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4 tips for breathing new life into your mobile commerce app

June 14, 2012

By W. Sean Ford

Many pioneering innovations have fallen short of expectations, especially in times of accelerated development. Even brands such as Apple have had their fair share of missteps before reaching their ultimate goal – remember the Apple Newton?

Many marketers and retailers have faced similar challenges surrounding their mobile commerce application solution. As smartphone and tablet adoption soared from what seems like the first nanosecond of their introduction, many brands’ natural response was to scramble to find a way to make these devices generate revenue through the development and promotion of apps.

Some brands succeeded on their first attempt, but many others fell short of their early high expectations, and the poor little app was judged by its inability to engage, convert and drive revenue.

But it would be unwise to call it quits on these first iterations.

Stepping it up
Mobile apps are, in fact, an important part of the entire mobile commerce ecosystem, but they have to be deployed strategically, with a firm understanding of the results they can deliver.

With a little creativity and strategic thinking, you can make your mobile commerce app meet and exceed its expectations.

Here are four tips to keep in mind when breathing new life into your mobile commerce app:

1. Make your app a concept store. Design your app to be dynamic and high-energy, displaying your brand with a sense of fun and play. Show customers you are excited about your company’s next great idea.

2. Keep screen real estate value high. Consumers often consider where the next app they download will fit on their screen, and how important it will be to them. By keeping your content fresh and compelling consumers are less likely to move it to the “low rent district” on devices or even worse, delete it.

3. Understand your app’s role in your ecommerce ecosystem. Do not rely too heavily on the app to support your overall marketing efforts. Know what it can reasonably contribute, and understand how other elements of your marketing strategy can work with it hand in hand.

To make the app effective, it must support a specific and focused result, and then marketing activity and campaigns must promote it, incent people to put it on their devices and, in some cases, drive purchase or action.

4. Provide for the intersection of engagement and impulse. If ecommerce is a goal, the app must be able to link back to the browser to allow for seamless and immediate impulse purchases. Offline-only apps will never convert to meaningful bottom-line results.

TABLETS, SMARTPHONES, PCs, Websites, social media and apps each need to be optimized as key parts of an integrated system. They each have their own unique capabilities to drive engagement and revenue in the rapidly evolving ecommerce space.

Although your app may have initially fallen short of your early exuberant expectations, understanding and following these simple steps will help your app become the high-performing sales and marketing tool you need it to be.

W. Sean Ford is chief operating officer and chief marketing officer of Zmags, Boston. Reach him at  

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