How to Reach Customers When Your App Isn’t Enough

This article originally appeared in Total Retail and is published here with permission.

When you consider the way that people use apps today, the numbers illustrate some serious challenges:

  • After downloading an app and using it one time, about one in four mobile users abandon it.
  • Some 90 percent of users abandon or delete apps within the first 30 days of downloading them.
  • Users concentrate almost 85 percent of their app time on just five apps.

Despite data like this, many brands still have app tunnel vision and continue to rely on apps as the centerpiece of their mobile marketing strategy. And as these numbers show, marketers do this at the risk of reaching just a small portion of their customers, disenchanting their customers, or, worse, losing customers altogether. Recently, a different approach has emerged that moves beyond the app to enable companies to reconnect with customers.

A More Dynamic Mobile Experience
Cross-channel mobile marketing is a fresh approach to engage with customers at a time of stagnating app usage. This approach takes advantage of the full range of mobile channels, such as text messaging, push notification, email, mobile wallet, and social media, and draws on each of their strengths to reach customers in different ways. The result is a more rounded and dynamic mobile experience that complements the app rather than replaces it.

While some companies already integrate cross-channel marketing, most still haven’t realized the opportunity at stake. Syniverse was recently involved in two studies to gain quantifiable perspective on some of the richest areas of cross-channel marketing.

Our research revealed that, above all, mobile wallet and text messaging are two underutilized channels that offer companies a huge opportunity to engage customers. As app usage continues to stagnate, mobile wallet and text messaging will serve as valuable channels that brands must have a strategy for to more dynamically engage their customers. Let’s take a closer look at each, including the data behind them.

The Emergence of Mobile Wallet
Although it’s been available on most phones for years now, mobile wallet has been an underused tool that has emerged as a well-suited complement to apps. With its unique capability to deliver coupons, rewards, tickets and other items straight to a user’s mobile device, at a place where they can easily be retrieved, mobile wallet offers incredible potential to open new levels of customer engagement. And our research points to some promising trends.

Based on research we conducted among consumers in the U.S. and U.K., and based on an annual mobile consumer report made by our strategic partner, Vibes, we uncovered that in the U.S., 53 percent of consumers who have mobile wallet use it at least once a week, and in the U.K, 34 percent do.

This receptiveness to using mobile wallet presents an important cross-channel marketing opportunity for companies to integrate mobile wallet as a powerful tool to get customers inside a location, increase their purchases, and entice them to return through loyalty rewards. For example, a shoe store looking to encourage frequent customers to visit could send a coupon for a special discount that could be stored in their mobile wallet. This offering could also include a notification pushed directly to the lock screen upon triggering by a geotag to remind customers who are nearby a participating location.

A Foundational Channel
Text messaging continues to be the backbone of mobile engagement and a crucial component of cross-channel marketing. In a fragmented mobile world of multiple technologies and service providers, only messaging offers a ubiquitous channel through which all mobile users and companies can universally communicate.

Even better, 98 percent of text messages are read upon receipt, which opens a number of possibilities for mobile marketing.

One example is the receiving of text alerts with updates on orders from companies. This type of transactional messaging has become more sought after by customers according to Vibes’ mobile consumer report, in which 75 percent of consumers ranked transactional information as among their top reasons for opting in to notifications, a jump from 59 percent in the 2016 report.

Although it may be seen as one of the oldest and most basic channels, messaging remains a ubiquitous channel that marketers should place priority on in a cross-channel marketing campaign.

The app has been a mainstay of mobile marketing, but changing mobile consumer patterns and stagnating app usage now call for a new strategy. Cross-channel marketing offers a fresh approach, and as the unique capabilities of such channels as mobile wallet and messaging show, it’s an approach that brands must begin taking advantage of to more dynamically engage their customers.

Kevin Davis is a former Senior Director of Customer Success at Syniverse.



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