Optimizing Your App in Today's Digital Experience Age

Apr 27, 2016


Article ImageIn today's shifting consumer landscape, emerging technologies and mobile and web applications are rapidly changing the way brands reach their customers. The industry has evolved from a pre-internet world of attracting customers with aesthetically pleasing, well-organized storefronts in the right location, to a whole new strategy. Consumers are now available every second they are looking at a screen. The new, "always-on" user has forced brands to refocus their strategies to cater to the new digital experience age.

On average, Americans spend over five hours a day checking their smartphones, turning the screen on over 85 times in a 24 hour period. Almost three hours of that time is spent using mobile apps alone--app Annie's 2016 findings predict that mobile apps will exceed $101 billion just in download fees by 2020, with over 284 billion downloads.

This is especially true for the millennial generation, who grew up surrounded with technology. In fact, millennials (ages 18-24) spend about 90 hours per month on smartphone apps alone. As a result, brands must ensure that their digital content is providing the customer experience they are aiming for. This can be done by focusing on testing apps in real user scenarios and ensuring they are an improvement-not a continuation-of the brand's overall user experience (both on and off-line).

Making Sure Your App is the Real Thing

In order to ensure brands are providing quality customer experiences in today's digital world, we need to start at the foundation. By testing applications in real-life conditions, companies can ensure a successful customer experience by providing them the ability to access the content anytime, anywhere.

Consider the following scenario: a company specializing in rock climbing gear provides equipment for people to climb long distances. To remain competitive in the marketplace, the company decides to create an app that allows customers to access up-to-date information on rock climbing conditions and routes, and communicate with other climbers.

As a result, the first map is made publicly available to all customers via the app, providing attractions, warnings, and accommodations for rock climbing at Red Rock Canyon. Prior to releasing, the app goes through basic functional tests across all devices, and comes back with flying colors. However, a few weeks later, negative feedback pours in from users, as it turns out that customers weren't able to access the content offline and in real life conditions, as in, when there is little to no cell service. Unfortunately, the app was not tested for the elements, leaving customers with a terrible experience.

These types of mishaps happen all the time across a variety of industries-from shopping apps failing due to usage spikes during the holiday season to gaming apps that drain the battery life so quickly that they're only worth using when the device is plugged in. Undoubtedly, it is essential that brands today test their apps under real-life conditions, factoring in low battery and the lack of geolocational services. The end result is increased brand awareness and loyalty.

Another key factor for brands to ensure a seamless user experience with its web and mobile content is by making sure it addresses customer pain points, including saving the consumer time, money and providing useful and relevant content at the right time, at the right place.

For example, retailers that have their own shopping apps with price check functions save their customers time and money by seamlessly enabling them to compare prices prior to making a purchase. On the other hand, the rock climbing app mentioned earlier would enhance the outdoor experience by sharing useful and relevant information as well as any last minute weather warnings.

By having a great application that adds value, brands will be able to provide a quality app experience and reap the benefits at the same time--from seeing an increase in sales to customer brand loyalty.

Looking into the App Future

Tremendous shifts have occurred in the way customers are interacting with brands, and this will only continue to evolve. Today, for the most part, interactions often occur across multiple screens - tablets, laptops and smartphones - and can be applied to any industry. As a result, enterprises are striving to apply innovative digital strategies that offer that right balance of delight and convenience. As digital experiences emerge as the primary brand engagement point, it is crucial that brands realize different strategies are required to ensure the quality of the overall brand experience.