Business organizations must have application strategies. Many organizations develop apps which are parts of their digital transformation to offer good digital experiences to customers. However, it turns out that most applications are less downloaded or are rarely used after being downloaded and users remove the apps that they see as useless. To address the issue, Bluebik has devised the “AAA Application Strategy” for the development of the apps which can present the products and services that match customers’ demand. The strategy consists of 3 actions: 1) stimulating people to download apps (Attention), 2) stimulating people to continuously use apps (Active) and 3) stimulating users to have apps as parts of their everyday life (Attachment).
Nowadays consumers increasingly buy products and services via applications because it is easy, convenient and quick. This prompts many businesses to develop applications and use them to present products and services to consumers, especially younger ones. However, applications cannot guarantee that all businesses will reach their target groups of consumers.
There are more than 3 million apps but only one-third of smartphone users download new applications on a monthly basis. Considerably downloaded applications do not always see an increase in their active users. Data show that 25% of downloaded apps are used only once and most users use only 9 apps a day on average. Besides, the app abandonment rate is very high. About 71% of users remove an app within 90 days after downloading it.
Therefore, businesses must have their app development strategies which aim not only at the amount of downloads because lots of downloads do not mean that apps will help generate income for businesses. App developers must know from the start if applications are relevant to their respective strategic business plans and whether they will effectively produce expected results. Otherwise, business organizations will waste their costs and resources for application development.
Based on its consulting experiences with leading organizations, Bluebik has invented strategies to develop the applications that meet the demand of businesses, improve information management and support connectivity with future systems. The strategies called “AAA Application Strategy” comprise 3 elements: 1) stimulating people to download apps (Attention), 2) stimulating people to continuously use apps (Active) and 3) stimulating users to have apps as parts of their everyday life (Attachment).
Stimulating people to download apps
If businesses do not want their applications to fade away in markets, what they should do right after launching a new app is to build awareness so that people know the application exists and have enough interest to download it. An application must be attractive. To achieve this, businesses can begin with identifying the problems of their target groups of customers whom they expect to download their apps. Then businesses can design the “Wow Features” of their applications that must be unique and different from similar apps in markets and will stimulate target groups to download their apps. For example, a health app of a hospital should let users do their basic health assessment free of charge when they first log in.
Businesses can also prompt their target groups of customers to download their apps by using many methods to create stimulating environments. The methods can be advertising via social media, producing viral content and offering some privileges to the people who download apps or share their experiences in downloading and using apps via social media (referral). The privileges can be discounts at shops or special scores.
Besides, businesses can directly approach customers and invite them to download apps. This approach is suitable for the companies that have agents such as insurance companies. They can assign agents to recommend the apps that customers can use to conveniently see the details of policies, premium schedules, other interesting policies and other services.
Stimulating people to continuously use apps
Stimulating the people who downloaded apps to continuously use them is also important because the usage of apps helps increase the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) – the value that a business expects from each customer while the customer continues to buy products and services. If a customer regularly uses an app, the customer may repeat orders for the products and services of a business organization and this will raise the CLV. Customer retention also helps businesses cut their costs of attracting new customers.
Stimulating users to repeat their use of apps should be done by creating good user experiences. UX/UI can be designed to make an app as user-friendly as possible. This can begin with the app log-in stage. Many apps have simplified their log-in process by linking it with social media accounts such as Line and Facebook accounts or Google accounts or requiring only one-time-passwords instead of having users sign up and sign in.
The creation of use cases or new features is also key to people’s use of apps. Gamification is a method to increase pleasure and motivation to attract people to use apps every day. E-commerce apps are the best example of gamification. Users must use apps every day to collect coins which can be exchanged for discounts. By this means, users are motivated to log in every day.
Stimulating users to have apps as parts of their everyday life
After having lots of app users for a certain period, businesses should not be complacently confident that the users will use their apps for good because the app abandonment rate is very high. One reason is that users will not be eager to use an app any more or will not enjoy using it any longer if they doubt that the app truly benefits them. Therefore, if apps have active users, they should be promoted as parts of users’ everyday life so that when users need services, they will not turn to rival companies.
There are many ways to generate long-term demand for app usage as follows.
1. Loyalty Program – Normally loyalty programs target different tiers of customers such as Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers. They provide customers with benefits based on the duration and value of product and service purchases. For example, the more customers buy, the more discounts they get. Besides, they will also receive special gifts or can attend the exclusive events of brands.
2. Subscription – Customers will obtain bigger discounts if they subscribe for monthly services. For example, Grab has Grab Packages for different kinds of services, including GrabBike, GrabFood, GrabExpress and JustGrab. The customers who subscribe for such packages will receive more discount coupons and pay less on a monthly basis.
When customers use apps regularly, business organizations gather their information. Analyzed information can be used to further develop their business, improve the “Customer Journey” and increase the sales of related products or products with higher prices (cross-selling and upselling). Data on purchasing habits show that customers usually buy products that are related to each other. Business organizations can use such data to design their bundle deals. For example, Amazon has the feature that recommends the products that customers usually buy at the same time. The recommendations are based on the records of past purchases, the products that were viewed but not bought, the products that were reviewed and the products that interest other customers. This feature is aimed at increasing sales per purchase. With it, Amazon has raised sales by about 35%.
In sum, AAA Application Strategy is a way to develop the applications that can better reach customers in the digital era. To Bluebik’s point of view, the businesses that expect long-term success should draw up strategies for all stages of application development which cover the following:
– Application Concept & Strategy that are based on business goals, the usage that customers want, good user experience and expected return on investment in a new system
– Application User Acquisition which can be done through the Go-to-market Strategy (G2M) – a marketing strategy for the business organizations that want to enter new markets or improve existing products to better impress customers
– Agile Development of applications which speeds up product launches, has quality and stability and can be adjusted to meet the rapidly changing demand of business organizations
– Application Modernization for the better information management which can serve the present demand of business organizations and support future app development and connection to new systems.