May 9, 2017

5 Ways to Craft the Ideal App Experience

We’re fresh off our Dallas breakfast event with the Mobile Marketing Association where Bottle Rocket, 7-Eleven, and Urban Airship shared what effective mobile experiences look like and why they matter. We’re still feeling jazzed about the concepts discussed during the event, and had to share five of our favorites.

Click below to watch the entire breakfast conversation or continue reading for our top 5 takeaways from the event.

Every mobile moment is an opportunity

We believe every mobile moment is an opportunity for a brand to connect to users. Between the rapidly changing mobile market and its technology, it can be hard to keep up. But, consumers expect it. Think about your audience – is it customers, employees, partners? Or a combination of these and more? Effective mobile experiences can serve any variety of audiences when developed with their needs in mind.

People want just a few things from their apps

Users want three things: personal, frictionless, contextual mobile experiences. The needs are few, but the apps that win are successful on all fronts. At Bottle Rocket, we build mobile experiences that exceed customer expectations, bringing them relevant and easy-to-use experiences. Companies like Urban Airship help us take it one step further to ensure we appropriately reach customers in the moments that matter with notification-style messages at every step in the customer journey.

Begin with the user

Through ethnographic research and observing mobile metrics, examine the user journey and learn their experience. Where do they encounter friction and what can a mobile experience do to make things easier? Anticipating these needs makes the experience delightful. You know you’ve done something right when the user responds with, “How did they do that?”

Make it easy

Engage users by extending communications beyond the app with push notifications. Don’t just present thoughts, though—provide actionable prompts, then make taking action frictionless. Take users straight to the app or let them handle business right there in the moment.

Say the right thing at the right time

Since most people use an average of three connected devices per day for more than 200 daily mobile moments, forging connections to users can be difficult. Mobile experiences need to be meaningful. Relevant engagements with appropriate frequency (learned through understanding the user and their habits) can put a brand in users’ good graces. Then, once you’ve got their attention, guide them in taking some kind of action.

Bonus trivia!

  • The farthest 84% of millennials place their phone is on their nightstand.
  • On average, people own 6 connected devices, like smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs.
  • Within the first 30 days of downloading an app, 70% of people delete it.

Want to learn more? We’ve got a lot of experience to share. Tell us what you want to know—we love this stuff!

April 6, 2017

App Rating Changes in iOS 10.3 Update

Bottle Rocket builds apps that include a framework for encouraging high ratings. This framework also funnels negative comments away from the App Store. We call this our Bottle Rocket Applause Generator (BRAG). Apple’s latest 10.3 update brings some changes to BRAG. Here’s what to expect.

Previously, we asked users if they liked an app during the mobile experience. If they did, we prompted them to rate it. If they didn't, we requested feedback, which came to us or the client. In iOS 10.3, Apple will now handle interactions that BRAG facilitated. BRAG also allowed us to drive and know when apps are reviewed. In iOS 10.3, we won’t be notified. But, Bottle Rocket will still access and use knowledge of how users interact with our clients’ apps to determine when we’ll ask for ratings. With iOS 10.3, however, our standard messaging won’t redirect comments to clients or Bottle Rocket. Instead, we’ll have to rely on Apple functionality.

That all sounds a little ominous, but we’re excited about the opportunity it affords our clients. Another change iOS 10.3 brings is one we’ve been asking for the last 5 years—responding directly to user reviews. Responding to common user problems can turn negative reviews into opportunities for education and lessen impacts of negative reviews.

We’ve already done the development on our end to support our clients and allow them to utilize the update’s capabilities. We’ll work with clients to determine the best strategy for handling this process.

We’re ready for 10.3, and so are our clients’ apps.

February 14, 2017

QSR Mobile Experiences Customers Want

When our partnership with Chick-fil-A bolstered the most successful B2C restaurant loyalty program in the U.S., we traced what created the special something that compelled 4 million users to download their app. It was a combination of a native, custom-built app with a thoughtful mobile strategy. In this post, we’re looking at one aspect of loyalty success: the mobile experience.

The quick and easy answer a lot of brands employ to get their loyalty program in front of customers is a pre-made, out-of-the-box app. But, if you’re serious about accelerating the growth of your quick service restaurant (QSR), you’ll need to deliver a customer experience as rich and unique as your dining experience.

Build Customer Loyalty

If you’re still unsure about loyalty apps improving your QSR brand, think of your customers. You can simplify their orders and payment, ultimately impacting your restaurant experience. When you reduce customer friction in-store, they come back. According to Paytronix, that can mean a 4% increase in revenue from a 20% increase in return customer sales. As younger generations develop brand loyalty, your earning potential through a mobile experience also grows. Millennials are more than twice as likely to pay higher prices if they earn rewards.

Placing a logo in a pre-built template may get your loyalty app out there quickly, but now you face another dilemma. What is unique to your brand in the hands of customers? If you’re using a template, your customers will be opening an app with the same interface, providing the same experience as their competitors. Your brand is worth more when the mobile experience is unique.

Develop Native Apps

We know increased average ticket size is a primary reason for wanting a branded loyalty app. Just look at Taco Bell, whose app-based ticket size were approximately 30% higher than those in store. But there are more benefits to your business than more money (though more money is pretty sweet).

When a mobile app adds another sales channel, the customer experience and your backend operations align. Customers can place and pick up orders without cook time affecting wait time…with the right app, of course. Bottle Rocket develops natively for each device our partners’ customers prefer. Since we work closely with brands during development, we build custom apps to address present and future business and customer needs. This sounds like a given for a mobile experience, but not every major brand boasts a custom native app. A recent study revealed of the top 100 chain restaurant brands, 34 don’t provide a native app for customers. More than 10 other brands’ apps were used so sparingly that they didn’t qualify for the study.

Think Beyond the App

We’re successful in building native loyalty apps for QSR partners, but we’ve been around long enough to know customers will soon demand other mobile experiences to simplify their lives.

Ordering online from home or the office is great, but from the parking lot in a connected physical space could be better. We’re also developing voice integration, so ordering anywhere involves less labor for customers. As we’ve learned in 2016 from working with our international partners, 27% of customers wanted faster payment and delivery from their QSR brands. To us, mobile means more than phones and tablets, so we’re utilizing car interfaces in drive-through or delivery scenarios to address both customer needs.

Okay, Now What?

QSR brands need mobile experiences to galvanize loyalty programs. If they want to really make an impact, those experiences need to be custom and natively built. You don’t have to take our word for it, though. Just look at your own brand’s success. It certainly wasn’t built by imitating another store’s approach. Ask for a mobile experience as unique as you to give users what they want now and in the future. Download our three principles for QSR mobile experiences to learn how to make that happen.

While you’re at it, fill out the form below to read our approach to mobile loyalty too!

April 8, 2016

The Key to Retaining App Users

By 2017, mobile users will be providing personalized data streams for more than 100 apps and services every day. Want to be one of those 100? Karen Pattani-Hason, Head of Agency & Strategic Alliances NAM at Urban Airship, shares some tips on how to build genuine user loyalty.

 

5 Methods for Retaining App Users

1. Draw users in with a welcome series.

Offering users a promotion code in your app’s welcome series gets a 300% greater redemption rate than sending the same discount via email.

2. Push, but don’t be pushy.

Apps with push notifications experience 4 times as much engagement as those without, and double the retention.

3. Target your notifications.

Targeting push notifications can increase user engagement by up to 7 times. For example, even one attribute like location can boost customer response by 293%.

 4. Don’t underestimate the power of habits.

“Rituals drive value and repeat visits,” says Pattani-Hason. Just look at the Starbucks app, which has trained customers to expect a “pick of the week” every Tuesday, bringing them back week after week for something they genuinely value.

5. Align your needs and goals with your customer.

What is the value exchange in your app, and where is it happening? “Balance the give and the get,” says Pattani-Hason. “It’s not mobile first, it’s consumer first.”

 

Contact us today to learn more about retaining app users and increasing loyalty.

 

May 13, 2015

Key Takeaways for Mobile App Loyalty from SPG

Loyalty and reward programs deliver loads of expected perks. But what about the total mobile app user experience? Surely more is possible with a loyalty mobile app than pushing coupons and logging reward points.

Following the path of true customer value offers rewards of a different kind. For both customers and businesses alike.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts is a great example of a brand that demonstrated that a user journey focus is a real linchpin to success. Such an approach was inherent in the development and deployment of SPG Keyless, the Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®) loyalty and rewards mobile app.

SPG Keyless is the hospitality industry’s first truly mobile and keyless entry system. In essence, it allows guests to use their smartphones as a key at Aloft, Element and W Hotels around the world. In addition to a smoother, more efficient hotel experience, the app ultimately resulted in a revolutionized user experience.

 

Here are three key takeaways on loyalty app success we can learn from Starwood Hotels & Resorts:

Takeaway #1: Your customer holds the answer

The Starwood team surveyed travelers and guests. The survey revealed two key benefits of major importance with users. First, personalization and customization. Users wanted control over their own individual room preferences, and the SPG® mobile app delivered down to the last detail. Want a room with a view? No problem. Need to be close to the elevator? You got it.

The second desired benefit was saving time. Transforming a smartphone into a room key at over 1000 locations in 100 different countries accomplished exactly that. Oh, did we mention it also gives you the ability to skip front desk check-in? That’s a time saver we can all appreciate.

Takeaway #2: Leverage inherit assets

The SPG mobile app held a major advantage over others in the space: the Starwood-owned physical locations themselves. This proved an ideal environment for beta testing. It also provided a wealth of feedback from users, guests, travelers and the hospitality staff (associates) as well.

All of these factors played a vital role in the utility the SPG mobile app ultimately delivered. In fact, freeing associates of many transactional duties helped them become true brand ambassadors for Starwood and its related properties.

Takeaway #3: Lead, follow or get out of the way

Starwood could have taken the safe route. Offered some nice amenities and simply “me too” the app design. They didn’t. And we as the developers of the mobile app didn’t either. That doesn’t mean there weren’t obstacles or challenges. There were plenty. Security issues had to be considered, and an extensive process for cataloging room amenities had to be developed, to name a few. In short, the SPG team delivered far more than just a loyalty app.

They provided a key brand difference and reason to choose Starwood over other properties.

 

What’s your experience (be honest) with loyalty and rewards programs?

Share your feedback in the comments on what’s worked or what frustrates you. (See we can do surveys too!) Need guidance on your next mobile app design project? Contact us and let’s talk.

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