5 tips for a successful app launch that will increase your retail app downloads immediately

Mobile shopping is taking over e-commerce and it’s happening right in front of you. Getting your retail app live is one thing, getting downloads another. Let’s give you a few tips for a remarkable app launch that pushes your app installs right from the start.

1. Improve your ASO: SEO for apps

Our research proves that once customers are using a retail app they stay longer, return more often and buy more. However, one of the challenges with apps is to let your customers discover them.

First, it’s important to make sure that your app can be found in the app stores. For this, all major app stores use App Store Optimization (ASO) to rank your app. The higher your app is ranked, the better potential app customers discover and download your retail app.

  • Most important is your app title. Your app must be clear in few words. Use your brand name and keywords in the beginning of your title, this will support your ranking.
  • Use the 4.000 characters in your app description carefully. Your keywords need to be in there. It’s important to select keywords which are relevant to your audience. For inspiration, look which keywords your competitors are using.
  • Categorise your app clearly — your retail app must be in the shopping category. When you’re doing well, your app may appear in the category’s top list.
  • Publish appealing screenshots. Most app stores allow 5 to 8 images. Show your brand style, so the screenshots will be recognisable to your audience. When the Highstreet team publishes your app for the first time we will include screenshots. You can overwrite these anytime if you want in your app store account. This article gives you a few tips on creating powerful app store screenshots.

Your app rank is always fluctuating, so it’s good to keep on testing new keywords and updating your app description and screenshots for the best results. Two other important factors for a high position in the app stores are the total numbers of downloads and the ratings and reviews of your app.

Recently, Apple introduced a new way of reviewing apps. Now, users can rate and review without leaving the app. At Highstreet, we implemented this right away for our apps.

You can also encourage app customers to write a review by rewarding them:

Best practice: our client PME Legend was able to get a lot of positive reviews by emailing customers who bought through the app and ask them for a review in exchange for a discount coupon. They were not asked to write a positive review (which would be unethical) but just to give their opinion. They now have a lot of reviews and a 4.5-star rating.

2. Let your mobile web visitors know you have an app

To guide your potential customers smoothly from your mobile website to your mobile retail app, we highly recommend using a smartbanner. This banner will pop up in the mobile browser of your webshop and provides a direct download link to the app store.

On iOS, Apple offers their own smartbanner. This shows on top of the mobile site. However, we found that it helps to explain better what the benefits of your retail app are by using a personalised smartbanner. Our retail platform comes with our own designed banner which leaves space for a nice design and some USPs of the brand. See an example below.

Next, it’s important to set up universal app links. When this is done, the result will be that when customers encounter a webshop URL on for example Google, Twitter, or WhatsApp, the page opens directly in the app. This way, the transition from a link to your webshop to your app will be seamless.

You can test how this works with the apps of PME Legend, Flinders or Scotch & Soda:

  1. Download their apps.
  2. Search for one of their products on Google.
  3. Press that link. Voilà, the app should now open straight away.

The smartbanner has proven to be a very effective way to promote the app to mobile users. However, there is more you can do by placing call outs for your app on other places on your site. For example, booking.com and bol.com are already doing this by placing links to the app on category and product pages.

Customers who just made a purchase in your webshop, are already engaging with your brand. Assuming these customers will be most interested in your app, you should mention your app the moment they convert.

Promote your retail app with a banner on your order confirmation page or in your confirmation email which customers receive after purchasing. This banner promotes the benefits and extra features of your native app. In just one click, your webshop customer becomes an app customer. Again, Booking.com is doing this. See below.

Another great way to connect with your engaging customers is your packaging. Customers who bought a product online are waiting for their package to be delivered. Point them to your mobile app by putting a clear message on your delivery packages, mentioning the benefits of mobile shopping through your app. See for example the delivery package from our client Brandfield below.

3. Use your retail stores

Brands that have retail presence have a big opportunity to promote their app in-store. This has two benefits:

  • Customers get a convenient way to use the app to buy anything online that is sold out in store. In other words: you expand your store stock with your online stock and can sell more.
  • Customers leaving your retail store with the app installed will return later to buy more online. You are effectively extending the store visit into their homes.

Specific store features incentivize customers to actually download the app in-store. For example, a barcode scanner (a feature we released in Highstreet’s version 2.13) that allows them to easily scan a product and check information online can be very useful.

Another important way to get customers to download the app is if the brand’s loyalty program is integrated into the app. Effectively, the app becomes a loyalty card next to a mobile shopping experience. Your app customers will be pulled to your brick-and-mortar store and vice versa.

At Highstreet, we recently launched mobile loyalty for the LolaLiza app. Besides their loyalty card, customers can also view their vouchers and order history in their loyalty account. We are currently working on new loyalty features like personalised gifts, progress vouchers, and loyalty messaging.

In-store promotion can be done in several ways. First and foremost, the store staff needs to be informed and trained to promote the app. A great app helps a lot in this respect as the store will be more enthusiastic to push it to customers. Next, in-store signing is important: let your customers know that there is an app with great features that enhances their store visit. Like this sign below in the Esprit store.

4. Spread the love socially

When you’re launching your mobile retail app, of course you’ll promote it via social media. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter will be your first choices to announce your new app. A recent study found that 80% of consumers learn about shopping apps from Facebook.

Boost your Facebook posts and connect your app to your Facebook page by turning your “call to action” button into “use app” (next to the like button). Now, you can add your app store link to point Facebook visitors directly to your app. This works quite the same on Instagram. Here, you can also attach a “use app” button to your advertisements, as shown below.

Also, you can provide your new app users with extra information in tutorial videos on Youtube or Vimeo. Use Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat to show your beautiful photographic features like lookbooks or advertise on these social platforms with a direct download link.

5. Don’t underestimate the power of email

Besides social media, your email newsletter will have a huge impact on your app downloads. Take advantage of the fact that most people read their newsletters first on mobile. Use a banner in your newsletter to point your newsletter subscribers to your mobile retail app. Make it more appealing by giving subscribers a discount or offer them free shipping on their first app purchase, as you can see in the example below.

Last but not least, use your company email signature to promote your app. As you will probably be emailing a lot, why not use it to market your app? A promotional text with a download link in your signature is a very useful way to promote your new app to your contacts. For example: “Check out our new app on iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch”.

We’ll keep you updated

The list above is by no means complete. We’re pretty sure there are many more ways to promote your retail app. That’s why we will update this blog post every few months with new input.

Originally published at www.highstreetapp.com.

We empower brands to get in the pocket of their customers by putting mobile at the heart of the shopping experience.