The Path to Retail Mobile App Success: Five Tips for an Improved Customer Experience
Mobile has transformed our shopping experiences, and our expectations of the brands we love. Since consumers use retail mobile apps while shopping in-store, a number of retailers have capitalized on and contributed to increasing expectations by finding ways to seamlessly connect their digital and physical customer experiences. And consumer use of retail apps has evolved beyond in-store shopping aids.
Apptentive’s recent study, Retail & Mobile Apps: What Works and Why, found that 54% of people that use apps have made an in-app purchase in the last month. Now that consumers are using mobile apps to actually make purchases, not just supplement their in-store shopping experiences, retailers need to invest in creating standalone mobile customer experiences (CX).
Thanks to retailers who have mastered the in-app experience (such as Amazon, Starbucks, and eBay), it’s extremely apparent to consumers when the experience is bad. Consumers have little patience for poor mobile experiences. If a mobile app doesn’t live up to expectations, they will ditch the app in favor of retailers who have invested in great mobile experiences.
So what can retailers do to improve their CX?
Five Tips to Improve Mobile CX
The need for a seamless mobile customer experience is real. Here’s how retailers can improve their mobile customer experience to meet increasing customer expectations.
1. Connect offline and online experiences.
The importance of a positive mobile customer experience extends beyond purchases in the app. Apptentive’s survey found 55% of people who use retail mobile apps have used them to browse, then purchase in-store at least once in the last month (we call this “app-rooming”). Not only does the mobile app experience need to be a standalone experience, it should also connect seamlessly with consumers’ physical experiences.
2. Measure and track customer sentiment.
Do you know how your customers feel about your brand? All companies want their customers to love them, but how do you know if you’ve earned that accolade without measuring customer love?
Supplemental to customer feedback, measuring customer sentiment will help teams across your organization learn and make business decisions. Your product, quality assurance, engineering, market research, and marketing teams all stand to gain insights from customer sentiment tracking.
3. Sync mobile apps with loyalty programs.
Allowing customers to earn reward or loyalty points by using your mobile app not only improves their customer experience, it increases loyalty. Starbucks is a great example of a company that has successfully tied their mobile app to customer loyalty. Their customers have to use their app in order to earn reward points, which may be a driving force behind the high volume of sales linked to mobile (24% of all Starbucks’ transactions are on mobile).
4. Ask for customer feedback.
Asking customers for feedback increases your ability to problem solve without guessing. Are customers abandoning their shopping cart, but you don’t know why? Don’t waste time trying to deduce all of the different possibilities as to why this is an issue. Ask customers in the app as soon as they abandon their cart. This will save you time, and enable you to implement a solution quickly—reducing the amount of revenue lost.
5. Make mobile purchasing easy.
The ability to easily pay for purchases in a mobile app is in high demand. If the payment process is cumbersome, customers are more likely to abandon their shopping cart. Retailers that make buying easy, such as Amazon’s one-click shopping experience, reap the (monetary) rewards. Amazon has created an easy checkout process that only requires customers to hit one button to complete their purchase.
Consumer expectations of mobile experiences are increasing, and the way they use retail mobile apps is evolving quickly. To stay ahead of the competition and capture mobile shoppers, retailers can consider fostering deeper customer relationships, creating more compelling loyalty programs and providing great customer experiences to fully capitalize on the benefits retail mobile apps have to offer. Retail brands that invest in standalone mobile customer experiences will impress customers, earn loyalty, and have a better chance at increasing mobile revenue—through sales and through contextually relevant, unintrusive in-app marketing.
Marissa Smith is the Marketing Communications Manager at Apptentive. She studies consumer behavior in an increasingly mobile world, and loves helping businesses connect with their customers on a personal level. Follow Marissa on Twitter at @MLYESSS.