Tom Butta, director of strategy and marketing at Airship, explains how the company’s MAX platform helps brands deliver better experiences through their apps.
The behaviors of consumer applications are changing. Mobile apps are quickly becoming customers’ preferred destination for a seamless and functional exchange of value with brands. The best mobile app experiences are now essential to a successful customer experience. Brands need to adapt.
Building brand loyalty and generating revenue in a mobile world takes more than great products and great service. It also requires great mobile app experiences – MAX, for short.
Still, some brands treat their mobile apps as just another promotional channel. Yes, they attract customers to their app, but they don’t retain them. The truth is, it’s hard to keep customers. This requires native app experiences tailored to the individual. This is the essence of MAX. Look at my recent interview with Mobile Marketing Magazine for a quick overview of MAX and its benefits for brands.
It wasn’t that long ago that MAX didn’t even exist. Of course, many companies have had mobile versions of websites for a long time, and there have been many iterations of mobile apps. But of all these, only a few focused on seamless customer experiences.
Today the world is different. It’s mobile. And anyone involved in customer performance in any way now understands that mobile apps are the key to unlocking the digital customer experience.
Why? Because loyal app customers generate 3.5x more revenue than other shoppers and are 3x more likely to make a repeat purchase.
Other facts are equally compelling, but the real MAX’s value mostly shines on the front lines of business. Just take a look at these recent tax returns from some of the clients we work with:
- “Incredibly, our full-year digital sales of $3.4 billion is almost 3.5 times what we did pre-COVID in 2019. Digital has proven to be sticky because it’s a seamless experience. friction and practice that has been aided by continued investment.”
Brian Niccol, President and CEO, Chipotle
- “It was incredibly exciting to see our mobile app become such a powerful shopping portal for our customers…App-based customers are the most engaged digital shoppers, spending 2.5x more per year than our customers web and transacting with us 3x more throughout the year.They are also more likely to be multi-channel and multi-brand shoppers.
Michael Rempell, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, AEO Inc.
- “Our focus and commitment to our mobile apps and user experience continues to support changes in consumer consumption patterns. Very.co.uk’s mobile sales remained an important channel, remaining at 82% of the brand.
Ben Fletcher, Group Chief Financial Officer, The Very Group
The ability to generate these kinds of business results comes with the burden of accountability. And when it’s your job to retain customers and generate revenue, the question isn’t whether to invest more in your mobile app, the question is how.
For many companies, there is no responsible person to answer this question. Responsibility is often shared by various teams in brand marketing, mobile and CX products, e-commerce and digital marketing, IT and development.
Who is actually responsible also varies by industry. In some cases, it’s the marketing manager. In others, it’s the Chief Experience Officer, Chief Digital Officer, or Chief Revenue Officer.
And in some cases, the burden of responsibility falls directly to the top, with the CEO very much poised to lead the company’s mobile agenda.
- data.ai, formerly App Annie, found that consumers spent a third of their waking hours on mobile in 2021, up 30% from 2019. They were also spending 30% more on in-app subscriptions of a year to year.
- Data from the Airship platform on thousands of brands and tens of thousands of apps shows active mobile users grew 31% in 2020, nearly double the growth of 2019.
- According to a recent Airship survey, two-thirds of consumers will use in-store retailer apps to merge digital and physical experiences. In most countries and across most generations, the likelihood of using a retailer’s app while shopping in-store is only a few percentage points lower than visiting the retailer’s website, despite the need to download the app first.
- 81% of millennials have used retail apps in roughly the same way since the pandemic began, followed by 77% of Gen X, 74% of Gen Z and 66% of baby boomers.
When good enough is not good enough
According to leading technology analyst Benedict Evans, “there is digital and there is digital good.” Simply put, a bad app experience equals a bad in-store experience, which can cause problems for brands that neglect MAX.
Consumers today know what best-in-class experiences look like. That’s why brands need to beat the benchmarks set by industry competitors, as well as mobile leaders like Amazon and The Home Depot.
“Data from Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CX Index) shows that companies that deliver superior CX grow revenue five times faster on average than their competitors with lower CX. …companies with higher CX have customers who are willing to pay a higher price for products and services. (Source: Forrester Research, Inc., Transform Customer Processes and Systems to Improve Experiences, February 22, 2021).
Loyalty and monetization is not just about getting consumers to open an app. They are about what people do afterwards. This is the secret to mastering mobile app experiences. Good enough is not good enough.
MAX and the evolving mobile consumer
Brands find themselves in a rapidly changing landscape that prioritizes privacy, choice and customer experience.
Along with the growing preference for all things mobile, consumers and brands are relying on apps more than ever. Customers want more control over their interactions with brands: they’re already winning on this front thanks to pure competition for the best app experiences and the growing focus on digital wellbeing and user privacy controls. . More generally, customers want the value, convenience and speed that apps uniquely deliver, while brands need to receive reciprocal value in the form of customer insights.
What will we see in 2022?
- Will consumers continue to favor the mobile app over other channels?
- Will brands evolve customer experiences to meet new demands?
- What will be the long-term impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and app design?
- How will consumers and brands negotiate exchanges that create more value for all?
- How will brands react to fundamental platform changes?
These are big questions, which we tackle in our new eBook, 9 Experience Trends in 2022 for the Mobile Consumer.
There is a complementary relationship between customer orientation to an app and continued engagement with the app. Personalized experiences should reflect what you’re trying to accomplish and what customers have told you about themselves.
With continued pressure from customers to remember their last best experience, a MAX platform requires a commitment to continuous innovation. Such innovation has been difficult or impossible for brands, given their continued reliance on development resources and application update cycles.
This kind of specialization deserves its own seat in the C suite, not just something nailed to another role, function, or platform. A big seat at the big table recognizes the extraordinary revenue associated with the mobile app experience.
Our new Airship Application Experience Platform (AXP) is revolutionizing the way brands master mobile app experiences – and is the only enterprise SaaS platform entirely dedicated to it. The key to AXP’s success? Empower non-technical users with a comprehensive set of tools to control their brand’s app experiences, which includes continuously analyzing and improving those experiences based on customer behavior.
Some of the world’s most successful companies – including the biggest coffee shop chain, the biggest shoe company and one of the biggest airlines – have built their apps businesses around Airship AXP. You can also.
Download our ebook MAX (Mobile App Experience)
Find out how Airship App Experience Platform (AXP) can help you