Tag Archives: mobile application development

Increase Retail Sales with High-powered Mobile Applications

Over the past 7 years the way consumers shop has dramatically changed.

With the introduction of the smart phone, consumers found they had a wealth of information right at their fingertips, which opened up a whole new era of retail. Retail shopping is not longer a distinctly different activity from online shopping as customers are now able to integrate the benefits of online shopping into their retail shopping experiences.

Consumers shop with their smart phones in their hands

Consumers shop with their smart phones in their hands | Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns (Flikr)

Consumers shop with their smart phones in their hands while in the store. Utilizing their devices to compare prices and read reviews on products they are interested in. Mobile devices are also used to look for coupons and deals.

Savvy businesses have followed this trend and are providing consumers with the tools they want in their mobile applications. Understanding the needs of your consumer is crucial before beginning a mobile app development project. These needs should be communicated to your iPhone application developer or Android application developer.

In a study created by SessionM, it was shown that when shopping for everyday items, 65 percent of consumers used their smart phones during shopping to search for coupons, compare prices or to access a shopping list.

Clearly with numbers this high, applications built for businesses that have retails outlets should consider that their customers will be looking for prices, reviews and deals while in their stores and provide the appropriate information in an easy to use format.

Look at mobile apps as a way to augment the in-store shopping experience by being able to provide the info customers are looking for all in one place in the palm of their hand. Studies like the above provide a general idea of what consumers are looking for but don’t assume a one-size-fits-all approach works. What information are your businesses’ customers looking for? Great apps begin with the customer.

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Is Mobile Messaging the Marketing Answer You Are Looking For?

For years businesses have understood the importance of social media and have developed strategies to market their brands via Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. But as with everything else, things change.

Often when brands are discussing mobile marketing and social marketing they focus on the big name networks of Facebook and Twitter and don’t realize that that may not be on the right network to reach their audience who may be spending their time somewhere else.

People from the younger generation consume a great deal of information on mobile devices and are essentially digital natives. Taking a mobile-first approach is important with younger demographics, they have been raised using mobile applications and interacting via mobile is a way of life for them.

Don't be afraid to see if mobile messaging apps are right for you

Don’t be afraid to see if mobile messaging apps are right for you | Photo: AdamPrzezdziek (Flikr)

A great way to reach this tech savvy younger demographic is to present something fresh in a new space. To do this many brands are focusing marketing attention to red hot mobile messaging apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp.

People are spending a lot of time on mobile messaging apps, and it can be a challenge (WhatsApp doesn’t accept advertising), but the space is filled with opportunities that are being successfully navigated by many brands. Innovative brands have even found high profile ways to market via the dating app Tinder. During SXSW, Tinder was used to promote the Ex Machina movie, with an AI character named Ava from the movie in the app.

Key to a successful mobile messaging marketing strategy is to be able to respect the consumers’ point of view while they are on these applications.  The brands with the best results from these apps are those that have figured out how to utilize to each platform’s strength. Rather than utilizing one-size-fits all messaging or simply trying to blatantly promote your brand,  you must understand the consumers mindset for each and create messaging that works within the flow of use.

A good example would be to use Snapchat to show behind the scenes operations or previews of upcoming products. These can build excitement for your brand without seeming obtrusive like advertisements.

Remember that you need to be careful about how you utilize messaging apps for marketing. Hard selling will not work. These apps are built for personal communication and users will expect brands to respect that. However, with a little creativity, these apps can be used to deepen relationships with consumers.

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Supercharge Your Marketing with Geolocation

Businesses have more opportunity than ever to understand what their customers want and how to give it to them.  Mobile location services allow to businesses to develop programs to cater to their customers in ways they never could before and savvy marketers are turning location based data into improved customer experiences.

Mobile geolocation can help you interact with customers in a better fashion then you were able to in the past. Geolocation data can help you understand what your customers doing.  This will allow you to better engage customers by being able to give them relevant, meaningful experiences. By doing this you will be able to strengthen the relationship between your brand and customers.

Turn location based data into improved customer experiences

Turn location based data into improved customer experiences | Photo: William Hook (Flikr)

This will also allow brands to better respond to changes in the market over time.

In studies, around 55% of consumers responded that it would be useful to receive marketing promotions on their smartphone while in a store. With an established data program and beacon technology you can now deliver just the right message at exactly the right time and place as customers are in your store.

Make sure you give your application users the opportunity to opt-in or out of your program and vary the amount of participation they are interested in being involved with. Customers are often interested in improving their shopping and app experiences and will allow you to track certain activities if the data is protected and used to deliver more relevant content. Tell your users what data you will collect and how you will collect it. Don’t forget to tell them the benefits of allowing you to this info, like being able to personalize content. People always respond more favorably to requests if you tell them why you are doing something.

Before you can do anything you will need to begin by collecting data. Start with a plan. What data do you want to collect? Do you know how or if you can? Talk to your iPhone application developer or Android application developer about what type of data you can collect and how best to plan ahead for a program that is data driven. Companies that commit to understanding their customer can learn how to improve processes from the user’s perspective.

Once you start collecting data you can provide timely and relevant communications and offers. You will be able to customize your marketing to each customer’s needs as revealed by their movements and your data collection. Use this data to provide an enhanced, enjoyable shopping experience tailored especially for them – let the customer’s data help create the customer experience you provide.

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How to Improve the Stickiness of Your Mobile Application

It is not enough to merely have a mobile app for your business. Just as with your web site and other aspects of your business, you want your mobile applications to get results.

One of the key metrics of success with mobile applications is “stickiness” and according to a recent study by Localytics, stickiness is improving for apps across the board due to improvements in engagement.

App stickiness is the average of the percent of frequent users and the percent of users who return within three months after using the app.  According to Raj Aggarwal, CEO of Localytics, “app engagement is at an all-time high and is likely to only continue increasing.”

But how do you increase stickiness for your application?

Place a Premium on User Experience

Place a Premium on User Experience

Place a Premium on User Experience | Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns (Flickr)

Key to mobile application stickiness is its user experience. Since mobile devices are smaller, applications have less screen to work with and space is at a premium. When you combine smaller screens with the fact that app users usually download applications on impulse, user interfaces become even more important.

Make sure you don’t rush the design phase of your project and don’t be afraid to contact a mobile user interface specialist that can help you get the results you want. Minimalistic UI design works well in the mobile environment and is what end users expect in 2015. Resist the urges to add irrelevant 3D images with textures, shadows and beveled edges, rather, follow what works and suggest a minimal UI design to your mobile application developer.

Today’s mobile users want apps that are easy to use and not packed with clutter on the screens. Beyond being easier to use, minimal design makes content easier for users to read and retain.

But simple, intuitive design on its own is not a guarantee for success.

Have a Strategy to Engage Your Users

One of the best ways to do that is to give them a little reminder that your application is there once in a while. Push notifications are a perfect way to do this and if you pay attention you will see that successful apps focus on engagement strategies utilizing tools such as personalized push messaging.

It’s no surprise why so many successful apps use this tool. On mobile applications where users enable push notifications there are an average of 88% more launches than by the users who disable push notifications (Localytics). Additionally, a very solid 62% of users who enable push notifications return to the app the month after installation if messaged (compared with 32% for users who have disabled notifications).

When it comes to push notifications, you want to take the time to craft your messages so your users will find them valuable. How often you send them out will depend on your audience and applications purpose, but be careful not to send them out too often or for no good reason or you will find your users will uninstall your app.

Create Engaging Content

While users are within your application, engaging content is an important aspect of not only developing a following but creating more regular usage of your app.  Engaging content can draw your users in.

When developing a content strategy for your application, remember that the goal is to match the right message to your visitor’s intent while simultaneously meeting your business goals. From there it is important to consider the smaller format of mobile devices and usage patterns of your customers.

People like to digest mobile content in nice easy, bite-size pieces. Research has shown that people tend to be task oriented on their mobile phones. Keep this in mind as you format your content. Make it easy on your visitor’s by using big fonts that are easy to read. You will also want to give your audience the most important pieces of information first and use bullet points and sub-headers so they can scan your content.

Finally don’t be afraid to use plain language. Most businesses are shifting to a conversational tone for their mobile communications. A conversational tone is simply writing like you speak. Keep your sentences short and work in those action verbs and you will find audiences more likely to engage.

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It’s Time for a Mobile First Approach

Every year we see stories about how mobile marketing is the next big thing. It’s time for businesses to realize that mobile is here and that it should be the first part of your advertising program that you look at rather than being an afterthought.

A strategy to leverage the power of mobile applications is critical

A strategy to leverage the power of mobile applications is critical | Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns (Flickr)

If you need convincing just take a look at the people around you and watch how often they look at their mobile phone – or these days, watch and see if they stop looking at their smart phones.  Smart phones and tablets are a way of life now, as users spend much of their time on mobile applications and the mobile web.

According to eMarketer the average American spends more time on digital media than any other format. That same study points out that an astounding 5+ hours per day is spent by Americans on digital devices with the majority of that time spent on mobile devices. Of the time spent on mobile devices, the bulk of that is spent on mobile applications (80% according to Flurry).

Clearly developing a strategy for how to leverage the power of mobile applications is critical to most businesses and there are many fine iPhone application developers and Android application developers that can help you do that.

But how do you take a mobile first approach and succeed?

You must start with a mobile strategy.

Crucial to that strategy is a plan for a great UX (user experience). If you don’t understand why user experience is important to your mobile application strategy then your application will be headed nowhere.

Don’t inflate your application down with unnecessary features. You should understand the goals of your software and eliminate unneeded features that just get in the way of a good UX. Unnecessary features only serve to  confuse users and you will end up with an app that is quickly deleted by users.

One thing that is common to all of the highly popular apps is that they all offer great UX. These popular apps do more than just accomplish their goal, they allow users to do it in a way that is intuitive and doesn’t require guessing. UX is about creating a highly functional layout where each item is placed exactly where it should be in a way that allows the user to naturally flow through the app.

Once you have developed a strategy you must be able to translate it into an interface with which users interact with your application.

When it comes to user interface design, make sure you understand the industry trends.

You can’t design a great app if you don’t know what is going on in the industry. Pay attention to the trends you see and what users are looking for in applications. Users get used to doing things in a certain way and you should take advantage their muscle memory in your mobile application rather than trying to fight it.

Design is of paramount importance with mobile user interfaces (UI) and a focus should be on letting a user easily find immediate solutions on a smaller screen.

If you adopt an approach where you create your applications specifically for the mobile environment that utilize the strengths of the environment, rather than trying to shoe horn in your web site or print materials, your mobile applications can help you see the results so many others are enjoying from this medium.

Photo: http://bit.ly/1DSWEnK