With the cost of owning a smartphone with 3G and 4G data options and Wi-Fi access around us reducing drastically, mobile users are set to be the next significant set of connected “customers”.
The next billion people coming online will experience the internet for the first time through a small device they carry in their pocket — their smartphone.
The changing technology landscape is a great opportunity for retail brands to customise and personalise the experience for their users. From a brand’s point of view, once the customer downloads an app, the app will always be logged in. This will allow the brand to collect user specific data such as recurring purchases, duration of browsing, preferred platform to share information on and so on. Companies will now build their own data analytics competencies to serve its customers better while also supporting their own marketing functions.
Here is an excellent example of how Flipkart has just about touched the surface with personalisation. I browsed Flipkart looking for a Happiness is bedsheet for our new home. I didn’t end up buying it at that point. A day later Flipkart sent me this notification
Well, that was interesting, but I wasn’t convinced. So the next day, I got this
Not bad, Flipkart. Not bad at all.
I now wanted to see how far Flipkart would go with this, so I held on. 6 days after the first notification, Flipkart sent me another reminder.
Honestly, this isn’t much. Flipkart could be doing so much more, but this is much better than the unrelated offer notifications I receive from Food ordering apps, or from the complete radio silence I see from Flipkart’s competitors.
SMS and push notifications have eight times higher response from consumers compared to emails . Thus sending relevant and targeted push notifications would not only have higher response rates for the brand but also improve the shopping experience for the customer.
Here is how Flipkart can #win because of going native
Build expectation: Prior to downloading the app, the user has certain perceptions about Flipkart. It is also possible that she has had a positive experience with them and hence chose to allow them “space” on her phone. How Flipkart interacts with its customers once they download the app can help them set expectations.
Push Notification: This is the most obvious feature to be on the list. Engagement will be higher if your push notifications are within a context that your customers expect from you. Item in the wishlist is cheaper, notify the user. Package has left warehouse, reached port, out for delivery, notify.
Feedback: Remember asking people for feedback and not receiving any? Well, it doesn’t have to be like that anymore. When you are pushing notifications to your customer, they should be able to communicate with you too. This has two benefits; first, customers can chat with the merchant and seek details / discounts etc like PayTM does and secondly, its one step of feedback before customers go to the play store and leave a down vote or uninstall the app.
“The world is now awash in data and we can see consumers in a lot clearer ways.” Max Levchin, PayPal co-founder
Data mining: The sheer amount of data that Flipkart can get from its customers downloading its app is enormous. It’s not the data that’s important, it’s what they do with it that is. Study campaign open rates. Study the device types. Use data for customer segmentation. For e.g. A user with an iPhone is more likely to spend than a “value” Samsung Galaxy user, add this to your recommendation engine and tailor suggestions.
Engagement: Study interactions, open rates, activity patterns and map them over time. An app is a strong medium to send / show relevant materials and keep engagement high
Reengagement: The ability to “get in” and bring back lost customers rises exponentially when your brand occupies real estate on your customer’s phone.
Voice search: Amazon realises the importance of voice search and built a device around it, called Echo. Google does this too with its google app. There is no reason this can’t be clubbed into your e-commerce app
Location: Ask the user for permission to access her location. This can help you pre-fill her addresses for delivery. It can also help you customise your notifications, for e.g. at 1 p.m. you can send a geo-targeted notification to everyone who is within a 5 mile radius of a particular McDonald’s informing them of a special lunch coupon code to be redeemed in-store. You could also notify a user of the arrival of their delivery package and check the delivery boy’s location as well as share yours with him.
Language packs: One of the simplest forms of customer delight is the ability to use an app in one’s own language! Apps let you build language packs into your app so every user, can use the app in a language that is native to them. For e.g. Check out Wholesale Living on iTunes or Android— the app will auto -detect the language on your phone and will customise itself accordingly.
Reminders: Just like alarms, but set by the brand. Drop your customer a reminder when there is an item left in cart, or the yoga class they signed up for is about to start or when their Uber is arriving.
Lists: You know what your client shops for often, now go help them make lists. Let customers make lists of items they need, have, want and so on. Then help them fulfill those lists. Win-win
Automated Delivery: You know what your customers are buying, you know how much of it they are buying and you also know how often they are buying. Why don’t you go ahead and let them automate their orders! For e.g. If you know Joe buys 1 kg of washing powder every 25 days, notify him after 20 days asking him if he wants you to[ up his washing powder.
Automated 2 step payments: One of the biggest concerns of people shopping online is Security. Various payment providers now offer 2 Factor Authentication, which could be in the form of a pre-set password or a One Time Password which is sent to you via SMS. Use a solution like Juspay and auto detect the password sent via SMS! Second-factor authentication done without any effort from the user!
Offline functionality: Very often people end up in dead spots with no internet connectivity. Your app is loaded on your customer’s phone. Let her add her items to cart and prepare her order. Ping her to process her order and pay once her phone regains internet connectivity.
Personalise: Perhaps the most important differentiation a native app can bring to your business is the ability to personalise what your customer sees when she opens your app, based on tracking what she likes/dislikes and so on. Feature relevant products, bring up recommendations and so show offers on categories that she is likely to shop from.
These are just the tip of the iceberg and I hope to see some innovative use cases coming up in 2015.
As of now I highly recommend you download your shopping app for a better, faster, seamless and more personalised shopping experience,
Join 5000+ fellow e-commerce merchants! Get Apptuse’s latest marketing insights straight to your inbox. Enter your email address below: