I was at the supermarket the other day with a basket full of potential deliciousness for dinner when it occurred to me that I should also book the movie tickets for tonight’s show. I did this in the pasta aisle. Then I got to the produce section and for the life of me, I couldn’t remember one of the ingredients in tonight’s recipe, so I jumped into my 4IWellness app (blatant client promotion) and double checked. I then stood in the queue to pay and thought I might have time for a run before dinner and the movie, but it looked like rain. I then checked the weather app. All of this was done on one shopping visit and none of it would have been possible without mobile apps.
In business today, it is critical that a company has a mobile app. It can offer some unique benefits in customer service, risk mitigation and sales due to the immediacy of the device. Some businesses make the mistake of investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in recreating another version of their website. In doing so, they may be missing an opportunity to deliver unprecedented customer service and additional income.
Critical Success Factors for Mobile Apps that will deliver you a return on your investment.
As with all things in business, delivering exceptional value to the customer through the mobile app is paramount. An app should be all about solving a customer’s problem and in manner that delivers over and above expectation, simply and quickly. Mobile devices have two main benefits immediacy and geo targeting. These two things when combined to solve a problem or make life easer for your customer, will deliver excellent results.
Security and Privacy
With the attacks on various IoT devices, security is becoming an increasing concern. It’s an app creator’s responsibility to ensure adequate security and privacy measures are in place. It also protects your investment. Communicate that you have security measures in place via marketing channels to add value to the proposition and brand and to reassure clientele.
As the IoT develops and becomes more than just mobile screen devices, ensure that whatever is created has the capability to adapt with new and emerging communication devices, networks and hardware. Think about the interplay with wearables and at home devices and ensure you future-proof your technology so that it can easily adapt with the market and your customer.
There are certain public liability scenarios that need to be considered. Seek legal and insurance advice on how to best protect your app and your company from public liability issues and potential privacy breeches.
Mobile apps now and in the future are all about connection and relationship. They provide a unique opportunity for your business to deliver unprecedented levels of service and gather and utilise personal data that will help you understand your customers better than ever before. This means that you will be able to offer targeted offers and generate much stronger loyalty. Connection will also be about more conversational UIs and voice interfaces.
As design develops and VR and AR emerge the opportunities for businesses to serve the customer in new ways are just the beginning. For example a fashion mobile app that you can then see a virtual image of yourself in the outfit before you purchase. The opportunities are endless, but to compete in this market you must be creative. Creativity is not just about the look of the app itself, but functionality, the services offered and data collection and utilisation.
From a technical design perspective, UI and UX designers will need to work together like never before. Roles will become increasingly blurred. Simplicity of use and customer centricity will be fundamental to success.
Content and Immediate satisfaction
Mobile apps moving forward will be all about valuable content that helps solve a problem for the customer. It will also be about immediate satisfaction. Things like chatbots and messaging will deliver unprecedented levels of customer service as long as the content is rich in value and can solve an issue with immediacy. Simplicity in content delivery is vital.
Having a fabulous app is great, but like all things it will need to be marketed not just at launch, but on an ongoing basis to ensure initial uptake and regular use. This will mean utilising external marketing channels regularly. It also will require ensuring that the app is updated to stay relevant and that it is communicated to existing users via notifications and various tools within the app itself.
In today’s environment an opportunity exists to engage with customers on a new level via mobile apps. Approaching the design of an app from the perspective of being able to creatively add value to your target market’s day immediately, factoring in security, potential legal issues and flexibility for adaption and growth are all factors for success. As with all things, simplicity is key. Start with the problem and help the customer solve it with ease and intuitive navigation and success will be yours.