What has worked in branding for many decades must be critically examined today. Big players, in particular, can sing a song about it: E-commerce brands live from the fact that they not only constantly adapt to the context of use of the users, but also offer customers a shopping experience that will be remembered forever.
Consumers now spend an average of 69 percent of their media time on the go. That is why brand managers have to realign themselves in 2018 in order to reach end consumers where they spend most of their time today – on their smartphones.
App First: The mobile turnaround 2.0
In the past ten years, the smartphone has developed from a luxury item to a mass medium that is now an integral part of everyday life for modern people. It has become the preferred surf medium – whether on the go or at home. Of the total amount of time we spend on our smartphones on the Internet today, we use an app in 88 percent of the cases and only 12 percent of the time on the mobile web. That’s an average of 3 hours per user per day, and the trend is rising. This is also reflected in the rapid increase in the number of apps installed. The average smartphone user has installed 80 apps on their cell phones these days, half of which they use actively. This number has gone up dramatically in recent years.
App store appearance is a must
Imagine you are looking for a provider on the Internet and cannot find your own website for the company. What impression does that leave you? In any case, this does not necessarily convey the feeling of professionalism, topicality or seriousness. It is similar in times of App First. Companies and especially online shops that cannot be found in the app store simply do not exist in one of the most important channels of our time. This is not just a matter of image, but also a competitive disadvantage. For example, if you search for books today in the iOS App Store as of today, you will not find a corresponding search result because the company does not (yet) have an app in the iOS App Store. For this, the searchers are shown the app from competitor Thalia. The probability,
More and more e-commerce companies have already understood the relevance of an app for their own business model. If you look at the 1,000 largest online shops in Germany according to the EHI, 33 percent have their own app. Although that is already 10 percent more than last year, it also means that 67 percent of all shops do not yet have an app! There will still be some catching up to do here this year. When deciding to launch your own app, the most important thing is the strategic direction. What exactly do you want to achieve with the app introduction?
In recent years, many companies have simply converted the online shop into app format and given users the opportunity to shop with them in this way. This is good because app customers have been shown to shop more and more frequently in a shop and are therefore the more profitable customers in the long term. But shopping in the app is already a must for end users today. The free program is important from a branding perspective. And here it is important to develop app use cases that meet at least one of the three factors: They should be tailored to the mobile context of use, increase the brand experience and increase the interaction with your own brand. The following apps provide good examples of this.
App Best Practices: These brands show how to do it.
1. The Ikea Place app
The Ikea Place app is a good mobile branding example from last year, which shows how you can increase engagement with your own brand through a service app. With the Ikea Place App, you can place Ikea products virtually in your own home. The goal is obvious: a better imagination of how the piece of furniture works in your own four walls. This is not primarily about sales, but about emotionalizing the brand.
Even if it is questionable whether the Ikea Place app will stay on the market in the long term, the app launch has attracted a lot of media attention and positive interaction with the brand – and that is the meaning behind a branding campaign.
2. Prindo Ink Service
Prindo is an online supplier of ink cartridges, toners and printers. With the app of the office supplies specialist, customers can not only view the current fill level of their cartridges on their cell phones at any time, they are also automatically informed as soon as it is time to reorder. The shopping cart is filled automatically and the order only has to be released manually.
This app has a real added value for the user because it makes everyday work easier by ensuring transparency, simplifying work processes and considerably reducing the effort for tasks that are already annoying.
3. Nike Run Club
Nike also succeeds in creating a unique brand experience with its “Nike + Run Club” app, which has even created its own community of brand followers. As a result of documenting their own runs in the app and interacting with other users, the company integrates the app and the brand into the everyday life of the user and thus strengthens brand loyalty.
All three examples have one thing in common: they have a clear brand message and increase both engagement and interaction with the customer. In the past, most app concepts were based on transferring functionalities from the desktop to the app. But in the course of a digital brand strategy, you should do exactly the opposite and ask yourself: What things can you do with an app that bring added value for the user that is not yet available in the brand universe. This is exactly where the challenge – but also the potential for success – lies for brand managers in 2018.