Ask any business what their goal is, any business at all, and all of them will in some way relate to making money. All businesses want to grow their revenue, scale the company, and be a successful entity. It’s a very understandable goal. Most businesses go about this goal by trying to acquire more-and-more customers and grow their business with a constant inflow of cash from new purchasers. This is the standard way of creating revenue, but it’s really only half the battle. The other half is retention.
It costs roughly five times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to retain current ones. With that in mind it makes a lot more sense to focus on keeping your customers on board than it does constantly creating relationships with new ones, wining and dining their buying habits. Now this should come as no real surprise to anyone who’s in business, it’s a pretty well known fact, but have considered the value of an app when it comes to customer retention?
Traditional customer retention methods are all well and good, but with a changing customer persona and buying habits, the playing field is not what it once was. We live in an increasingly digital world and the prevalence of apps is everywhere; there’s an app for everything. Maybe your company already has one, or maybe you’re considering one. Either way, you would do well to think about the “stickiness” of the app when designing it.
Here’s a few examples of what I mean:
For an app, this is the starting point for all customer interaction; the app design can make or break it. The aesthetics and functionality are what will determine if your app is on the users device for 30 seconds or three years. And think about it, even if the app was for a vital service the customer needed, would it make they still stick with your specific company forever if the app was clunky and unintuitive? No, they’d find a better option.
From a design perspective, the app must accomplish it’s goal in the least amount of steps possible. If the customer wants to pay a bill, don’t make them click through eight pages to finally input their information. If it’s an eCommerce app and you’re offering a promo code for a purchase, make the use of the code easy on them. When it comes to retention, making the process easy on people is one of the most important aspects of the process.
If you want to increase customer stickiness with your app, you need to make it a seamless and easy process to use. At the end of the day, the app is there to make the customers life a little easier, be it with paying a bill, accessing their account, or buying something, and it must be simple and easy to use.
Everyone loves free stuff. If someone tells you differently, they are either uninformed or lying. Jokes aside, offering things to customers through apps is great incentive to keep the user coming back to the app, and keep them from deleting it.
An offer can be anything. One offer could work like the above-mentioned eCommerce discount on a product or an entire purchase or free shipping. Another could be a log in bonus for the app that rewards users for coming back frequently to the app (works great with games). The offers you present to your users are only limited by the industry you’re in and your imagination and willingness to put them out there.
At the end of the day, a successful offer gives people something that will improve their quality of life and make their use of your products or services a better overall experience.
3. Loyalty Programs
You should be no stranger to the idea of loyalty programs. Incentivized programs where customers build up points for purchasing or using your products or services. Starbucks is a great example of this, as their loyalty program helps provide rewards to users who frequent their establishments.
Another great example is that of airline mile credit cards. Options like Capital One and Chase offer points and cash back rewards to people who use their credit cards for purchases, driving engagement with their product.
To build off these programs, there is often an accompanying app that helps users manage their loyalty points and use them as they see fit. To use the Capital One example again, you can use the app to see the amount of points you currently have amassed, as well as spend them to redeem past purchases. This is in addition to the basics functionality of the app that lets the user see the details of their credit card account and pay their bills on the app.
By integrating a loyalty program into your company, and then into your app, you give your customers extra incentive to use your product more frequently and be rewarded for it. Not only does this make the customer feel like they are being rewarded, but it increases sales too; If 5% more customers would lead to an increased average profit per customer of between 25% and 100%.
4. Push Notifications
Perhaps an overlooked and undervalued aspects of apps are the opportunities for push-notifications. When it comes to app-stickiness, you will eventually lose users of the app, it’s going to happen. However, you can use push-notifications to engage with users who haven’t opened the app in a while.
If a user has the app still downloaded, but hasn’t opened up in a certain amount of time, they receive a push-notification designed specifically to reengage the lost users. These notifications can use a mix of messaging, return offer incentives, or just a friendly reminder of the game. If you find yourself in a situation where the active user base is dropping for the app, push-notifications mixed with emails can be used to try and reach out to people.
5. Customer Focused
At the end of the day, app-stickiness, and customer retention as a whole, is about creating a product or service that people want and need, and then delivering it to them in a great way. Even though the app you designed is about your company and services, it’s really not. It’s about the audience that will be using it. You need to take every best practice and design principle and focus them on making something that benefits your customers.
Whatever you do towards your customers, you must remember that they are your lifeblood and doing things in their best interest is key for retention. App stickiness is the same thing. If you want to keep more users for your app, ask yourself if you would use your app or if there’s a better one out there. If you answered with the latter, you need to make changes to correct that.
When you’re working on your app just remember that it needs to solve the problem for the user in a simple way, make their lives easier, and offer them something they can’t receive from merely visiting a website. Be creative, be bold, and have fun with it.
By Todd Swoope,
Todd is the the Head Marketing Strategist for Snyxius Technologies and FunnelUp, a website visitor conversion software. From the mountains of Pennsylvania to the city of Austin, He’s is always up for a marketing challenge. His interests include witty wordplay, hot cups of tea, and chocolate chip cookies.