There’s a common misconception about the app world: Some believe that downloads are the only metric that matters. That’s rarely the case. In fact, downloads are usually where the real mobile commerce challenges begin — especially for retailers.
People used to get really excited about downloads as a key metric, says Bobby Emamian, CEO of Prolific Interactive, a company that provides mobile strategy, design and development. “Now it’s engagement. The time spent in an app is a good measure of engagement.”
It’s an unfortunate truth that many apps are downloaded once and never used again; in general, fickle consumers tend to flit from app to app, and usage for any one of them tends to plummet within a few weeks.
Prolific has developed apps for customers including online retailers JackThreads and ModCloth, lifestyle pub Thrillist, Absolut and the NCAA/Big East. Emamian says that the main metric his agency looks at is monthly active users.
“If half your users are coming back, that’s good,” says Emamiam. “If only 1,000 out of 1 million are coming back, you have to evaluate what’s wrong.”
The problem could be with content: Does the app have a consistently fresh supply of content, whether that’s new goods for sale, time-sensitive articles, games, or coupons? Whatever your app offers, it’s crucial to keep those offers coming.
Another issue that sends app users packing, according to Emamian, is poor user experience. He suggests analyzing whether users typically leave at a certain point. Are there any technical hiccups driving customers away?
This is especially important for retailers: Mobile commerce requires speed and performance. Emamian says that one area where mobile commerce providers frequently fail is the checkout process. Too often a retailer builds an app or mobile site but refers customers to the standard web infrastructure to complete their purchase.
Retailers should either provide mobile checkout or invest the time in optimizing their web shopping carts, he advises. “Checkout should be the highest priority.”
For this reason, conversion rate is an important metric: What percentage of users converts into customers or potential customers? Conversion usually is thought of as making a purchase, but there are other conversion metrics, such as registration, booking an appointment for a sales call, or joining an email list.
Emamian advises companies to compare conversion rates on mobile apps to those on desktop. Generally, he says, revenue per user will be greater on mobile devices. You may have fewer mobile users, but they are more likely to be early adopters willing to spend money.
Finally, he advises, give the people what they want. If your customers are asking for certain things, he says, “Fulfill those demands and start to see the growth.”
To understand customer demand, read their emails, provide multiple ways they can provide feedback, and watch Twitter like a hawk, since customers often offer suggestions and ask for help via social media.
“Do the basics really well, provide what users want,” Emamian says. “Then, allow for it to naturally grow. If users are demanding things, that’s when you know it’s time to roll out a feature. Stay disciplined to doing what you are really good at.”Comments