With mobile commerce taking off at an exponential rate, mobile apps could be a useful tool you can leverage on to promote your business.
Brands such as Pizza Hut and eBay have leveraged on mobile applications to successfully grow their businesses by leaps and bounds.
Pizza Hut’s iPhone application generated US$1 million of sales within three months of its launch, m.eBay.com drove US$380 million worth of purchases in 2009. People not only bought books and clothes from eBay but also a Lamborghini, a US$150,000 boat, and a Bentley.
With the many advantages they have over traditional channels, they have changed the way business is conducted
Being at the right place at the right time
Mobile applications such as iPhone apps are right there for you whenever you want to buy something, according to Steve Yankovich, Vice President of Platform Business Solutions and mobile at eBay: “When you have a moment to buy something, where are you and what screen do you have? The whole premise behind mobile commerce is buying during downtimes, such as when you are waiting for a table at a restaurant, between action at your kids’ soccer games, sitting in front of the tube (train) anywhere, anytime. When a customer thinks about a purchase, she can pull the trigger at that moment.”
Being an integral part of one’s daily lives
When a mobile application offers information or tools that make people’s lives easier and more convenient, it becomes part of their daily lives. It might even become indispensable to them one day. The customer loyalty you can build through a mobile application is invaluable.
A good example is the highly functional VaxTrax, an iPhone app by pharmaceutical giant Novartis to help families manage their children’s vaccination schedules. The app tracks vaccinations as they are received, from infancy through adolescence, then tells parents when updates are due. Users can also use the app to log insurance records, and find pharmacies or other locations where flu shots are available.
Using of locational based technology to customize preferences
GPS on mobile phones enables people to identify products and services close to them. Mobile apps will not only allow your business to attract more customers but also to entice them to spend more. Other than a store locator, Kraft’s iFood Assistant contains 7,000 delicious recipes and full-meal shopping lists. With more ideas on how to prepare and economize their meals, this app has succeeded in driving more sales for Kraft.
Furthermore, mobile users can share information easily with their family, friends and even strangers on the internet with a few touches.
Word-of Mouth Recommendations
It is easier to get word-of-mouth recommendations on apps than other channels. For instance, most location-based apps for restaurants and service establishments have a review section. Those with good reviews have undoubtedly attracted more customers to visit them, especially since the potential customers looking for their services are only a street or two away.
Live real time updates
Due to their accessibility, mobile apps are especially suitable for price-sensitive businesses. Mark Beccue, an analyst at ABI Research, praised eBay’s strategic use of mobile commerce: “EBay customers are adamant and very enthusiastic, and the only way to keep up with auctions anytime, anywhere is mobile. Enabling people to keep up with their auctions in real time through untethered commerce was a very clever move by eBay.”
For the same reasons, mobile apps can be used to push promotions and discounts. Customers can be informed almost immediately when these go “live”. They can also react instantly on purchase decisions, without having to drive to a store or switch on a computer. In this way, they are better able to take advantage of any offers that have been made to them.
Deeper customer engagement
Deeper customer engagement can be achieved when apps make things fun for your customers. As can be seen from the clip below, ordering from Pizza Hut through its iPhone app is a highly interactive experience:
Pizza Hut’s iPhone app even comes with a highly addictive game. With its ‘cool’ factor, it is no wonder 100,000 downloads of the app were made within 2 weeks of its launch.