Businesses focus on three main concepts; to increase sales, improve efficiency levels and establish customer loyalty, Ispahany (2018). Companies are continuously launching branded mobile applications, aiming to reach new customers and engage with existing ones, Boyd et al. (2019) explains. Establishing a loyal customer base provides the company with a competitive advantage by allowing them to attract new customers and retain existing ones with the sole aim of building long-term relationships. Loyal customers account for 20% more sales, in comparison to companies that lack a loyal customer base and the author explains that apps offer one of the most successful communication channels when engaging with customers. Another way to form long-term relationships with customers is by developing a branded app that perfectly portrays the company’s brand name and image, constantly reminding the user of their positive attributes towards the brand, Peng et al. (2014).
This blog aims to provide an accurate guideline towards developing a successful branded app, through the consideration and evaluation of a wide range of academic research.
Guidance on the Development of a Successful App|
A lot of research has been conducted aiming to determine the correct approach when developing an app. The following have been commonly determined to be the most significant factors affecting the efficiency of apps:
- Branded Applications have been highly considered by firms due to their increased effectiveness. Bellman et al. (2011) believe this is because branded applications portray the brand’s identity through the application’s name, logo and throughout the user’s experience. The researchers claim that there are higher levels of user engagement compared to other applications. This results to users developing positive attitudes towards the brand and increasing the likelihood of being persuaded by the messages conveyed in the app. Thus, apps are considered to be one of the most powerful advertising approaches developed.
Peng et al. (2014, p.1131) state that ‘companies hope that consumers’ past engagement and experience with the brand can influence their consumption behaviors in mobile app markets’. The researchers explain that ‘companies which launch their branded apps need to take advantage of the established brand name and continually focus on promoting their brand image, thus arousing consumers’ feelings of love and self-enhancement toward the app’.
- A High-quality Product is expected by all app users. Wang et al. (2019) explained that one of the main qualities of apps, is to portray a high-quality product. Quality is correlated to the extent that the consumer’s needs are satisfied. These can either be objective or subjective. Objective quality is measurable and relies on the technical features of an application, compared to subjective quality which is affected by the consumer’s opinion on the overall excellence. The researchers found that if the products and services offered in an application, fulfill the customer’s expectations, they are more likely to view the transaction as a valuable one. Consequently, it is also predictable that if consumers cannot achieve their main objective they will not be satisfied, suggesting that system quality is vital in the development of applications. The factors affecting the customer’s perception on the application will dictate their intention to reuse the specific application and deliver eWOM.
- Multiple Touchpoints increase engagement, according to Boyd et al. (2019). Apps are developed specifically with multiple touchpoints during the prepurchase, purchase and postpurchase phases of customer journeys. These interactions positively affect returning customers and result to an increase sales.
- Well Designed apps that consider various design qualities offer a more unique user experience, Chen (2018) explains. Mobility within pre-purchase and during purchase activities is necessary as it increases consumers’ power. Mobile commerce enable recurring purchasing performances through various devices that access apps including smartphones, tablets, notebooks and many more. Mobility in shopping ensures customers limitless time and location during purchasing activities, eliminating restraints.
- Habitual Routines are necessary to prevent consumers from terminating their engagement with the brand through the use of a specific app. A company has to design apps by incorporating habitual routines that require the consumer to interact with the app on a regular basis. These must occur unnoticeably, without pressuring the customer to continuously use the app. Once using the app has become a habit for the user, they will develop positive attributes towards the brand and the product, and will be more likely to continue using the app and complete sales, Chen (2018) explains.
Dennison et al. (2013) identified several risk factors that may cause customers to not download an application or discontinue using them. Primarily, consumers expressed the necessity for efficient and convenient applications that do not require too much battery power or memory space, and are not too complicated or time-consuming. Moreover, highly credible and accurate information is expected and absence of this is not tolerated. Similarly, privacy and security are of high concern to the consumers. Furthermore, Biel et al. (2010) explain that the development of an application should be based on the consumers’ requirements.
Overall, an application must comply to the needs of the targeted customer and the aim of the company. Guidelines such as high quality and branded apps that are well designed and develop habitual routines have been identified as the determinants of a successful application. Considering these and the potential risk involved, a company will create a unique and efficient mobile app.
Bellman, S., Potter, R.F., Treleaven-Hassard, S., Robinson, J.A. & Varan, D. (2011), “The Effectiveness of Branded Mobile Phone Apps”, Journal of Interactive Marketing, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 191-200.
Biel, B., Grill, T. & Gruhn, V. (2010), “Exploring the benefits of the combination of a software architecture analysis and a usability evaluation of a mobile application”, The Journal of Systems & Software, vol. 83, no. 11, pp. 2031-2044.
Boyd, D.E., Kannan, P.K. & Slotegraaf, R.J. (2019), “Branded Apps and Their Impact on Firm Value: A Design Perspective”, Journal of Marketing Research, vol. o56, no. 1, pp. 76-88.
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Chen, H. (2018), “What drives consumers’ mobile shopping? 4Ps or shopping preferences?”, Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 797-815.
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[Accessed 28th March 2019]
Dennison, L., Morrison, L., Conway, G. & Yardley, L. (2013), “Opportunities and challenges for smartphone applications in supporting health behavior change: Qualitative study”, Journal of Medical Internet Research, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. e86.
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Peng, K., Chen, Y. & Wen, K. (2014), “Brand relationship, consumption values and branded app adoption”, Industrial Management and Data Systems, vol. 114, no. 8, pp. 1131-1143.
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Wang, Y., Wang, W., Tseng, T.H., Shih, Y. & Chan, P. (2019), “Developing and validating a mobile catering app success model”, International Journal of Hospitality Management, vol. 77, pp. 19-30.
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