How Your Business Can Create Great Customer Experiences

2016 was a year of big change for marketers.  Technologies like chat bots and virtual reality finally made their way into mainstream acceptance and made big waves in the world of marketing.  While customer experience has been a hot topic for the past couple years, it looks like 2017 will be the year that most businesses start taking it seriously.

In studies, customer experience has overtaken product and price as the key differentiator to customers. More and more, consumers demand rewarding experiences that meet their needs. Regardless of what medium consumers engage with businesses, they expect a rewarding experience. Because of this, many businesses are contacting web and mobile app developers about improving their digital experiences.

On the other side of the coin, businesses that ignore customer experience will put themselves at a disadvantage when compared to competitors who prioritize it.

Successful companies are right now focusing on customer experience

Successful companies are right now focusing on customer experience | Photo: Jorge Franganillo (Flikr)

Successful companies are right now focusing on customer experience. Research has found that highly engaged consumers will spend 300 percent more than less engaged consumers and savvy businesses are working to improve their level of engagement with customers.

User experience leaders are using customer data to personalize experiences. From the items a consumer browses for to their past purchases, this information can be used to make their customer experience better.  Nearly 60% of marketers in the US plan on increasing their focus on customer retention and loyalty in the upcoming year, will your business be keeping up?

If you are looking to improve your businesses customer experience here are three tips to help you.

Take a customer-first approach

Improving your business’s customer experience requires that you put the customer first. You will want to stop thinking in terms of individual campaigns and start thinking in a customer-first mindset.  A customer-first mindset will help you be able to align marketing, product, and service to meet your consumer’s needs.

Regardless of which touchpoint that a customer chooses to interact with your business, the experience should be seamless and focused on meeting their needs.  Remember, if you are not meeting their needs they will just choose to go somewhere else.  This extends beyond the user experience of your mobile app or website, you will want to change the culture of your organization and put the customer first.

Leverage data

In 2017, brands must be able to deliver contextually relevant content to consumers. No longer will consumers accept one-size-fits-all approaches to digital media. They expect you to know what they are interested in and not to waste their time promoting products or service outside of their preferences. This isn’t difficult to do with the enormous opportunities available with data these days.

You will want to know what a customer may want or need based on past behavior. It also means being able to apply intelligence to their current customer journey to help improve it. By anticipating customer needs you can improve their experience and build strong relationships with customers.

An example of this would be websites and apps that let customers know about other items they will need when making a purchase. If a customer is buying a toy for a child’s birthday, the website or app should suggest any other items that are necessary such as batteries. You can also suggest product re-orders or upgrades at the appropriate times or make product recommendations for appropriate products at just the right time.

Be forward thinking

Not only do you need to think about the customer experiences you are creating right now but you need to think about the customer experiences you will be creating in the future. Are you considering emerging technologies already? Chat bots? Artificial intelligence? Virtual reality? All of these present opportunities for businesses and can help you improve customer experiences.


How to Capitalize on Opportunities Created by Mobile Commerce

The use of mobile devices took off like a rocket with the release of the first iPhone and consumers have not looked back. Likewise, customers have embraced mobile apps and mobile app development companies have enjoyed tremendous growth over the same time frame.

While mobile commerce has shown tremendous growth it has lagged behind consumer’s general mobile use.

While mobile commerce has shown tremendous growth it has lagged behind consumer’s general mobile use | Photo: Jason Howie (Flikr)

However, following somewhat behind the use of mobile devices and mobile apps is mobile commerce. While mobile commerce has shown tremendous growth it has lagged behind consumer’s general mobile use. Consumers often use mobile devices to shop and do research on products, but they regularly make the actual purchases offline or via their desktop or laptop computer.

Accessing the internet via mobile passed access via desktop in 2014, but mobile commerce is still lagging behind as consumers are making more purchases and spending more money via their desktop computers.

Because of this, there is a tremendous opportunity to increase sales if you can convert shoppers doing research on their mobile device into sales right then and there. If you can, you will help reduce the number of people performing research that are not being converted into customers or customers who end up making purchases from one of your competitors.

Prioritize mobile

To capitalize on this opportunity, you first and foremost must not treat mobile as a secondary channel. You need to prioritize mobile commerce and mobile user experiences. Additionally your business needs to create a mobile transactional app.

Users spend the bulk of their mobile time using apps and if your business does not have one you are missing the boat. In addition to differences in usage time, mobile apps have higher conversion rates than mobile web sites which also make them essential.

Optimize mobile experiences

To maximize your return on mobile efforts, your business needs to make sure that they have user-friendly, optimized mobile experiences across all mobile content. This includes not only mobile apps but mobile friendly web sites as well.

Many businesses have tried to shoe-horn their web site deigned for desktop viewing into a mobile web site and mobile app and this will not bring the sales they were hoping for. Design specifically for mobile with a laser like focus on user experience.

Omni-channel strategy

A cross-device strategy is essential these days. Your business needs to understand the relationship between how your customers use the various channels and have a plan for how to engage them as they move between them.

You may find that many of the purchases on the desktop version of your web site are being inspired by mobile ads. You will have an easier time driving results if you understand the big picture of the customer journey. If your mobile ads are driving desktop sales find out why. Find out why users are not buying off your mobile offerings and improve them to close the gap and increase sales.

Consider the following 3 aspects of the mobile process:

Customer acquisition

Right now consumers are willing to download and engage with retailers via apps, however many retailers are still lagging behind when it comes to developing apps utilizing best practices. The user experience of many apps has lagged behind what consumers are expecting.

When it comes to mobile apps a quality user experience is crucial and retailers must devote necessary time and effort to their user interface to improve the likelihood that customers will shop via their mobile app.

Customer engagement

When it comes to mobile, bounce rates are higher than they are on desktop. Consumers tend to engage differently with mobile than they do on desktop computers and this should be accounted for when developing your application. For instance, customers generally visit far fewer screens in apps.

This has to do with the shorter session times that occur on mobile. On the other hand, users tend to use their mobile devices with much greater frequency. If your business accounts for the way customers use their devices and develop an app that falls in line with their needs and usage patterns, it will help drive sales.

Customer retention

It can be difficult to re-engage a user once they have abandoned your application. Consumers are much less likely to return to an app after abandoning it than they are returning to a web site on a desktop computer. Because of this it is essential that you place a high priority on engaging customers who have downloaded your app right off the bat.

Final thoughts

Since we are living in a time when consumers constantly use their mobile devices to communicate, be entertained, work, and look for information. it makes sense that businesses would cater to customers being able to shop via their mobile device.

To take advantage of mobile commerce’s potential, you want to make sure you understand and accommodate your customers’ preferences, behaviors, needs and limitations. Focus on creating mobile experiences that make shopping simple. Investments in UX Design can pay off high dividend as they will help you improve user experiences and help create mobile sales.


Mobile App Monetization Trends for 2017

With the tremendous growth in the popularity of mobile devices, there exists excellent monetary opportunities for app publishers and mobile app development companies in 2017. The app market is growing at a tremendous rate and this provides many opportunities for savvy businesses.

Mobile apps are rapidly becoming the go-to resource for many of the tasks that each of us performs every day.

Mobile apps are rapidly becoming the go-to resource for many of the tasks that each of us performs every day. | Photo: TechStage (Flikr)

In a recent report from app store intelligence firm App Annie, it was estimated that app store revenue will more than double between 2015 and 2020 ($70 billion in 2015 to a predicted $189 billion in 2020). Mobile apps are rapidly becoming the go-to resource for many of the tasks that each of us performs every day. From communication to shopping, productivity, entertainment and more, mobile apps are now an important part of our everyday life.

While there are several ways to monetize your application program, here are a few of the ways that are certain to have huge an impact during 2017.

Subscription-based models

Right now both Google and Apple and Google are encouraging subscription-based models. Businesses can utilize these in a variety of ways depending on their app’s functionality and target demographic. Subscriptions are becoming increasingly more popular and currently account for around 15% of all app store revenue.

Subscription-based models are one of the best profit models for mobile apps. By creating a subscription-based model, you can generate ongoing revenue. You are most likely familiar with subscription based services such as Spotify.

Subscription-based models also have the benefit of creating higher revenue per user than apps that follow other models. In a study by VisionMobile, they found that apps that use subscription-based models earn 2-3 times more per user than apps that utilize advertising or charge per download. Subscription-based models also earn 1.5 times more per user than apps monetized by in-app purchases.

We suggest offering a free or discounted trial to users to let users try out your app and help build your user base.

Don’t count out in-app advertising or freemium monetization models

In-app advertising and the freemium model are the two most popular monetization strategies for non-game mobile apps. Currently they account for the bulk of app revenue. Both of these monetization models appeal to users because they don’t require an up-front payment. They are both nice for app publishers because they create ongoing revenue.

With advancements in the quality of ad programs, in-app advertising has become more accepted. This is because many app publishers will apply intelligence to their ad programs and deliver advertising that is targeted, relevant and useful.

Meanwhile, freemium models are becoming increasingly more popular as they allow users to try an app before they pay. This gives publishers an opportunity to capture the interest of users, build trust and engage users before users need to pay.

There are several ways in which you can utilize the freemium model for your app. One popular model involves giving users limited access or usage and then charging when users hit a certain level of storage or usage is met or exceeded. Other options are offering users a free trial period or a limited version for free but charging for extra services or capabilities. Finally, you can combine the two of these and allow users to pay to remove ads.


Why Mobile is Important to Your Business

Unless you are completely out of touch, you have been hearing about mobile marketing. More and more companies are choosing to take advantage of the opportunities it presents. If your business hasn’t chosen to participate, you should look into it or you could be left behind your competitors. There are opportunities that can be started as easily as by calling a web site developer or mobile application development company. Here are 4 powerful reasons why your business should make mobile marketing a part of your marketing mix.

Mobile marketing should be a part of your marketing mix

Mobile marketing should be a part of your marketing mix | Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns (Flikr)

Google has made it a priority

If you call a web site development company about mobile for one reason alone it should be this one. Google updated their search algorithms to penalize web sites that are not mobile friendly. Because of this, you should make sure your site is responsive and mobile friendly. On top of search penalties, you should want to provide your customers with the best possible experience with your brand. Nearly 60% of internet searches take place from mobile devices now and you want your brand properly positioned to capitalize on these. Visitors will quickly abandon a site that is not mobile friendly if they are visiting it from their mobile device.

Mobile opens up opportunities

Without participating in mobile marketing you will not be able to leverage all of the opportunities it presents. From geo-location based initiatives to beacons and even augmented reality, mobile opens up a realm of possibilities for your brand. These tools can help your brand be more engaging and effective. Regardless of your industry, there should be an aspect of mobile that can benefit your business.

Mobile allows you to remarket

Remember when it comes to marketing, it can take multiple attempts to reach a customer and potentially more before your brand will resonate with them. If you miss your chance when the user visits your website, you can reconnect on the smart phone. Remarketing lets you show ads to people who’ve visited your website or used your mobile app. If you don’t know what remarketing is, it is when a visitor leaves your website without buying anything, and then to remarket you will try to reconnect with them by showing relevant ads on their mobile devices.

Mobile lets you get personal

Every business wants to get closer to their potential customers. The internet through a laptop or desk top never seemed to provide a particularly personal experience. But smart phones are different. Smart phones are basically individual accessories that consumers carry with them at all time. People feel a very personal connection with their smart phone that you just don’t get with any other media. On top of that, mobile marketing can be a very personalized form of marketing. It allows you to get closer to consumers than ever before through the options for personalization that it provides. This is part of what makes it so powerful when it comes to converting prospects into paying customers.


How to Improve Your App Store Ranking

With the massive popularity of mobile devices we have seen huge growth in the app stores. While this is great for device owners as they have many options to choose from (as of June 2016, Android users can choose from 2.2 million apps and Apple iOS users have 2 million apps to pick from), it can make getting an app noticed harder for individual business and mobile app developers.

App store visitors make a priority out of looking at an app’s ratings and reviews

App store visitors make a priority out of looking at an app’s ratings and reviews | Liu Tao (Flikr)

To begin with, it is important that you understand that app store visitors are making a priority out of looking at an app’s ratings and reviews.  The app stores are paying attention to this information as well. Just like the app store’s visitors, the app stores themselves are looking at social proof to see how well an app is liked. These ratings and reviews provide the difference between apps that might otherwise seem nearly identical.

Because of this, apps that have more ratings and higher ratings will be ranked higher in search results than their counterparts. You are probably thinking “OK but how can I get more reviews and higher ratings?”

There is a way to do this while at the same time working to reducing the number of bad reviews. First of all, you want to make it easy for users to reach you. You can cut down on bad reviews but giving users multiple different ways to contact you for customer support. These can including support contact info on your app store listing, having easy to find and use support on your website and putting support contact information within your application itself.  The thought process here is that you want to nip potential issues in the bud. Give your users an easy way to address issues before they end up being negative reviews on the app store.

On top of that you will want to take action to help increase the number of reviews. You can start by simply asking users to give feedback at the end of your app store description. From there you can take a less passive approach and utilize carefully timed in-app messages to prompt users to provide feedback. Make sure your messages aren’t a nuisance to users though. You don’t want to turn away users with your efforts to generate ratings.

Remember that while getting ratings can help your app store rankings, you also should be trying to get honest feedback that can help you improve your app.