With a lot of offers and discounts around, it becomes increasingly difficult to retain customers. The choice of companies that provide the same product or service may be endless, so, loyal customers are hard to come by. As the result, many retention strategies have been developed. One of them is a mobile app.
To enjoy this opportunity, most people today have a smartphone and other mobile devices with a high-speed internet connection that uses one of the popular operational systems, such as Android, iOS, or Windows. The process of mobile shopping, reading, and browsing is a routine now, with more people turning to smartphones to purchase everything from groceries to vehicles.
This is a great chance to gain new customers for businesses. An effective and approachable mobile app can increase the popularity of your product or service among smartphone users. It can serve as a retention tool and a way to establish long-term relationships with customers.
Despite the popularity of mobile apps, a development of one does not necessarily mean success. In fact, the market of mobile apps is becoming increasingly competitive, so users are used to having a good selection in app stores. Thus, a fierce competition is definitely a problem.
What’s the situation?
Let’s look at some stats and see how companies are doing in terms of engagement and retention of customers through mobile apps.
- User abandonment (an app is opened once and never launched again) has been increasing steadily since 2014 to reach 23 percent in 2016.
- If an app is launched only once a week after it has been installed, there is a 60 percent probability the user will never launch it again.
An increasing abandonment rate suggests that companies that plan to introduce their own apps are faced with a serious challenge. The users have a lot to choose from, so chances are the app will not be popular.
Don’t be discouraged, though. And don’t even think to stop app development process if you’ve already started it! People who will use your app can be thousand times more valuable than website visitors because they download it, which means they are familiar with your company.
Moreover, app users tend to spend three times longer online if compared to a website. This is explained by the fact that mobile apps have better functionality, such as quick access to deals and other exclusive content, findings location, and others.
How can I make sure my app is good for supercharging client retention?
There are a number of effective retention-boosting strategies for mobile apps that can provide some decent attention of consumers. To make sure your app is popular, we’ve gathered a list of these strategies you can use to keep customers coming back. Let’s take a look at them!
1. To Keep Your Customers, Keep It Simple
If you want to get positive results with your app, it needs to be simple. Look at some popular apps in the business: Instagram, Dropbox, and even Macdonald’s. They are perfect examples of a simple and beautiful design that offers a great user experience, responsiveness, and integration with tools people use every day, such as social media.
Let’s discuss the Instagram app a little bit more. The user’s registration is pretty simple and requires minimum details (name, email, etc.) and the app’s environment also has a simple design that does not have unnecessary buttons and functions.
Another critically important consideration is an easy onboarding experience. If you make it difficult to begin using your app, your abandonment rate will be high. Examples of unnecessary elements that prevent many from enjoying the app are confusing functions, too many adverts, information fields, and steps to register.
That’s why so many apps today use social media integration to ensure that signing up is fast as possible (you could consider using this function as well!)
It is absolutely critical to ensure that the first-time use of your app is seamless. The following can be done to avoid failures:
- Decrease the number of steps needed for signing up and make account creation as easy as possible
- Provide in-app tips on how to use most essential functions
- Don’t push too much information on the user. Let them get used to the app by themselves.
2. Reward Customer Loyalty
Persuading app users to keep opening your app is obviously a critical requirement to consider during the development process. Only those happy with the first-time use will return, so you need to give them a very good reason to do so.
Mobile apps are often considered an effective way to build customer loyalty because they expose users to promotional offers and other information about the company. If you’re after customer loyalty as well (you definitely are), start thinking of your app as a tool to develop and reward those customers who return.
To encourage customers to keep opening the app and discovering all that a company can offer, in-app customer loyalty programs are used. These programs instruct them to carry out particular actions that will be rewarded with a benefit available only for returning customers.
Popular options include exclusive access to the latest collection of products, more discounts, gift cards, and coupons. College Paper Writing Services, for example, offer additional discounts and free features such as references and outline page for their customers of college papers.
Loyalty programs are valued by customers because they show that a company cares about those who remain loyal. In today’s highly competitive market, caring about returning customers this way is incredibly important.
One of the best examples of great in-app loyalty programs is discovered in the Starbucks app. It stores the data about the customer’s credit card, so they won’t have to enter them every time they want to make a purchase. Also, it has a rewarding system that provides the user with Stars in the My Starbucks Rewards program.
This program is readily available in the app and shows all information related to Stars and rewards for them. In addition, the app allows users to share coupons and other gifts, which is a smart move to generate some word of mouth campaign.
3. Provide Incentives
The relationship between a brand and a user of its app should be characterized as win-win. Thus, the needs of customers must be met in order to persuade them to return and buy again. To meet them, companies often use the following tools:
- Special deals
- Exclusive services and offers for app users
The importance of providing incentives has been repeatedly mentioned above, and for a good reason. They allow to increase the interest to the brand by intensifying the effect of the app and provides an immediacy that convinces to act right away.
The official McDonald’s app is a great example that shows how incentives can increase app engagement and retention of customers. In 2016, the company reported that welcome offers for app users introduced in 2015 provided over 7 million downloads.
Since the launch of the incentives program that prompted users to activate their welcome offers in-store (free burgers and coffee), the engagement has been incredible. James McNally, a mobile strategist at a U.S.-based Prolific Interactive beautifully explained the success:
“Part of [the app’s success] can be attributed to the free sandwiches and McCafe’s; McDonald’s has a cheap high-volume product that is absolutely perfect for this type of incentivization.”
4. Offer Dedicated Content
We all know how hugely important content is in today’s marketing. In mobile app business, it’s just as important.
One of the reasons why people download and use apps is lack of dedicated services on websites. They are looking for something engaging from their favorite brands but the websites often cannot satisfy this need.
An app can, though. To improve your retention effort, you can create dedicated sessions on your mobile website that contain special resources available only for app users. As the result, you provide one more reason to download and use your app to the customers.
There are other reasons why designing an app makes a perfect sense.
- Games – an app can contain games related to your company, products, or industry.
- Regular use of dedicated content – if your target audience is supposed to use target content often, an app is the best option since it can provide a personalized experience without having to log in every time.
- No internet connection required – if you want your customers to be able to access dedicated content offline, a website is clearly not the way to go.
An example of apps that offer dedicated content is the New York Times App. It was created as an addition to the mobile and desktop sites and hardcopy version. The users are allowed to download it for free of charge but it provides with a limited number of free articles (10 a month).
To be able to read more than 10 articles, the users are encouraged to subscribe to paid plans that unlock the access to the rest of the content.
5. The Big Question: Security
According to a 2017 Study on Mobile and IoT Application Security by Arhan, it is a ‘wild west’ when it comes to mobile app security. The hackers are increasingly targeting even the most popular apps to get the users’ data and use it for illegal purposes.
These findings by Arhan may be a little bit of a shock to you but they resemble a real situation:
- Over 50 percent of free iOS apps had been hacked at least one time
- Over 70 percent of free Android apps had been hacked at least one time
- 100 percent of top 100 paid apps for Android had been hacked at least one time
- 56 percent of the top 100 paid apps for iOS had been hacked at least one time
Are you surprised? These findings are certainly alarming given that thousands of people use Android and iOS apps on a regular basis and many of them provide credit card data and other personal information.
There are several critical security dangers that you will need to recognize when developing your own app:
- Insecure data storage. It is possible that your app will be used for mobile payment for your products and services, so credit card data of the users will be stored. Make sure that all sensitive information, such as username, password, and credit card data is not stored directly on a device. In this case, anyone with the phone can see it by connecting it to a computer.
- Unintended data leakage. The data can be lost even when you don’t intend it to. To personalize marketing offers, the app collects the personal data, so it’s essential to ensure that it does not compromise a user’s privacy.
- Device’s security. The device that your app will be installed on is also a potential source of security threats. For example, if it has been modified by the owner or an unauthorized app to bypass the security of the system, some serious issues can occur. In this case, the device’s security is basically removed, so it becomes susceptive to malware. Making your app aware of device risks by restricting some functionality is the best way to go to improve the security of the data.
So, how does one secure a mobile app and ensure that customers can use it without worrying? Here are the essentials.
- Secure the code. Only a secured code makes an app truly safe from malicious codes.
- Secure the device. Identify and eliminate functions that can expose the app’s data to risks that emerge from mobile system design.
- Secure the data. Mobile data encryption and remote erase capabilities are developed to prevent unwanted access to data.
- Secure transactions. Risk-aware transaction technologies must be adapted to detect attacks on the security of transactions completed inside an app.
The Bottom Line
The engagement and retention levels provided by mobile apps are incredible, which makes them invaluable to the success of your business.
Pay attention to the strategies described in this article to ensure that your newly built mobile app drives growth and provides a great opportunity for customers to form a meaningful relationship with your business.