It takes only a minute to look around any restaurant or grocery store to know that mobile devices rule everyone’s lives. Whether it’s work-related or personal, regardless of intention or use, the mobile device is always there in people’s hands.
To this day, I still hear in my head the decade-old Apple marketing slogan of “There’s an app for that”—a foresight by a company that today virtually owns the ecosystem in which all apps live. More importantly, I also remember the once highly anticipated Blackberry tablet that was released and died almost simultaneously—with the ferocious review stating simply, “There is no app for that.”
The point to all of this? Again, apps rule our lives—and as such, whether you own a restaurant or grocery store, you absolutely need one to survive.
However, there is a caveat to that statement. What you don’t want is an app that fails to deliver on your brand promise to your customers. That does more damage than good. Unfortunately, the tech world is full of apps built entirely on false promises. The good news is that finding the right app requires looking no further than the omNovos website … but I digress. Most importantly, let’s get back to this “brand promise” as mentioned.
Any business can offer a mobile app. The challenge is offering an app that customers will want to keep on their phone. We’ve all downloaded apps that have lasted mere minutes on our own phones. Perhaps a few have lasted several weeks or months, only to be completely forgotten and—once noticed again—quickly relegated to the virtual garbage can. In order to make an app last on someone’s device, the answer is simple: make the app worth keeping.
So what does that really mean? How can you make a mobile app that stands out from the rest? First, focus on ease of use. The interface must be intuitive, simple to learn, and be based on basic app principles enabling users to navigate with ease through all it has to offer. But that is only half the battle. I’m sure many of your own discarded apps were visually well-designed and easy to use. But the actual functional worth was, well, garbage. The real value comes from stickiness and value. So how is that done? Well, you need to offer something that matters to your customers.
The so-called secret sauce of any mobile app is the ability to interact in a way that adds value to the customer’s life and brand experience. For instance, does the app ask customers the right questions? Do those answers then feed into an engine, resulting in better content being delivered back?
Here’s an example I have used time and time again, but still applies to this day. If you had an opportunity to download a generic app from a grocery store—one that did nothing but feed you the same weekly specials also found online and/or in printed flyers—would it be worth downloading? No, it would not. More so, if that same app did nothing but continually offer you specials on things you weren’t interested in—like meat-based products, even though you are a vegetarian—how long would that app last on your mobile device? Likely not very long.
Conversely, what if a grocery app asked you on day one about your food interests and preferences? Even better, that app could then send you special offers based on your interests and preferences—learning more about your buying habits along the way and continuously presenting new and exciting recipes, keeping your shopping lists up-to-date, and so much more. Welcome to an app worth keeping.
The same exact scenario goes for restaurants who create similar apps. Using the customer’s favorite meals and beverages as its foundation, the app can enable them to make reservations, order in advance, and access “secret” menu items. It can even invite them to special occasions based on their preferences and buying behaviors.
With constant, meaningful two-way interactions, the right mobile application can build not just loyalty, but life-long relationships that surpass all expectations. Your brand could always be top-of-mind, top of the list, and topping the competition. And I daresay your customers are ready. Are you?
Chief Customer Officer
Andrew Armstrong is the Chief Customer Officer at omNovos – working globally with customers to design world-class customer engagement programs. He’s a prolific writer and speaker on topics including customer loyalty, personalization, and retail marketing technologies. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter - his open approach to all topics usually leads to a fun discussion and a few laughs.