Without a doubt, the pandemic has made dramatic shifts in consumer shopping behavior. Shopping almost exclusively online from the comfort, safety, and convenience of their home, consumers have pushed a new normal, driving countless retailers to move their operations entirely online in order to survive.
Outside of the already ubiquitous online shopping experience, mobile shopping in the form of apps are also gaining considerable ground. Once considered simply a part of a larger “digital strategy”, apps have now become front and center of this strategy. By not adapting to this evolving trend, businesses run the risk of falling desperately behind.
How Businesses Can Rethink Their App Growth Strategy
Companies must begin their app growth strategy by first identifying which “channels” customers are spending most of their time in. According to eMarketer, 88% of the time used in smartphones is done in an app as opposed to using the mobile web.
Apps were once considered a “nice to have”, however, since they are now viewed as the “new storefront”, businesses must redirect their efforts to improve the customer experience through customization, enhancing the “purchase journey”, offering real value, product exploration, and great customer service, just to name a few. These improvements will greatly increase downloads of these apps.
Considering the intense competition to earn that precious real estate on a customer’s phone, brands should focus on creating “immersive experiences for product exploration.” This can include using Augmented Reality and 360 views. This will address the issue of not being able to see the product in person.
In order to increase app sales, the entire shopping experience must become more “intuitive” and optimized for mobile use. The product details, reviews, the images, adding to the cart, and checkout technology must be more convenient to use in an app environment. It should not simply mimic the experience on a website.
Communication should also take on a more human approach. Consumers should be able to initiate a conversation with their favorite brand to acquire help or seek advice. Very similar to that assistance that they can experience in-store. Paper circulars can now come in the form of push-notifications, e-mails, or “SMS campaigns”. These notifications must be timely and low-key.
Ultimately, it is the user experience or (UX) that will determine whether consumers become loyal, engaged, and inclined to make that app their go-to retail spot.
One of the most effective strategies to draw customers to these apps is by using “in-app ads”. They are considered a very cost-effective method of reaching a much broader audience.
Leaning Into The Gaming Environment
The mass appeal of mobile gaming has reached a level that marketers should simply not ignore. Smartphones have essentially become the new gaming console that is accessible to people of all ages and income levels. Considered a “lean-in environment”, brands can easily obtain consumers as they are occupied and in a mindset of escape and relaxation.
Depending on the different game genres, marketers will find a variation of demographic criteria. This information would be vital for marketers to fine-tune their sales campaigns.
Looking Towards The Future
The future of m-Commerce success lies in the combined efforts of delivering on an advanced user acquisition approach as well as providing an “app-optimized experience”.
As more consumers begin to adopt the use of apps, this could very well become the port of entry to click-and-collect, home delivery, and contactless in-store shopping.