Fractal Analytics Blog

Shift your focus from the App to the Customer Experience

Shift your focus from the App to the Customer Experience

Jed Murphy - Global Digital Innovation Director, Aimia
By Jed Murphy - Global Digital Innovation Director, Aimia
October 7, 2015

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Since November 2013, Aimia Inc. has formed a strategic long-term partnership with Fractal Analytics. This partnership will deepen Aimia’s analytics capabilities, extending its unparalleled customer insights to deliver a more comprehensive understanding of consumer behavior. It will also extend Aimia’s loyalty expertise to Fractal’s clients.

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When the iPhone launched seven years ago, it revolutionized how consumers interacted with their mobile device – both through a new means of interaction (touchscreen) as well as the idea of the ‘app’.
Today there are about 1.2 million apps in Apple’s App store and the average smartphone user has installed 25 apps. However, there is a declining appetite amongst mobile users for new apps. According to research from Deloitte the number of apps downloaded in an average month fell from 2.3 to 1.8 over the last year.

So it seems we may be at a point in time that we could name as ‘peak app’ – where consumers, overwhelmed by too many narrowly focused brand apps, are instead concentrating their attention on a number of core apps that they use regularly. The result of this ‘Peak App’ is profound for brands. Getting consumers to download and use new apps will become increasingly difficult. Add to this the speed at which the mobile ecosystem is evolving, and this means brands that want to avoid becoming sidelined will need to think not only about app downloads, but also about: rich push notifications, cross-app integration, the impact of the wearable tech experience and, in the near future, in-car technology. All of these developments are key components in a much wider mobile consumer experience.

Here are some thoughts on how brands can work to create an integrated brand ecosystem that matches rising consumer expectations.

Moving interactions to the lock screen

According to the Meeker Report, the average smartphone user looks at their mobile phone about 150 times per day. But the last operating systems on mobiles devices now allow for app generated content to be consumed easily without even going past the lock screen. Interactions no longer need to be simply made within the mobile application – but can be ‘elevated’ to the lock screen. This means that gaining trust from users to deliver push messages is increasingly becoming the new ‘permissions’ battleground.

On the latest version of Android, called Lollipop, for example, users can access a vast array of messages and notifications from their lock screen to read and dismiss emails, calendar invites and other messages.

Equally, as part of Apple’s iOS 8, users can interact and respond to prompts without unlocking their phone. So, for example, a user could activate an offer, add items to a shopping basket, or add coupons to Passbook directly from their lock screen.

Cross-app integration

Brands must also start to think about the context in which their brand or service will be useful to a customer on the move – and create interactions which again, may not sit in their own app – but rather be an experience that is embedded in an app that is relevant for the mobile context of the user. A great example of this is Uber’s integration into Google Maps. A rich, contextually-driven experience that allows a user to order an Uber taxi when searching for directions.

By delivering context-driven content through deep-linked, widely adopted apps, brands can more readily meet consumer needs rather than forcing them to use a separate application. Forming these key mobile ecosystem partnerships will be vital to generating new distribution channels to reach the increasingly distracted busy consumer.

Wearables will further define consumer interaction

Wearables have been ‘the next big thing’ for the last few years. From Google Glass to a wide-array of Android-powered watches from Samsung and LG through to the Pebble Watch. But whether through price, functionality or battery life – nothing has quite sparked mass consumer adoption. That might change soon with the launch of the Apple Watch. Apple may well again define a new category and change the way that consumers interact with technology. Within the guidelines for their watch apps, Apple states that apps should be used for no longer than 10 seconds at a time. This means brands will need to determine how to leverage these new kinds of interactions: already termed “taptics” to create contextual quick-hit interactions they can deliver in just a few seconds.

Cars: the next frontier

Finally, brands also need to start considering the implications for consumer interactions as smartphones become more deeply integrated into the cars we drive. With both Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto now primary market contenders, the mobile customer journey will only become even more context driven. Whilst this does not mean the next app battleground is the dashboard per se, the importance of this trend will remain highly brand specific.

But for some (fuel retailers, hotels, restaurants to name a few) this offers an incredible opportunity to build brands into the fabric of the customer’s transportation.

The basic rules have not changed—consumers still want to connect on a digital and deeply personal level with brands that deliver valuable, personal experiences. But what has clearly changed is that brands must take their focus off the branded app and turn their attention to creating integrated, context-based mobile consumer experiences. It is time to get to work and meet the consumers’ rising expectations in our changing marketplace.

Source: Aimia Institute

References:

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About the author:

Jed is the Global Digital Innovation Director at Aimia. His role is focussed on using emerging platforms and new technology to create interactions with customers and drive behaviour change. He is responsible for the strategic development and implementation of digital strategy and solutions for clients & partners. Driving innovation and the development of new products & services is also a key part of his remit. He works across Aimia’s own programmes (eg Nectar) as well as the programmes Aimia creates for clients. He has worked across a range of industry sectors for major brands such as BT, Coca-Cola, Diageo (Guinness, Johnnie Walker), Etihad Airways, BA, Hyundai Motors, & Arla Foods (Lurpak, Anchor). Specialties: Digital strategy, customer journey & communications planning, user experience & information architecture, website design, e-communications, social media, mobile marketing, loyalty marketing.

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