles, such as location, interests, and occupation. Armed with this data, marketers can personalize their promotions more effectively with products and services nearby, which can increase the time consumers spend with you. In fact, people who sign in with Facebook at the Huffington Post view 22 percent more pages and spend eight minutes longer than the average reader, according to a Facebook study.

And when users find something they like, social sign-on allows them to share it with friends, which increases new customer acquisition and conversions. For example, a recent study by Blue Research commissioned by Janrain found that 72 percent of people consider buying based on positive recommendations from social networks.

3) It’s secure
According to a recent Forbes article, Target’s stock fell almost 14 percent in the two months after its massive data breach in 2013. The same article noted that $62 million could be needed to cover the expenses related to Home Depot’s security breach last September (with expected insurance reimbursement of around $27 million).

In a world where 92 percent of the top 100 paid apps have been hacked, it seems that app functionality has outpaced security. Ensure that you take proper measures to protect users’ personal information and your own business reputation.

Today’s customers are inundated with sales-driven marketing materials. However, mobile apps offer an opportunity to provide a clear signal through the noise. With secure, personalized apps that focus on solving customer problems, businesses can drive brand affinity and increase sales.

Photography by Shutterstock