The Mobile App: Is it a Critical Part of Your Omnichannel Strategy?

Chances are that most people turn to a mobile app on their smartphone every morning while starting their day, even before enjoying that first cup of coffee. Whether they are checking the weather, logging in their fitness routine, or adding the cost of their Starbucks latte to their weekly budget, it is clear that ‘mobile moments’ spent on apps have become an integral part of our daily routine.

A study released by Deloitte found that Americans collectively check their smartphones upwards of 8 billion times per day. Mobile usage over the past decade has skyrocketed, and is likely to continue rising, as mobile technology continues to advance in functionality and sophistication, and the value that this can provide to users.

Before the iPhone was introduced to the world, most people turned to their personal computers for digital interactions and browsing the Internet. Thanks to the progress that smartphones and apps have enabled, consumers now go straight to their cellular device to carry out tasks, both mundane, creative and advanced.

According to a Gartner report, global sales of smartphones to end users totaled 349 million units in the first quarter of 2016, indicating a 3.9% increase over the same period in 2015.

The report highlights that smartphone sales represented 78% of mobile phone sales in the first quarter of 2016, with predictions that smartphone sales will continue to increase in the coming years.

The increasing use of mobile has forced marketers to develop highly innovative mobile marketing strategies, or be left behind. Mobile has forever changed what consumers expect of brands, and it is a critical component in the customer journey.

Marketers across industries must leverage mobile apps to connect with their customers on their most personal and trusted device. A mobile app marketing strategy can complement a brand’s offline experience, drive e-commerce, or simply help connect a brand with its loyal customers.

However, mobile marketing tactics should be integrated with the brand’s overall omnichannel marketing strategy, as that will allow customers to move seamlessly from the online website to their mobile app without skipping a beat, thereby ensuring a frictionless and engaging customer experience. Below are three tips for marketers to integrate the mobile app with their brand’s holistic omnichannel strategy and deliver a more personalized and engaging consumer experience.

Personalizing The Mobile App Experience

Many people turn to mobile apps to ease their daily routine, and they’re more likely to use those apps if they are tailored specifically to their needs. Marketers must prioritize this when building content for their mobile app, by ensuring that they provide highly personalized and engaging content that delivers the right message, at the right time and to the right consumer. Research from Google suggests that people will return to an app frequently when it simplifies their lives. For instance, Walgreens’ mobile app sends sales items and coupons to the consumer while they are shopping in the store, making the customer purchase journey helpful and efficient.

With specific product recommendations, in-app messaging, and links, marketers can significantly increase the level of personalization offered to the customer. Marketers can also automatically trigger personalized responses as the app is being used, boosting conversion rates and increasing overall customer engagement. And it doesn’t have to stop there. It is highly recommended that marketers integrate this personalized mobile experience with other channels. A brand truly excels in generating a personalized omnichannel experience if a customer is able to look at a product on the website, then move to the brand’s mobile app, and then receive recommendations on the mobile app based on the product they viewed on the website.

 Tracking Mobile Behavior

There are always ways to improve engagement with consumers on on a more personalized level. Today, the majority of the population in the United States uses three or more connected devices. In this day and age, people often complete tasks by going from one screen to another to increase productivity. This includes online shopping. Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® highlights that retail behaviors among consumers are most fragmented across devices, where consumers will switch back and forth from tablet to smartphone.

Marketers can get to truly understand and engage with their audiences by capturing valuable data directly from their customers’ mobile device. Tracking the way consumers interact and behave while using a brand’s mobile app provides marketers with insight into the customers’ behavious on their hand held devices.

Tracking mobile app behavior not only provides unparalleled insight and knowledge about specific target groups, but also allows marketers to measure the performance of their customer engagement strategy and the impact it has on their business. Tracking the various app events, from installs to key interactions, is critical to provide detailed reporting, segmentation and campaign triggering across channels. For example, tracking a mobile app install can be the trigger event for a new SMS targeted message or a highly targeted social media ad. The data gathered from these behaviors contributes directly to omnichannel decision-making which improves the customer experience, as well as the marketing effectiveness and ROI.

Leveraging Data – From Every Channel

While marketers should make decisions on mobile app marketing based on the data received by understanding the consumer’s mobile behavior, they must keep in mind that it doesn’t stop there.  Once a marketer has analyzed their customers’ mobile app behavior, as a second step, they must apply the actionable insight gleaned from each of their channels to make the best strategic marketing decisions. By combining data from the mobile app and other proliferating channels, the need to optimize and refine certain strategies becomes clearer.

Using data capture and analytic technologies, marketers can leverage omnichannel marketing to take control of the customer journey. This fundamental approach provides the customer with an integrated shopping experience, while enjoying all the benefits a brand has to offer, such as promotions on quality products or services.

Marketers must keep consumers engaged with their brand across proliferating channels, or they will lose them to rivals that are better at managing engagement. Today, billions of consumers are changing their shopping behaviors faster than most brands can adapt. In this day and age, understanding how digital channels are transforming and growing, while simultaneously consumer expectations are also increasing, and acting on this knowledge can be an important differentiator. Leveraging data from all channels combined with your brand’s mobile app will help marketers execute personalized, tailored content and offers that appeal specifically to their customers.

Tomorrow’s customer will shop online; from a desktop or mobile device and the experience would be seamless and frictionless. Today’s marketers need solutions that allow them to deliver exceptional experiences regardless of channel. A smart integration of mobile app marketing strategies into an omnichannel experience will empower progressive marketers to deliver critical increases in traffic, leads, engagement, and revenue. From the consumer’s desktop to their favorite hand-held device, a company’s customer gets to experience all the benefits a brand has to offer once their mobile app is integrated with their omnichannel strategy.

 David Galante is Vice President of Mobile Products for Emarsys

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