Monday, August 19, 2019

6 Truths You Need to Know Before Launching a Native App

Ben Johnson, SVP, Digital Products
Mobile / Strategy / Technology / Design

If you’re ready to take your customer relationships to the next level, you may be considering developing and launching your own native app. It makes sense. Native apps offer a very effective way to drive customer engagement and loyalty, ultimately boosting average order value (AOV), average revenue per user (ARPU) and life-time value (LTV). 

A personalized, customer-centric experience that takes full advantage of iOS or Android platform features creates a new way to give your customers what they want—the convenience and speed they’ve become accustomed to in the consumer apps they use to check the weather, manage their to-do lists, and keep up with the news.

But what, exactly, goes into designing, building, and launching a successful native app? 

Full disclosure: it’s not easy. 

There are a lot of moving parts. Success requires commitment to a vision, supportive infrastructure, and a willingness to invest both human and financial resources in app development. 

In our recent POV, Unlocking Customer Loyalty with Native Apps, we share detailed, experience-based information about how to develop a winning mobile strategy and roadmap. Some of the most valuable insights appear in a section dedicated to straight talk about the often overlooked realities related to launching a native app:

What It (Really) Takes – 6 Keys to App Success

When considering whether to take on the challenge of launching a native app, it helps to understand some basic truths about what goes into making a successful app: 


1 - Each native app case is unique.

A big part of the work to launch a native app happens long before pixels are pushed and code is written. To maximize your opportunity, you have to spend time on research and strategy so that you can determine if your app is going to fill the right need or solve a meaningful problem for your users. This isn’t the time to make assumptions. Due diligence is necessary to avoid costly retooling later on.


2 - Native apps aren’t typically meant to drive acquisition. 

It’s important to understand the role of a native app in your overall marketing strategy. In most cases, native apps are best for driving engagement and loyalty with your existing customer base. They are not usually a good tool for acquiring new customers. For this reason, native apps are generally most appropriate for companies that have their acquisition funnel figured out and are looking at ways to engage and retain their existing customers with a focus on increasing AOV, ARPU, and LTV.


3 - Exemplary data infrastructure is non-negotiable.

An effective native app runs on seamless connections across multiple databases and systems. Facilitating this kind of omni-channel functionality requires that your data is structured and stored in such a way that it’s easily accessible to multiple parties via well-constructed APIs. 


4 - Testing and analytics are key to long-term success.

With the next-level customer relationship comes an added layer of nuance and complexity that can only be understood through detailed and accurate measurement of usage and behavior. Investing in more advanced testing and analytics capabilities will help ensure that you can be strategic about how you evolve your app experience and functionality.


5 - Discoverability and adoption don’t happen on their own.

The launch of your app is more of a starting line than a finish line. When you’re finally live in the App Store, you need to be ready with a thorough plan to get the word out and drive adoption among your existing customer base.


6 - Successful apps aren’t just about technology. Content matters.

For the best engagement and overall results, you’ll need a strong and sustainable content strategy that’s tailored to your audience and marketing objectives. You’ll need to think about what kinds of content your customers want and need, how frequently they expect to hear from you, which voice and tone will resonate with them, when short-form will work better than long-form, how to incorporate images and other features. 

Ready to learn more? 

Download the full Unlocking Customer Loyalty with Native Apps POV for more about what kind of experience your customers really want, the three phases of iterative app development, and real-world case studies that illustrate the enormous potential of native apps.