5 Tips to Create a Mobile Product Customers Will Love

Mobile industry is growing fast and a major shift occurred at the end of 2015 when more than 50% of all online traffic came from mobile devices on the French market. In 2016, mobile first isn’t a buzzword anymore, but a switch of marketing strategy in big companies where mobile is part of their digital transformation. Indeed, the media investment budget is still far lower than the usage on the French market where mobile only represents 26% of digital media investment regarding the SRI e-pub 2016 study (+52% YoY). Working on a mobile product isn’t easy as market is moving fast, screens are fragmenting, and customers are pressed and over-informed…

Ok let’s face these problems and focus on marketing and product basics. In order to build the right product and build it right, I propose to share with you 5 tips about how to create mobile products your customers will love.


#Tip 1: Stop the debate Mobile Site vs Application

First of all, you need to remember that there is no debate between mobile site & mobile application: you need a mobile strategy. Here we are, in order to begin a pragmatic mobile marketing strategy you need to list and answer the non exhaustive following questions:

  • Do you have clear objectives on mobile?
  • Do you know your target audience well?
  • How are competitors answering to customers needs?
  • Do you have enough data and the tools to analyze them properly?
  • Do you have enough budgets to transform your company within the mobile industry?

Answering these preliminary interrogations will help you avoid disaster, I mean putting to much effort on an application if your audience is on mobile web for example will save you time and money. If we can easily consider mobile site and mobile application as two distinct products in a product owner perspective, they need to both have a clear strategy, specific user stories, and their own roadmap following the global mobile plan. This is because they are both meeting customers in their micro-moments during the customer journey.

If your business is mobile ready, just keep in mind that currently mobile apps transform best (+120% vs mobile site regarding Criteo’s Q4 2015 study) andmobile site reaches a higher audience, as it’s hard to emerge on the App Stores without ASO strategy and most of the traffic is on the web. You need to consider both products in your mobile marketing strategy. In a digital customer journey, I would shortly resume that a mobile site will catch prospects or casual customers and a mobile application will catch more loyal customers. So you need to carefully study both platforms in your mobile marketing strategy.

#Tip 2: Define your Mobile Product Vision

The first step a product manager / product owner must always consider is the product vision. To resume this concept in one sentence: product vision is the operational response to a company business strategy. This is not a philosophical mind but a real and concrete necessity in order to know where you want to lead your team, your business and of course your product.

A product vision can’t be defined after a few days of workshops, it needs reflexion, studies, and can take more than a month in order to be correctly structured. Theproduct vision isn’t written in stone, it can evolve during the product lifecycle and a few companies made this spin after years on a market to propose a better positioning. Don’t adapt your product vision to the market evolution could create a failure. To test if you have a clear idea of your mobile product vision, try answering the preliminary following questions:

  • Which consumer problems are you trying to resolve?
  • Do you know the audience facing these problems?
  • Which solution do you concretely offer as a response to these problems?
  • Do you have a business model?

A good way to start or make a point is to use the lean canvas model from Ash Maurya, which fits perfectly for that kind of technological product. The lean canvas model is setup in two parts: left part focuses on the product, right part on the market and the main objective is to help you validating your business model. But it can also be used as an excellent communication medium. See below how the lean canvas model looks like.


#Tip 3: Initiate a Design Thinking approach

What does it mean to be too user-centric if you don’t take in account user’s behavior and needs when designing new features on your mobile product? A good way to avoid creating products the customers don’t need is to implicate them earlier in the conception process.

The design thinking approach isn’t based on designing stuff, it is an iterative way of conception based on focusing customer’s problems and integrating real customers in the testing phase in order to get feedbacks.

You can find below a schema representing the enhancement of the 5 steps of a design thinking approach that could help building a mobile site or mobile application people would love.

#Tip 4: Listen to your Customer’s Feedbacks

Users have a voice, and they don’t hesitate to communicate on various platforms (social network, blogs, forums, app stores…). Hold this opportunity as it can be a nice source of contribution (ideas, features, bugs detection…) that means they need to be treated with respect and be listened to. I won’t recommend following and directly applying all customers’ feedbacks, otherwise you won’t work on your mobile roadmap (which usually follows a digital & company roadmap).

A good practice is to categorize customer request, open user stories on major improvement and prioritize them on a major release if possible. This could be well appreciated by the community so don’t hesitate to proudly communicate on this kind of release. But keep in mind that your users must not impose your product evolution. To show that your company is open to discussion, you can engage the conversation with a suggestion & rating feature on your app for example. But don’t make appear it too often and let the possibility to definitively hide the popup.

On mobile devices, chat application are top 10 of the most used apps, so if you can’t resolve a user problem with a specific feature, integrating a contextualized chat can be an additional source of revenue if you are a e-commerce company or a useful tool if the objective is to add customer services. If your community is active on App Stores, in 2016 you should definitively find a way to answer them.

#Tip 5: Work on Quality Improvement and Testing

Over the years I’ve met many companies where mobile testing was understood, but under-invested. I truly believe that “testing & quality improvement” topics are high level of priority in a mobile roadmap as an unfriendly experience for a customer (bug and other frustrating situations) will commonly lead to an end of relationship with the brand on this dedicated mobile channel at minima. Worse, this user you spent a lot of money to attract after massive acquisition campaign could uninstall your app unscrupulously.

How can you fix this? I’m sure the testing topic is highly strategic in your company, so here a few ways I recommend in order to improve mobile site & app quality:

  1. Allow a workflow of quality improvement in your roadmap
  2. Reduce your mobile technical debt to helps maintenance, fiability and evolutivity of your mobile product
  3. Avoid “ error message “ scenario and try to implement tricky solution to improve UX
  4. Use a community of testers to validate your mobile product works perfectly on multiple resolutions, devices & OS versions.
  5. Staff your team with one ore more testers

I use testcloud.io to help me testing mobile app on various devices combo and I’m quite satisfied today with their platform as the community of testers is extremely reactive and they give us great scenario and step to reproduce in order to fix bugs.

Conclusion

I really hope these 5 quick tips will help you to build a profitable and customer oriented mobile product that fits to your company marketing strategy. I would conclude and say in an optimist perspective that there is no losing situation for your product, keep in mind that a success or failure is a win/win situation where learning from today’s mistakes will help you create better products in the future.

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