Elevate 2021, the Customer Forum from app experience platform, Airship, featured insights and innovations presented by market-leading analysts and professionals from across the globe.
Mobile professionals from the likes of Disneyland Paris, Shell, BBC, Chipotle and Allstate talked through how they have been driving business success through their mobile apps. All sessions are now available for free here and we have drawn some of the key highlights below.
COVID-19 accelerates digital transformation
Speakers described how the pandemic and related lockdowns have accelerated the shift toward mobile apps as a preferred destination for almost everything, propelling brands to sharpen their mobile app experience capabilities.
Airship speakers, including CEO Brett Caine, highlighted the increasingly important role that mobile apps play in our day-to-day lives. Caine cited Airship findings that mobile app audiences from its global customers grew 31 per cent year-over-year in 2020, which was almost twice as fast as 2019 growth.
Renowned tech analyst Benedict Evans explained how the pandemic shifted the internet’s position in the ecommerce funnel. “Because people are now using the internet to decide what to buy… it’s no longer just a price comparison engine. Now, it’s a much more fundamental part of the purchasing journey.”
Apptopia CEO Jonathan Kay shared extraordinary data that revealed the benefits of investing in the mobile app experience to meet ever-increasing customer expectations, as compared to the downside impact of not doing so.
Honesty pays with consumer data use
Consumers are more conscious than ever before of how their data is being utilised. Speakers including Benedict Evans; Airship’s SVP, Technology, Mike Herrick; and, BBC’s Digital Product Manager, Carolyn Letts raised how privacy-centered changes across Apple and Android operating systems underline the importance of allowing their users to easily customise their preferences. It’s a tricky situation: consumers want relevant, customised offers that anticipate their needs. Companies need to collect data in order to achieve this, but consumers are increasingly more reluctant to share. So how do we navigate this complexity?
Yasmin Kouchouk from Disneyland Paris addressed this, stating that significant resources and screen space were devoted to making sure their app made clear to users how specific permissions would benefit their experience in an easy-to-understand, clear and accessible manner.
Carolyn Letts stressed the need to “stay ahead of mobile platform changes and where possible get ahead”. With 20+ BBC apps under her direction, she advised a granular approach to permissions so as not to overwhelm users and retain some of the control as a brand.
Product Manager at OneFootball, Inga Teserskyte noted the importance of user privacy and data sharing being a huge concern of their partners and the all-important balance between utilising customer data to personalise experiences and not bombarding clientele with messaging.
In the right circumstances, personalised yet respectful messages can drive real revenue. Research shows how personalisation can boost revenue by more than 10 per cent and deliver a 10 to 30 per cent increase in marketing-spend efficiency. It certainly makes sense for brands to make investments to achieve this, but they must be tactful in the way they do it.
Loyalty pays big dividends
Loyalty programs played a starring role at the forum, with captivating success stories and case studies from brands like Chipotle, Allstate, ACE Hardware and GetPlus. The evidence overwhelmingly supports the benefits of getting on the right side of the value equation between brands and customers. If brands provide meaningful rewards for customer loyalty, they will benefit. Here are some highlights:
GetPlus COO and CMO Adrian Hoon described how rich and relevant customer data has powered GetPlus’ incredible growth, enabling the Indonesian multi-brand loyalty program to deliver customised rewards and incentives that keep customers engaged, happy and loyal. Hoon explained that “consumers today are willing to share personal data with the brands they love, but in return they expect those brands to reward them and tailor their offerings.” This recognition of an honest value exchange is at the heart of GetPlus’ strategy. With automated, data-driven and personalised messaging, and tailored offers and rewards at every touch point, GetPlus drives more connections and revenue for its hundreds of merchant partners, both online and offline.
Kristen Reinke, CRM Marketing Manager for ACE Hardware, outlined the instrumental role that mobile plays for their loyalty members, allowing ACE to reach these engaged and valuable customers with unique offers, promotions and useful how-to content – all of which are designed to provide significant value.
Chipotle’s highly regarded loyalty program got multiple shout-outs at the event, and not just during our fireside chat with Chipotle. Apptopia’s Jonathan Kay shared data that showed how Chipotle’s loyalty program drives industry-leading app engagement with clear and measurable spikes when Chipotle promotes new and exclusive rewards and features.
More broadly, Apptopia’s data also showed how investing in loyalty translates into higher revenues, reiterating that simply having a loyalty program isn’t enough. Brands that invest in the app experience for their customers – especially their most loyal customers – are primed to see +50 per cent gains in customer growth, time on app, retention, and a significant bump in revenue.
Privacy and platform changes puts apps front and center
Speakers including Benedict Evans, Airship’s Mike Herrick and Brett Caine, and Lindsay Silver from Fox Corporation explained how recent privacy-centred changes to iOS and Android operating systems continue to elevate the importance of providing clear and easy ways to allow for customer preferences within the mobile app and all other customer-facing vehicles.
Lindsay Silver, SVP of Commercial Data & Engineering at Fox talked about how Fox’s family of mobile apps delivers compelling video content that is curated, personalised and contextualised based on real-time analytics derived from collecting and leveraging first-party data and more.
Airship’s Andra Robinson and Ramsey Kail dove into the complex and ever-changing privacy regulatory scenario that exists today across continents and countries. They also described how changes in iOS 15 and Android 12 are impacting brands, and how brands can leverage apps to continue to deliver great user experiences in a world where the user controls preferences for sharing data.
According to Kail, user education and choice are two key components to a successful post-iOS 15 strategy. Brands must educate users on the value potential to them of sharing their data as well as the multiple options available to help them shape their preferences in order to earn their willingness to opt in their preferred experiences.
If you missed the event, you can still access all of the global presentations, panels, roundtables and technical labs for free, on demand, from here.