It’s no mystery that mobile apps are spreading at an exponential rate. In 2013, USA Today reported that 300 apps are created every single day, and U.S. mobile commerce revenue is at an all-time high. While you may think that the key to increased downloads lies in a nice design and an array of functionality, recent data suggests that e-commerce and business apps need to go beyond that, focusing more on effective introductions to the mobile community.
1. Your app scores low on the shareability scale.
There are many effective mobile marketing strategies, but word-of-mouth is the best and cheapest way for your app to gain traction. Data suggests that over half of all consumers discovered an app through friends and family while only 27% found an app through a search engine (and even less through a company’s website). Keep in mind, “friends and family” includes social media shares, retweeting, etc., so it’s essential for app-makers and app-marketers to check off the following boxes while building:
- A niche market
- Easy sharing capabilities
- Social media integration
- Share-worthy content
Increased exposure means increased downloads, but people won’t share an app that proves tiresome or irrelevant to their needs. Consumers share what’s interesting, visually pleasing, easy-to-use and engaging. Don’t make content second fiddle to capabilities; identify what your users are drawn in by and make it a pivotal part of your app’s execution.
2. You’re not nailing it with the notifications.
There’s a common misconception that consumer, mobile gaming and social media apps are one in the same when it comes to execution. This couldn’t be more false. Though there are some similarities in design and conception, the reasons people click the Install button vary widely. Consumer app users typically download for one of 4 reasons:
- To stay up-to-speed on a product through notifications (65%)
- To save time (31%)
- To use app-exclusive discounts and coupons (24%)
- To purchase app-exclusive products (21%)
Note that the majority of users who download an app want to stay clued in on product and company updates. Push notifications are a highly effective way to reach your customer base, and an extremely simple, brief, and non-invasive way for your users to digest info that’s most relevant to them.
3. You’ve made one (or a few) big development mistakes.
Uninstalls are a big issue for consumer apps. An e-commerce company may follow popular design and functionality tips to a tee, keep the notifications flowing, and pack their app full of all the right info yet still see their installation numbers dwindle. More often than not, uninstalls results from several highly avoidable pitfalls:
- A lack of long-term value
- A complex registration process
- Poor UI/UX
- Irrelevant or fluffed-up info
- Long launch times
Of course, if your app hangs or (worse) crashes, you should expect a sharp user drop-off—these two issues account for 71% of all app uninstalls. Quality and user experience are key, so focus on repeated quality assurance checks before and after rollout.
Tips for launching a successful consumer app
Lucrative e-commerce apps go beyond the programming basics to create a personalized user experience. Here are some simple ways to achieve that kind of experience for your user base:
- Create a mobile-only loyalty program that leads to repeat usage and in-app purchasing.
- Make your mobile deals attractive and your redemption process simple.
- Add badges, points and other game-like qualities that encourage regular engagement.
- Personalize the user experience with avatars, targeted info and personalized alerts.
- Offer in-app customer service with an FAQ page and quick contact tools.
- Think beyond the sale. Users want helpful, fun, engaging info — not just endless offers.
As with any marketing tool, you’ll need to dedicate research and funding to perfecting your mobile app. Study your target demographic, conduct social media surveys and simply ask your existing customers what they want from a mobile tool. With a little TLC, you can turn your app into the profit-generator of your dreams.
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