Retail in Asia


Key takeaways from Elevate 2021: How Asia brands are driving mobile success into 2022


Elevate 2021, the Customer Forum by app experience platform, Airship, that took place in October, featured insights and innovations presented by market-leading analysts and professionals from across the APAC region and beyond.

Indonesia’s GetPlus, Malaysia’s YES from the YTL Group and Singapore-based ridesharing brand Ryde were among the many highlights at the forum.

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Here we have rounded up the key takeaways from the forum.

COVID-19 Accelerated Digital Transformation

Speakers described how the pandemic and related lockdowns have accelerated the shift toward mobile apps as a preferred destination for almost everything, propelling brands to sharpen their mobile app experience capabilities.

Airship speakers, including CEO Brett Caine, highlighted the increasingly important role that mobile apps play in our day-to-day lives. Caine cited Airship findings that mobile app audiences from its global customers grew 31 percent year-over-year in 2020, which was almost twice as fast as 2019 growth.

Renowned tech analyst Benedict Evans explained how the pandemic shifted the internet’s position in the e-commerce funnel.

“Because people are now using the internet to decide what to buy… it is no longer just a price comparison engine. Now, it is a much more fundamental part of the purchasing journey,” said Evans.

Apptopia CEO Jonathan Kay shared extraordinary data that revealed the benefits of investing in the mobile app experience to meet ever-increasing customer expectations as compared to the downside impact of not doing so.

Insights & Preferences Create Better Experiences & More Loyal Customers

All presenters spoke about the importance of understanding meaningful customer insights in order to shape more personalised communications, experiences and products.

GetPlus Cofounder, COO and CMO Adrian Hoon described how rich and relevant customer data has powered GetPlus’ growth, enabling the Indonesian multi-brand loyalty program to deliver customised rewards and incentives that keep customers engaged, happy and loyal.

Hoon explained that “consumers today are willing to share personal data with the brands they love, but in return they expect those brands to reward them and tailor their offerings.”

customer data
Source: Shutterstock

This recognition of an honest value exchange is at the heart of GetPlus’ strategy. With automated, data-driven and personalised messaging, and tailored offers and rewards at every touch point, GetPlus drives more connections and revenue for its hundreds of merchant partners, both online and offline.

To achieve this degree of personalisation, Hoon said that brands need a 360 degree view of their customers as well as the right marketing stack. In GetPlus’ case, they collect data from every transaction and track over 1000 customer attributes, from basket size to brand preferences. By integrating that data with Airship’s App Experience Platform, GetPlus is able to interact with those customers personally in real-time and at scale, which has driven a 62 percent increase in monthly active users and a 14X increase in monthly transactions per member for GetPlus.

Automated Customer Journeys Elevate the Customer Experience

For rapidly-growing APAC brands, automation is key to delivering great customer experiences at scale. For example, Dora Poturi, product architect for 4G mobile telecom brand YES (part of YTL Group) shared how the automation of mobile personalisation and relevant customer journeys keeps YES ranked among the top 10 most used apps in Malaysia, and the highest rated telco app among competitors.

Poturi highlighted the impact of using automation to deliver the right message at the right time to their rapidly growing mobile audience, beginning with an automated welcome series educating customers about how to use YES. When customers do not engage or are at risk of churn, YES uses automation to trigger reengagement messaging with details about valuable features the customer may have missed.

They also use automation to launch customer journeys around important dates such as tax season or peak travel times. Not only does this timely and relevant messaging create a more seamless experience for customers, Poturi explained that it has actually cut down on call centre volumes as well. YES has grown its user base by approximately 15X over the three years since moving to Airship. Hoon from GetPlus also reiterated the importance of establishing a great welcome journey.

“The most critical time with a new customer is the first two weeks. If you lose them then you may lose them for good, which is challenging given the high costs of acquisition,” said Hoon.

James Tan from ridesharing app Ryde also described how they leverage an automated cross-channel welcome journey, which includes reengagement messages to keep users moving through key milestones.

“If they drop off at any point in time, we actually bring them back by sending reengagement messages to make sure they complete the registration process,” said Tan.

Great CX Translates to Loyalty and Results

Elevate’s panelists were unanimous in the impact of word-of-mouth in driving organic growth for their brands. In the roundtable session with Ryde and GetPlus, each expert emphasised that a great customer experience is essential to creating that word-of-mouth.

To achieve that, their teams are focused on leveraging behavioural data to automate communications according to different levels of segmentation supported by a ‘test and learn’ culture. With this internal cultural mindset towards testing, their teams can take small steps to experiment and learn how users behave with new communications and channels before rolling them out more broadly. And while doing that, they are careful to avoid over communicating as this can lead to higher unsubscribe rates and churn.

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Source: Airship
First & Zero Party Data Are Critical for Mobile Brands

When asked about future trends, GetPlus’ Hoon addressed the importance of brands collecting first and zero party data, as he believes iOS and Android will continue implementing new privacy restrictions to protect the user. The sooner brands can step away from relying on third party data and instead focus on directly asking customers to indicate their preferences, the less impact they will see from new data regulations.

Hoon also stressed how important it is to work with technologies like Airship’s new Preference Center to enable them to do just that, through features that make it easy for customers to share their information.

If you missed the event, you can still access all of the global presentations, panels, roundtables and technical labs featuring brands such as the BBC, Disneyland Paris, Shell and many more, for free here.