The world of applications or shall we say apps is hugely popular. The past few years the amount of apps and the adaptation of apps in general has grown drastically. What does this mean for us marketeers? Are apps the new marketing toy and do they play a new and essential role in the marketing mix? To figure this out, the University of Utrecht commissioned by GX Software investigated the role of apps in the customer journey.
The urge to get an application developed and into the market is an often heard objective. Companies, brands and other organizations are constantly on the lookout to engage the customer with new app ideas and interesting in-app developments. So apps are popular, but what’s in it for us? Do consumers really use apps during or after their buying process? Do apps pay off and do they still affect our audience?
The Utrecht University performed a half year study under 15,000 smartphone and tablet users. The result: 95 percent of all consumers are using apps during or after their purchase. This creates opportunities to influence the consumer, but the question is how!
Influencing the behavior of app users is only useful if you know what the goal is: so where do you convince them? Like on the web we use the principle of the customer journey: the steps that a potential customer goes through to make a purchase or to achieve ultimate brand loyalty. The study found out that apps definitely give some sort of direction to this specific customer journey.
Firstly, the results showed that apps play a particularly prominent role around the purchase, support and loyalty phase, within an existing customer base. But more importantly, consumers have different demands of communication within apps for each phase of their entire customer journey.
• 79 percent of the questioned consumers share their location via branded apps;
• 46 percent said they are willing to share their email address via an app, already in the awareness phase of their buying process;
• 51 percent would like to receive discount information when they walk into a store;
• Throughout the journey, about half of the consumers dislike the use of push notifications;
• In the intention phase 58 percent would like to create a wish list of products via the app;
• Even after the purchase, in the loyalty phase, many consumers (49 percent) are open to in-app coupons.
There are tons of opportunities to connect apps to consumers and to provide them with a simple and effective shopping process. As long as we know the phase of the customer journey and where the user is located in the app, we can all do smart things with apps.
So apps are more than toys? Yes! Apps are indeed an essential channel in the marketing mix. The reach that brands have, will move increasingly to mobile channels. To win on mobile you have to do what users are accustomed to when they use their digital companion: adapt your message to the situation or context of the user, the phase of the buying process and investigate where the consumer is located in its buying process.