1. Engage your customers

Your website is a great resource for delivering generic messages to your global audience. However, to increase sales by treating your customers individually and providing a highly personalised experience to each — that needs an app.

To really engage your users, you need to provide closely targeted messaging. To do this, a good app will mould itself to its user — customising its appearance based on the user’s past habits, current interests, location, demographics, time of day, etc.

The concept is simple - once you are offering your customers more of what you know they want, they are far more likely to purchase, and to respond to further targeted sales pitches.

A good app will also help you understand your customers by providing an insight into how, when and where they use your products; what they do and what they purchase.

2. Easier to buy = more sales

Using your fingerprint to make a purchase, rather than entering your address and payment details manually, isn’t just a cool trick. It genuinely increases sales.

It’s just one example of how an app requires less effort from your potential customers, which in this case results in fewer opportunities to lose them during the sales process.

An app provides the customer experience that a website — even a well-designed mobile one — can’t. Today 35% of shoppers make purchases on their mobile, and 19% of mobile users don’t even have access to a desktop/laptop computer. A website can take an age to load on a mobile device, and even a responsive site won’t quite fit it properly. An app, by contrast, loads immediately, requires no panning or zooming to see everything, and will soldier on when connectivity becomes patchy — preventing lost sales.

3. Smartly targeted messaging

How do you effectively message your customers? Email doesn’t work — you get put in the spam folder — and phone calls and text messages are considered intrusive.

Apps provide a solution to these problems through push notifications. These are short, highly-targeted messages delivered direct to your customer. Rather than being an annoyance, smartly customised notifications can actually engage the user and drive sales. For example, if a customer ordered the first book in a series, you could deliver them a voucher for money off the next book. Delivery is reliable, and the system allows you to carefully target users individually or in groups. Notifications appear on the customer’s phone and require positive interaction from the user — no more languishing in spam folders.

4. Be more accessible

Make your services easily accessible and you will be rewarded with customers who come back again and again. For example a financial advisor who can provide an overview of the performance of a customer’s portfolio from anywhere at the touch of a button, will provide a more positive experience than one who requires customers to make time to call in. A printing company which can provide an estimate immediately will engage more customers than one which requires you to wait on the phone.

Give your customers the tools they need to manage themselves, and you not only provide a more effective and productive experience, you also reduce pressure on your customer service teams.

5. Promote your brand - virally

Effectively promoting your brand without frustrating your audience is a difficult balance. For example, constant banner ads, radio jingles or print advertising can easily be a turn-off — as well as being expensive. By contrast, an app is something people actively choose to have.

One solution is to make an app which is useful to your target audience and reinforces your brand, and give it away for free. This has proven extremely effective for the BBC, for example, which released a series of driving simulators to promote Top Gear. These spread virally and have now been downloaded tens of millions of times. Similarly, Metro Trains Melbourne released a game promoting safety around trains which has not only been downloaded hundreds of millions of times, but spawned a sequel and raised millions of dollars of revenue through advertising.

6. Encourage brand loyalty

When a customer installs your app on their device, its logo will be visible to them whether they use the app or not. So even when they don’t need your products and services, your customers will be regularly reminded of your existence. It’s a great branding exercise — meaning that when they do later need something you can provide, they’re more likely to choose you over a competitor.

Ultimately an app ensures you’ll be in the right place at the right time.

7. Explore new revenue opportunities

Even if you give an app away for free, with no sales focus, the branding alone will bring people to your organisation. The fact that your business name exists in the app stores — visited daily by millions — provides strong reinforcement of your brand.

In addition to this, apps offer a wealth of new revenue opportunities to explore. The most obvious is a free app with which customers can buy your product or service. You can also create a paid-for app which provides functionality which would otherwise not be available. Or you could create a viral marketing app which not only spreads the word, but earns you money through advertising. Or you could create a freely downloadable app which users pay to unlock more advanced features — the so-called “freemium” model which has proved hugely successful for many organisations.

How we can help

At Apps In The Sky we specialise in creating apps to improve your business. We’ve shown you just seven of the many ways we can help, but all our customers’ needs are different. For a free 30-minute consultation, email us at hello@appsinthesky.com, call 01256 274108 or visit www.appsinthesky.com.