Retail in Asia


Three tips for building an engaging app


With digital solutions, as with life, you only get one chance to make a first impression and for many brands, that pivotal introduction to a new customer will occur via an app. However, while all verticals should expect a certain amount of churn, around one fifth of users will abandon an app after a single interaction.

SEE ALSO: Alibaba tests social shopping app

Today, Asia Pacific is home to 60 percent of the global population. It is also inarguably the fastest growing digital economy and is poised to become the world’s biggest consumer market. Unsurprisingly, for mobile app development, it is also leading the growth in the global market.

According to a mobile market forecast, global revenue on Apple’s App store will continue to be led by China, the U.S. and Japan, whereas Google Play’s top earning countries in 2023 will be the U.S., South Korea and Japan. User spending in the U.S. ranked No. 2, which was behind Japan, in 2018, while South Korea ranked No. 3, meaning both countries’ significant growth compared to Japan over the next five years.

With such an infinite app market opportunity, the question for brands is – how do we build an impactful, purposeful app with longevity?

Building engagement through your app is imperative

Your customers’ initial experience with your app can have lasting impacts on your brand due to the halo effect. The psychological principle may be over a hundred years old, but it still retains merit in our modern world as a means of explaining how even a small bad encounter with an app can negatively shape a customer’s overall feelings about a brand.

Fortunately, there are ways your app can circumvent that fate. Here are three tips for building engagement during various stages of your customer’s journey.

1. Pre-download: Highlight value with a preview video

Increasingly, consumers want to experience a product as closely as possible before committing to an online purchase. Video has proven an effective way to drive conversion, swaying nearly 80 percent of people to download a digital solution over the past eight years.

App stores that utilize autoplay functionality can readily capture your audience’s attention, resulting in effortless engagement. Highlight your app’s main benefit and features in a manner that’s accessible and informative, as Audible has accomplished with their preview. Not every brand will have access to Audible’s budget,but it is worth investing in quality production, as your preview video ends up providing that foundational impression of your app.

2. Onboarding: Avoid frustration with streamlined registration

Reports revealed that app user retention rates increase by 50 percent after implementing a solid onboarding. In an ideal scenario, customers gain value from your app immediately after downloading. In reality, it’s not always that straightforward, particularly when collecting personal data is a necessity for users to realize the app’s utmost value, as is the case for many insurance brands.

When there’s no getting around having some degree of registration, keep your audience’s interactive costs in check and ensure the onboarding process is intuitive and hassle-free. RateHub has epitomized this technique with a minimalist approach to submitting quote requests. From the home page, users are clearly directed to the appropriate form and fields are enabled step by step, so users’ attention remains focused on what’s essential.

3. Retention: Build a community, not just an application

According to Bain and Co., a five percent increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75 percent. For mobile app retention rates in mobile-first regions like APAC, a study found that shopping apps retain the most users in proportion to how many users downloads, where gaming apps are top performers when it comes to installs and entertainment apps have long-term retention challenges.

Customer engagement often goes beyond interaction with the brand itself, to involve facilitating a sense of camaraderie between users. If that’s a focal point of your app, don’t delay in bringing new users into the fold. Introduction messages and chat capabilities offer instant gratification, affirming customers made the right decision by clicking ‘download’.

Health brands, especially, should consider prioritizing that level of connection, as patients tend to place a high value on active support while dealing with a chronic condition. Digital health organisation, The Mighty, puts community front and center, immediately welcoming new members and fostering an environment where they are safe to share both their stories and their data.

SEE ALSO: Diving into the growth of mobile commerce in APAC

Engagement at every touchpoint

A strong first impression of your app can have a far-reaching impact on your brand. Success is possible at every stage, from before your app has been downloaded to retaining engagement long afterward. It’s not just a matter of engagement, it’s the whole experience journey that you take your customers through. The more thoughtful you’re before building the app, the more fruitful experience you’re creating for your customers.

Author: Debbie Ng, Associate Director, Experience Design, Appnovation 

Disclaimer: The views and opinion expressed in the article belong solely to the original author and do not represent the views, opinions and position of Retail in Asia.