It's all here: Mobile App as a one-stop solution for customer engagement!

A mobile app brings home the goods as consumers of all socioeconomic classifications desire value delivery.

Users live for it and believe that every brand is a 'promise' - a promise to be kept.

And there is no reason to expect otherwise. Brands exist to deliver value that meets their target audience's needs, and the consumer's actions and inactions are critical to the 'life and times of a brand.

So, by conventional marketing insight, no stone is left unturned in ensuring that the customer's expectations are met in cost-effective and mutually beneficial ways.

Where are we going with all this? We will find out shortly.

Before then, let's state the obvious that today's consumers practically live in the digital space via their mobile devices. Therefore, in recent research, it is not surprising that the worldwide digital population has been put to stand at 4.66 billion active Internet users, amounting to 59.5% of the global population (Johnson, 2021). That's good news and bad news for brands at the same time. Why?

For a brand to survive in this sort of space and win the attention of the almighty customer, it has and indeed needs to invest in activities and engagements that catch and retain attention. These engagements are executed with tools, strategies, conversations, surveys, offers, and rewards etc., all of which are integrated into the marketing mix deployed by a brand to engage and retain users. If a brand invests strategically, that is good news and good business; anything to the contrary is bad news and, of course, bad business.

And rightly so on this blog, one of such marketing tools has caught our attention today. If you're with me on this, then let's give it up for MOBILE APP! Yes, the mobile app has proven to be a powerful tool for optimizing customer engagement. Without further ado – what is a mobile app?

What is a Mobile App?

Simply put, a mobile app is software designed and fully packed with a set of solutions embedded in a mobile device to be accessed on the go by the user. Yes, mobility is a critical feature that makes an app a perfect and flexible integration into the lifestyle of consumers.

Without going into the technicalities of building an app, bear in mind that certain factors need to be considered for an app to enhance user experience. Creativity, flexibility, security, search options, social features – which support interaction and sharing of photos, videos, comments, ratings are vital in creating mobile apps.

That given, mobile apps have raked in awe-inspiring statistics across global markets, and a massive part of this contribution is from mobile apps for marketing. Research has estimated that the app economy generates revenues above $10b per year within the European Union. Over 592,000 jobs have been created in 26 EU states due to the growth of the app economy. (Wikipedia Contributors, 2019) That alone is enough to celebrate the popularity and significance of mobile apps, especially for marketing purposes.

By way of example and evidence, Domino Pizza's example will suffice as a success story that marks customer preference and mobile app use. We all know Domino Pizza's, don't we? We may also learn that its new app enables customers to order delivery or in-store pickup of their food in the UK, resulting in increased e-commerce and sales and engagement by 24%, and 52% of online coming in through mobile devices (Fingent Technology, 2017). Numbers, they, don't lie!

Micro-moments and the magic of a Mobile App

An app serves as an effective tool for exploring and targeting the unique micro-moments of the consumer, and the significant micro-moments are often identified as want-to-know, want-to-go, want-to-buy and want-to-do moments. By the way, micro-moments are moments when people reflexively turn to a device to act on a need; micro-moments are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences are shaped. Brands have mastered the art of delivering what we are looking for when we are looking for it [on a mobile app] (Ramaswamy, 2015).

Yes, the general intent of mobile users each time they pick up a device is one of or a combination of the identified micro-moments, which is why they turn to their phones for nearly everything: health, education, music, fun, movies, and entertainment - name it. Those are cues for micro-moments, and the mobile app is a perfect solution in this regard!

What do customers want?

That is an all-important poser! What do customers want in exchange for their hard-earned money? Are they often asking for too much? We have noted and agreed that the brand is a 'promise', which is wrapped around the pain points of the intended target audience, and whilst the brand aspires to exist, there is no reason that promise should not be kept.

A little story will sum it up. Jack and Angelica were in a relationship. It was all going well like a well-scripted true-life story of love. They were all over the place: sightseeing, shopping, picnicking, book clubbing, name it. But in time, Jack began to drop in his promises and availabilities. There were moments he was never there when needed, and this was a time in Angelica's life love and companionship were a thing for her. She would often go to places they had visited together, but this time alone, though meeting and making new friends and acquaintances in the process.

What do you expect? Angelica started cultivating fresh interests in people and places. And before one could say, Jack Robinson, Angelica is in a new relationship. That is of the critical importance of what the customer wants and desires in his or her brand relationships. Attention. Communication. Creativity. Add yours from that short story.

In the same vein, where a brand fails or takes an eternity to meet a customer's request, the typical automatic is to turn to a competing brand for a seamless and relatively better and faster solution. Once and if this happens, a customer has exchanged hands – from one brand to the other. A mobile app helps to nib this in the bud by building new platforms and building relationships with the customer.

Let's now take a few more minutes to see how this piece of marketing technology – mobile app – supports and simplifies brand engagement.

7 great ways a Mobile App is apt for customer engagement

It attracts user attention: This is what all (marketing) communication is all about: attention. Recall that billions of users are online, and capturing their attention requires doing more than just the normal. A mobile app fills this need, making it an effective tool for attracting and retaining attention as it is fully packed with solutions made available at the user's fingertips –on the go, at all hours, barring any glitches that should be taken care of without delays.

It increases user engagement: Users are justifiably impatient. So, anything that amplifies their engagement and keeps them calm and fixed on what the brand offers is a deal-breaker. A mobile app is just one of such 'anything'. Let's don't forget that augmented reality, virtual reality and 3D visualization – remember them? – can be embedded into a mobile app to enhance user experience. We shall do a postscript on this. Yeah? There you go!

It supports users at the point of their needs: Consumers want their pain points to be taken care of and desire to be in a good mood at all times without any stress in the world whatsoever. The consumer does not want to be left out, and the mobile app is designed to pool all its solutions in a piece of software for easy access, interaction and feedback.

It accurately drives traffic: Once a mobile app is effectively optimized, it gains downloads and usage by the targeted users who require them. People hardly download apps they don't need. It is right to add that a mobile app is an intelligent way of ensuring that budgets are judiciously deployed for the right traffic.

It increases conversion rate: Conversion is the bottom line of every engagement. Any desired action or decision taken by the consumer is conversion. On websites and platforms, visitors are expected to behave in a certain way, which could be to download a mobile app, make a purchase, participate in a survey, give feedback etc. With a mobile app in the face of the consumer, conversion rate enjoys potential escalation.

It is a tool for data collection: While mobile app users are engaged, data is mined by the brand, and such data comes in handy for other marketing activities, which further enriches the content and experience that are generated for the consumer. Mobile app makes this all possible in a cost-effective way.

It prioritizes and improves communication with users: In all walks of life, communication is never underestimated. A mobile app leverages the power of push and pull notifications to gain maintain its relationship with the customer. For online users or shoppers or customers – whatever name to go by – be sure that your brand engages with them with content that is relevant to their needs at specific moments.

The list is by no means exhaustive. However, it is essential for a brand to consistently find new ways and concepts, tools, and strategies to keep its customers engaged for value and relevance. One last thing:

Mobile App and Augmented Reality – The real deal:

We have agreed – haven't we? – that mobile app enhances user engagement, and when we talk about user engagement, it is easy for these three musketeers to pop up: augmented reality, virtual reality, and 3D visualization. Though people these days shop without borders from the comfort of their homes, the shopper's instinct of touching and feeling the product of their choice before making payment cannot be wished away. AR, VR and 3D visualization come in as solutions to that real-life experience. Brands now know better to bring AR online shopping, Retail AR, 3D photography, 3D products, 3D visualization into the world of their consumers on their websites and, more importantly, on their mobile apps.

But then, it is always advised to ascertain what works best for your brand and consumers before committing to implementation. With the mobile app, on the whole, your brand has the high potential to do no wrong.

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