GUEST COMMENT Better together: Appy customers demand integration – and sales are the reward

Overall mobile app use is plateauing in Europe. According to research by Adobe Digital Insights, mobile app installs are down by 5% since 2014, and – if the market follows

trends set in the US, as is likely – the appetite for apps could further decline. For brands seeking loyalty and repeat visits – that’s rather dire news, right?

Not at all. Before you go dropping your apps in disgust and running for the hills, there’s something even more noteworthy in the report, and that’s the implication that apps aren’t dead – they just need to ensure they provide the most utility possible to get to and remain on a consumer’s phone.

John Watton, EMEA marketing director at Adobe, said: “Five in ten apps are still used more than ten times after download, showing that brands still have a large, captive mobile audience and an opportunity to capitalise on this usage. If marketers get mobile apps right, they can be crucial in boosting repeat visits and loyalty. With this in mind, it is critical for brands to look at ways of making the mobile app and browsing experience more compelling and relevant for their consumers, whether through more personalised experiences or with the integration of new technologies such as mobile wallets or location beacons.”

So how do we compound utility and ease? The race for increasingly seamless in-app customer journeys has developed a second leg – the race for the simplest integrated journeys. That is not just additional features, it’s app to app journeys, or app within app, or indeed other hybrid solutions that ensure users can move freely, transact with ease and want to return. Many building apps with firm borders have been forced to stop and collaborate, having listened. Or they should have done.

A year or two ago, you might have opened a restaurant app to look for somewhere to take your significant other. Then, perhaps, you booked a cab using a second app. Now the user is on a journey towards integrating that process, early adopters now, the masses next. And the user is demanding that ease of use. Failure to adapt and integrate will see strict borders become a hurdle it is no longer necessary to jump.

Look at Quidco’s audience, a highly engaged consumer group on the hunt for value every time they buy, whether that’s new trainers, a holiday or a chicken tikka masala. Catering for those who want to do so via mobile rather than desktop is a must and the capabilities of our new app are allowing us to greatly improve the fluidity of integrated experience between complementary app services.

This is something that has massive incremental benefits for Quidco and our partners. Our integration with hungryhouse is a perfect example of this flow working, with both sides collaborating to provide a seamless app-to-app experience, and reaping the rewards.

The shift to app-to-app integration versus mobile web flow has driven more traffic and, importantly, efficient conversion, with nearly one third of those tapping actually purchasing, compared to one in ten from other affiliate channels. And that ease of use is pushing up repeat custom after the first purchase.

And it isn’t a case of just moving transactions from desktop to mobile. The rise of app-to-app Quidco-to-hungryhouse transactions are instead adding to overall sales, not just opening up another channel for the same purchases.

With hungryhouse, Uber, Groupon, Hotels.com and others, we are seeing the breakdown of app borders benefitting the user, delivering high app-to-app footfall and transaction figures.

More people than ever are willing to convert on mobile, and a major part of that is the transition towards trusted apps, and between those apps. Indeed, a mobile commercial strategy in 2017 would have to be questioned if it relied on mobile browsers alone. To flourish, as we’ve seen, it’s imperative that we embrace app integration. You’re not going to whistle that symphony alone.

And why wouldn’t a modern brand want to be part of this journey? Consider this a push notification: We all have to meet the mark. No matter how loyal the customer, their loyalty simply doesn’t stretch to retailers offering a poor user experience.

Hurdles to purchase will not be entertained by consumers with quickly evolving expectations, but get the app-to-app integration right and it will be very much appreciated.

Andy Oldham is managing director of cashback site Quidco