Monday, October 03, 2016 5:07:35 PM

Without a doubt, consumers are increasingly using mobile devices for everything from shopping to travel planning. Yet, the level and type of engagement varies for different products and services, and brands benefit from learning which mobile site and app features influence customer behavior. By collecting real-time data, brands can refine their marketing strategies to stay connected to shoppers through multiple stages of the consumer journey.

Site optimization is only possible when brands know why and how consumers use mobile apps. A recent study tracked how mobile users in the United Kingdom interact with apps in three different product categories: retail, finance and travel. The study showed that businesses can improve their sales funnels by promoting features that encourage shoppers to routinely use branded apps for research and planning.

Retail Marketing With Mobile Apps

In the study, apps in the retail sector were most competitive and had the highest rate of abandonment. Over a 30-day period, 34 percent of retail app users made no purchases, while 51 percent spent £100 or less. In a market flooded with retail apps for both broad and niche shopping, 44 percent of UK shoppers use them daily. Most users have multiple retail apps installed at once, increasing the challenge of building brand loyalty.

Fortunately, the retail audience was also the easiest to regain, as customers are always on the prowl for great deals and quick methods of comparison shopping. Browsing and reading reviews are the top uses for retail apps, and consumers are more likely to increase their interaction if an app offers exclusive benefits, such as discounts and recommendations. In fact, consumers valued apps that retain preferences, helping them find relevant products faster.

For brands, retail apps provide crucial opportunities to drive buying habits. Roughly 61 percent of UK shoppers used mobile apps to browse product selections, 45 percent made purchases, and more than 20 percent researched products before visiting a store. Today's customers want a convenient, centralized hub where they can find out what they need, understand the benefits of a product and gain real-world insight from fellow buyers. They also want to stay up-to-date on the latest deals without a lengthy search. Brands that cover all these touchpoints create an uninterrupted pipeline that encourages customers to make a purchasing decision on the spot.

Reinforcing Brand Loyalty With Finance Apps

Similar to retail products, finance apps are used by 44 percent of UK consumers. However, the market is much smaller, and most users only download one or two apps. Security is still a top concern for the majority of consumers, and they are more comfortable with completing retail purchases than banking transactions on mobile devices. Approximately 36 percent of users performed transactions, while the remainder primarily checked for status updates or made payments.

As a result, brand marketers should promote apps as convenience tools to complement their regular websites and services. While infrequent, transactions in finance apps tended to be high-value, making it worthwhile for businesses to provide a full dashboard of account tools. At the same time, attract customers with money-management features that let them access real-time data on the go.

Provide a Seamless Experience With Travel Apps

In the travel sector, customers regularly used mobile sites and apps, but showed a slight preference for the latter. With that in mind, travel brands must offer a seamless, positive experience across both media, ensuring customers get the information, deals and payment options they're looking for. The good news is travel brands have the unique advantage of drawing users who already have a favorable opinion of the company. Most users who downloaded travel apps were acting on word-of-mouth referrals or desired further engagement with the brand.

Much like finance products, travel apps aren't typically used for transactions, but customers make substantial purchases when they decide to spend. To keep the travel audience interested, provide apps that include price comparisons, loyalty programs, holiday ideas, discounts and customer reviews. Users specifically value location-based information to streamline the planning process, so gain loyalty by tracking their personal preferences and delivering the most up-to-date data from a wide range of geographic regions.

No matter where brands do business, knowing the audience is the key to growing revenue and boosting market share. To find out how to target your messages to local audiences, contact the LA Times today to learn about our multimedia marketing strategies.

Categories: Marketing Tips, Marketing Trends

Tags: marketing tips, marketing