If you build it they will come (if you build it properly)

Apps for acquisition?

We believe you can use personalization and connected tech at every stage of the customer lifecycle; if we didn’t, we wouldn’t have an intelligent personalization platform. But can you really use personalized marketing — mobile or otherwise — to attract new customers? It seems like apps might be an easier strategy for keeping the customers you already have rather than acquiring new ones: after all, they’ve bought from you, they’ve installed your app and logged in to your WiFi, and you’ve already accumulated a bunch of data on them so you know what makes them tick.

But how do you get to the unknowns? The newbies? The people you’ve never seen before and would quite like to see again? Is it a case of thinking outside the app to turn potentials into actual repeat customers?

Create positive experiences, everywhere

If your store associates are openly hostile, your booking page hasn’t been updated since FrontPage was a thing and your app is just a shortcut to your website you’re immediately throwing up barriers. It’s not about being cutting edge; it’s about providing a good, base-level customer experience. Customers can find what they’re looking for, don’t have to hunt for prices, receive help if they need it and come away satisfied and more willing to give you more of their personal details. If first-impression customer experiences had performance reviews, this one would ‘meet expectations’.

Don’t annoy people

We have all these neat new technologies that let us push out messages in response to every tiny customer action, but so does everyone else, and that makes it hard to break through the noise. Don’t just push messages to people; pull them in with utility. Maps, weather updates, UV levels, event pre-sale information, tricks for stain removal, cocktail recipes, calorie calculators, hotel room hacks… whatever vertical you’re in, be useful. The more useful you are — ideally creatively useful — the more likely current users will share their experiences with their networks and the more likely potential new customers are to seek you out.

Be REALLY useful

If you want people to download your app and come back to it more than once, you need to make sure you provide them value from day one. If you want me to use your app you can’t just send me the same generic vouchers everyone else receives. If I don’t own a dog and you send me dog food offers, you’re not being REALLY useful. If you direct me to your store outside of your opening hours, or send me an offer for a store three towns over, I’m not coming back and your app won’t last on my phone. To have any traction, and any hope of resulting in a lasting relationship, experiences have to be personalized to customers.

If you’re mobile, optimize

You really need to pare your content down on mobile. It’s not just a data issue (although that’s usually going to factor into the equation), but people are more likely to be on the move and in a hurry when they’re on a mobile device. If they’re in your app they’re there for a reason, and no amount of pretty branding is going to make them less frustrated if they can’t get at the info they need. If I’m out and looking for somewhere to have lunch, I don’t need to see your entire brochure site. I need to see where you are, what you serve, when you’re open and any special offers you might want to throw my way to win my custom. You can impress me with your back catalog once I’m in and drinking the proverbial.

Collect data & get personal

You’re probably already using cookies online, and once they’ve closed the initial permission popup most of your users are probably accepting them without a second thought. You need to do the same with your apps. We already know that personalized offers are way more likely to succeed than generic ones, and it’s really hard to personalize without tracking in-app activity, offer redemption and beacon proximity — let alone act on local factors like weather and traffic. That’s why we built Plexure to collect and analyze data from as many sources as possible; it makes predicting behavior and customizing content to individuals so much easier.

Be omni for acquisition

Having said that, mobile is not a separate and distinct shopping channel. Thinking of physical, web stores and mobile apps as different ‘shops’ is no way to create a cohesive experience. People don’t ‘shop on mobile’, they just buy stuff from you — and they expect it to be a seamless experience regardless of medium. If I tell you something in store, I don’t expect to have to tell you the same thing online. If you’re tracking my purchases — through a store card or an app or a website — I expect all of that information to be used to enhance my experiences — in your store, and through your app, and on your website.