The top five pitfalls to avoid when building a mobile business – Part 2

Last month we looked at the perils of underestimating the importance of mobile in business today. Here are two more traps many people fall into when creating mobile apps and other mobile marketing strategies, and how to avoid them.

Pitfall #2: The “build it and they will come” strategy

When it comes to mobile apps, assuming your SME customers will automatically download your app if it exists is a naïve approach to building a mobile strategy. Today’s consumers are flooded with choice; 3.6 million apps available on Google Play and 2.1 million in the Apple Store.1 However, “the average number of apps used is holding steady at 27 apps per month. And 49 per cent of smartphone users download zero new mobile apps per month.”2 Making your way into one of those 27 coveted spots on a user’s phone is an uphill battle – one fraught with potentially high churn and uninstall rates. When looking at travel apps specifically, almost two-thirds of users are lost after 30 days.3

So, what attracts people to download and engage with their mobile apps? And how do you maintain “stickiness” to keep from getting bumped off their phones?

The answer: Apps need to be fast, useful, and have a multitude of features that give users a reason to continue engaging. Mobile users want their apps to provide them with practical and useful information, in the travel industry that’s features such as airline check-in and mobile boarding passes. They rely on their apps to get convenient and fast information anywhere. Offering options like’s low bandwidth mode allows users to get a faster response from their mobile app.

And brand loyalty means next to nought, if the experience isn’t up to scratch. While some travellers admit that loyalty programs from hotel chain/airline does motivate app usage, travellers tend to reduce their app usage if the user experience is limited.

It is therefore important to think about how consumers can benefit from your app beyond primary functions, such as searching and booking for hotels. For example, the Expedia mobile app comes with useful in-trip features such as directions to your hotel, flight status alerts, checkout times and ability to access your travel details offline.

For an SME without the global budgets to invest in a dedicated app, experts advise that business focus their efforts on instead building a responsive mobile web and look to leverage third-party apps.

Apps are being used, but you need to be strategic and smart about investing in an app so your marketing dollars are working in your favour.

Pitfall #3: Misunderstanding mobile usage behaviours

This is one of the most common mistakes businesses make. While many understand that mobile has limited real estate, navigating what does and doesn’t resonate with users including what content to prioritise on mobile can be tricky. When it comes to booking a hotel, we know that on average, 30-35 images are typically viewed before a transaction occurs and photos generate more than half of the engagement. This is followed by availability wizard at 18 per cent, engagement on maps at 12 per cent and reviews at seven per cent.4

Given today’s mobile-dominant landscape, businesses should consider designing for the smaller screen size first. If you can get the information right on the small screen size then expand to desktop, you’ll likely meet the needs of the vast majority of your consumer base.

We have found that intuitive icons rather than descriptive words allow you to provide more in a smaller space, enabling mobile users to navigate and find what they need easily.

Mobile users are increasingly embracing mobile payment solutions. They not only use the expected credit cards and direct debit, but embrace conveniences of e-wallets like Apple Pay and PayPal. But localisation and choice are key to reaching mobile customers. If you are a local business marketing to the world, look to leverage the technological investment of global players as your eCommerce platform.

Look for apps that include multiple e-wallet payment options such as Masterpass, JCB, Alipay and Paysbuy and/or offer customers the choice to pay by installments, via IBP or with loyalty points.

Alejandro Moxey, Director – Market Management Australia, Expedia Group

4 Based on Expedia Group US mobile web shopper trends, TTM ending Dec 2016

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