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Mobile apps can help improve customer engagement

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/ESB Professional)

Mobile applications have become a major source of profit for businesses of all sizes. Companies like Target, Wells Fargo, and Nike are using their mobile apps to reach new customers and increase sales from current consumers.

This trend is one of the primary reasons that mobile application revenue is predicted to reach nearly $189 billion in 2020. As a result of this growth, many businesses now believe that they must develop custom mobile applications in order to remain competitive in the future.

However, the historically low unemployment rate of just 1.9 per cent for software engineers means that finding the right talent for mobile application development is more difficult than ever. Many companies are turning to nearshore software development services to find the right people for the job. That’s because these companies have years of experience and a roster of talented developers ready to begin a project on-cue.

This article will help executives understand how mobile applications can improve customer engagement. In addition, they’ll learn how to successfully outsource development and build custom applications using the two most important keys for success.

Web and mobile apps increase engagement

The first step before looking into mobile app development is understanding your goals. Are you looking to create new sources of revenue, optimise company processes, increase customer loyalty? While there are a lot of benefits you can get from a mobile app, I believe engagement is one of the most holistic ones.

Mobile applications can increase customer engagement and boost sales in several ways. First, these apps increase the overall time that a consumer spends with a particular brand, which in turn increases the odds of a sale. That’s one of the reasons why mobile e-commerce now accounts for nearly 40 per cent of total digital revenue 

In addition, mobile applications prevent customers from purchasing a product from competitors. That’s because 46 per cent of consumers are “less likely to shop around for other options when they’re using a company’s mobile app.”

Importantly, one team of researchers also found that when a customer accesses a mobile application, they increase the number of both online and offline purchases.

Domino’s Pizza is a great example of a company that successfully utilised its mobile app to increase sales. The company’s mobile app has been downloaded an estimated 10 million times and increased overall e-commerce sales by nearly 25 per cent.

In fact, the business recently reported that app sales have now overtaken desktop sales for the first time in the company’s history.

Keys to success

Building custom software from scratch is an expensive undertaking that often results in defeat. In fact, research has found that only 70 per cent of IT projects are completed successfully. Even more troubling, software development failures cost American businesses an estimated $50-$150 billion in lost revenue.

Despite the difficulty involved with custom software development, many companies have figured out how to improve their odds of success. They’ve accomplished this by collaborating with experienced nearshore development services to find the right talent for their specific project needs.

In addition, businesses are using data analytics, user design experts, and cybersecurity specialists to improve the quality of their applications and safeguard consumer data. These days, you can never be out of touch with any of these fields. They are not only essential to productivity and decision-making, but also critical to protect your business data from malicious attackers.

Know the audience

The first step in building a successful mobile application is market research. Companies should develop a buyer persona by investigating exactly who their current customers are. This includes finding valuable information such as their age, gender, marital status, geographic location, income, and more.

Once a basic buyer persona has been compiled, it’s time to develop a data analytics program for the business.

Companies are creating custom customer data platforms, known as CDPs, to collect and analyse consumer data in a single location. In fact, an estimated 78 per cent of organisations are either currently using or developing a CDP.

These systems track customer page views, purchases, call centre interactions, product usage data, social media interactions, and more to create a profile for each individual consumer. In-house marketing teams can use this data to develop mobile apps that meet consumer demands and increase customer engagement and sales.

Amazon is an example of a company that is using data analytics to personalise the mobile user experience. The retail giant maintains an extensive database of all customer interactions which it uses to predict which items customers will be interested and to increase sales through more relevant suggestions.

Focus on user design

User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design are key to ensuring success in mobile development. That’s because customers only take a fraction of a second to form an opinion about a website. Furthermore, 38 per cent of customers will leave a website or application if the content is unattractive. 

In addition, an estimated 88 per cent of customers believe that a mobile version should work as effectively and seamlessly as the desktop website.

The best businesses focus on UI and UX design throughout the development lifecycle. User experience design, which refers to how the user interacts with an application, should be considered in the earliest stages of development. The engineering team must focus on ensuring that the app works intuitively and smoothly from the moment users launch the app.

On the other hand, user interface refers to the way that an application looks and feels. Designers should pay special attention to how the buttons, text, and images are laid out, what animations and visuals are used, and ensure that negative space is used wisely.

The audio-streaming app Spotify is an excellent example of a company that integrates UI and UX considerations into their desktop and mobile applications. The company used a clean layout, easy navigation, and seamless integration with their web application to become the most popular music streaming service in the world.

In summary

Web and mobile application development are becoming an increasingly popular way for companies to boost customer engagement and promote long-term business growth without a huge marketing budget.

Not only that, but mobile applications open many doors for businesses across every industry. An app can make your company’s products and services more accessible, give you a competitive edge in the market, reveal new personalisation opportunities, create new types of relationships with customers, and, perhaps most importantly, encourage business innovation.

However, the application development process itself is fraught with challenges that can overwhelm new managers. That’s why many savvy executives turn to nearshore software development partners to increase the odds of success. These firms use their years of experience and a roster of talented developers to create high-quality apps that customers love.

In recent years, software outsourcing has come up as the most cost-efficient way to develop high-quality applications under a tight deadline. The combination of developer talent, reduced time to market, and IT industry expertise that these companies provide has become an integral element of success for a lot of the most popular mobile applications in today’s world.

In addition, companies can proactively increase the quality of their mobile apps by conducting thorough market research and creating a data analytics program, hiring the right talent for their needs, and focusing on user design throughout the entire development lifecycle.

Malcom Ridgers, tech expert, Bairesdev

Malcom is a tech expert specializing in the software outsourcing industry. He has access to the latest market news and has a keen eye for innovation and what's next for technology businesses.