Earlier this week I wrote about 4 things to keep in mind when developing enterprise mobile apps. Today i would like to shift my attention to consumer facing apps. While enterprise apps are built for internal use within a company, consumer facing apps are built for anybody. Apps like Nike+, Starbucks Mobile, and the Dominos Pizza are perfect examples of branded mobile applications for customers. They are helpful, useful, and do a great job of expressing each brand. So you want to make an app that creates more engagement with your customers? Here are four things to keep in mind when you develop your consumer facing app.
1. Gauge The Opportunity
Remember when your mom would say “Would you jump off a bridge if your friends were doing it?”. Same rule applies here.
A company shouldn’t build an app just because they see that other companies are having success with their app. There needs to be a reason to build one. Research the best ways to engage your customer base with an app, whether that be a game, a useful tool for customers to use relating to your products or an e-commerce solution.
Besides the fact that you shouldn’t just “Follow the heard” there are a number of reasons why you should develop an app;
The Exponential Growth of Smartphone Users and M-Commerce
The Ability to Distribute Incentives
Your Target Demographic Is The Smartphone Demographic
Your Customers Are Asking For It!
2. The Platform
iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone7/8, Symbian, webOS, MeeGo (I would highly suggest not making an app for the last three, although webOS has a special place in my heart). These are your options. When deciding on what platform you should look to your user base to decide what type of devices they are using. At AndPlus, we had a customer come to us wanting an app and they said they only want Android and iPhone. After a little research we found that about 42 percent of the customers users were using Blackberry! If we were to create the app without researching the user base we would have shunned half of their users!
3. Marketing the app
Marketing your app is probably the most important step when developing a consumer facing mobile application. There are a many ways that you can go about marketing your app depending on your target market. Say you’re making an iPhone app, you can find an iPhone forum (I’d highly suggest iMore.com) and talk with some actual users. An even better option would be to ask some of the forum members to beta test your app so you can get feedback from actual users. Some other ideas for marketing your app are:
Make a video: Show how your app works. Make it short and sweet and have a little fun with it to. Really convey why your app is so awesome and why everyone should have it on their phone.
Social Media: Use social media to gain some hype around your app.
Plan your release date wisely: Don’t release your app the same day the new Angry Bird app comes out, it will just get lost in the chaos. If your app has a theme of some sort (christmas, summer time etc…) make sure you release it accordingly.
4. Test, Measure and Improve
Testing your app should happen before it is even released to make sure there aren’t any glitches or bugs. This ensures that your users arent going to complain about your app and give it bad reviews. Bad reviews usually equal a low user base.
You can now use a whole new set of analytics from Google that will track how users are using your app. They are designed to measure the entire mobile customer journey – from discovery to download to engagement. This enables the creation of app experiences that are more useful and engaging through data-driven decisions at each stage of the app lifecycle:
- Acquisition and user metrics such as downloads and new users
- Engagement metrics such as retention, crashes and conversions
- Outcome metrics such as app sales and in-app purchases
These are all important statistics in understanding how your app is creating user engagement. If you notice that these numbers are lower than your expectations maybe its time to re-work some parts of your app. Sometimes the best thing to do is listen to your users and see what they like, don’t like, or think you should add/remove from your app.
So that’s it! Remember these 4 items when creating your application and you’re app will be the talk of the town. But remember, when actually developing an app, contact a professional!
Did I forget anything? Let me know in the comment section below.