Mobile app success starts and ends with the user. The only difference between a successful mobile application and one that fails is the user experience, or UX. Apps that provide excellent UX have the power to gain and retain users, whereas apps that are overly complex and difficult to use tend to wind up in the delete folder.
The variables that app users look for are functionality, aesthetics, and personalization capabilities. The mobile app should also accurately and impactfully reflect the company's brand so that users associate the brand with positive UX. When users develop a fondness for a brand based on their enjoyment using the brand's app, they'll be more inclined to invest in the brand itself and buy from the company.
Designing a mobile app with excellent UX is especially important when the app is part of a customer loyalty rewards program.
In recent years, loyalty programs have moved away from plastic scan cards and have instead begun to incorporate mobile apps as the primary rewards tool. As you can probably imagine, any rewards program that depends on its mobile app for engagement but only offers users a poor experience is bound to cause the entire program to fail.
Loyalty program mobile apps need to be designed, marketed, and used in specific ways if they're going to succeed at retaining users and ultimately drive program engagement. In this article, we'll take a look at what you can do to increase mobile app retention in order to get the most out of your customer loyalty rewards program.
Develop a Simple Design
The simplicity of a mobile app design helps users to easily navigate the app's interface, which results in positive UX. There are a handful of fundamental elements that impact the simplicity of any given mobile app, and we recommend that you stay mindful of these as you develop your loyalty app.
Firstly, the design itself should incorporate contrasting colors, legible fonts, and a bold brand design. Less is always more when it comes to designing the aesthetics of the interface. You don't want the user's eye to dart around the interface because there's too much to look at. Instead, make sure that each screen within your app presents only one option or one set of options for the user to explore.
Use App Store Optimization (ASO)
You can't retain mobile app users until users have downloaded and begun to use your app, right? In order to increase app downloads, you're going to have to effectively market your mobile app. This is where ASO, or App Store Optimization comes in.
If you're unfamiliar, ASO refers to the description, keywords, and overall presentation of how your mobile app appears in Google's Play Store, Apple's iOS App Store, and other mobile app distribution channels. Similar to Google's SERP ranking, each app store uses an algorithm that determines which apps are prominently featured and which are lower in ranking. You want the highest ranking possible, which means that you may need to make changes to your app store entries and monitor how those changes boost the app's download rate.
Launch an Email Marketing Campaign
Listing your loyalty app in the biggest mobile app stores is necessary, but just because your app is available for download doesn't mean it's going to market itself. In fact, consumers who come across your app in one of the app stores aren't going to download it unless they want to start shopping at your store and earning rewards.
Luckily, you already have two major consumer pools to market your loyalty app to. Those pools are your current loyalty members who have been using plastic scan cards, and your current shoppers who have not yet enrolled into your loyalty program. You can reach both audiences by designing an email marketing campaign that introduces your customers to your new loyalty mobile app. Include an animation or video "tour" of the mobile app and conclude the email with strong CTA buttons that link to the main app stores where users can download your loyalty app and begin exploring its features right away.
Streamline the Onboarding Process
The onboarding process begins the moment a user taps the download button within the app store, and ends the second the user can begin freely using the mobile app on their cell phone. Typically, the onboarding process will include entering personal information in order to create an account. If too much information is required, causing the onboarding process to take too long, users will abandon the app altogether, and might even uninstall it from their phones.
If you want to increase mobile app retention and user growth, you must make sure the onboarding process is streamlined. You can accomplish this by simply reducing the number of steps needed to complete creating a user account. Each step should have its own screen, and the entire process shouldn't take longer than 1 minute. The trick here is to allow users to enter minimal information in order to complete the setup process, even if they come back later to enter additional information and further personalize their accounts.
Start Tracking User Data Right Away
If you really want to know how your mobile app is performing, then you're going to have to install a system to track user data. Tracking user data can provide you with user insights and other analytics that will help you improve your app and effectively market it to the right audience.
Depending on your mobile app, you may already have access to user data, but even if that's the case, we recommend that you set up Google's tracking for mobile apps. Google's install tracking allows companies to collect and send data from their mobile apps to their Analytics accounts so that the data appears in their Mobile App Sources reports. Get started with Google's Analytics app reporting and follow the instructions for your app platform.
Personalize Push Notifications & SMS Text Messages
So far, we've covered how to design your mobile app, how to market your mobile app, and how to track user analytics. Lastly, you'll need to keep your mobile app users engaged if you want to increase mobile app retention. This is easily the most important aspect. When apps fail, they fail because users stop using them after a few weeks. In fact, the retention rate difference between the first day of app use to the 30th day averages a decrease of nearly 80%! Meaning, users often get bored with the app and stop opening it.
There are two main ways you can keep user engagement up, which are to use push notifications and SMS text messages. When users receive personalized notifications that include relevant, custom offers, they will open the app to check out the deal. In fact, the open rate for social media app push notifications is 17.9% and the open rate for retail store app push notifications is 9.2%, which means that your loyalty app open rate could split the difference.
SMS text messages tend to perform even better with a miraculous 98% open rate. Evidently, the average consumer cannot stand to have an unopened text message hanging out on their phone.
One word of caution, however, we recommend that you carefully strategize when, why, and how you use personalized push notifications and SMS text messages to nudge users into engaging with your loyalty app. If you overdo it, you could risk annoying users so badly that they turn off notifications, or worse, uninstall your app.
Are you looking for a loyalty program mobile app to launch at your business? Our premium customer loyalty rewards program, Loyal~n~Save, comes with a fully customizable loyalty app that's designed to boost customer engagement, retention, and sales.
Our mobile app has been thoroughly tested and finely tuned with UX in mind.
If you would like to learn about our loyalty solutions, including our loyalty app that comes with push notification and SMS text message capabilities, get in touch with our loyalty specialists today.
This article was written by Loyal-n-Save, an omni-channel customer loyalty solution for retailers looking to increase customer retention and new customer acquisition.