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Apps should be transformative

News, 09 May 2016

NEW YORK: Brands seeking to engage consumers via apps should avoid making the mistake of simply repositioning their website but instead should aim to create a transformational experience, a leading executive from Google has said.

Jonathan Pelosi, Google's head of industry and mobile apps, was speaking at the Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2016, which was organised by Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily.

He told delegates that successful apps are often the result of developers thinking carefully about the end goals and how they can transform a customer's experience.

"Don't just have an app for the sake of it. If it is not doing something uniquely cool, go back to the drawing board," he said. "Aim for transformation," he added, while conceding that can be "easier said than done".

However, some brands have succeeded in developing transformational apps and Pelosi pointed to OpenTable, which on top of enabling users to book a restaurant meal also makes it easy for them to pay without having their meal interrupted.

He also highlighted how coffee chain Starbucks has helped its customers to pay for their drinks via an app, while the MyFord app allows car owners to remotely start their vehicle.

In addition, Nest is an app that allows home-owners to watch remotely what is happening inside their own home. For example, users can change the temperature or receive smoke and carbon monoxide alerts.

Pelosi went on to advise brand marketers that a key test of an app's performance is to check how often it is used. If it is not used regularly, then it may be advisable to scrap it and start again.

He also recommended that marketers read every review of their apps to learn why some users have stopped using them and that they make sure apps are fast and frictionless.

Apps should also have an in-store function to deliver added value, such as payment options which are an especially effective way of driving app conversions. This matters, Pelosi said, because 85% of app revenue comes from just 17% of users.

"When we look at apps, don't look at them in isolation. Don't look at the stuff in silos," he said, adding that brands should always be asking how an app improves customers' experiences across the board.

Data sourced from Mobile Marketer; additional content by Warc staff