The digital revolution is impacting businesses through mobile apps more than any other medium. Looking at some of 2017’s mobile marketing success stories, we can see that many businesses were able to increase their sales and revenues due to the targeting of mobile audiences.
As global smartphone usage continues to grow globally, marketing success in 2018 will heavily depend upon the successful commercialisation of mobile apps.
From mobile-friendly to mobile-first, marketers are now rethinking, which are their most important digital channels. A study by Smart Insights showed that mobile marketing was one of the top-four digital marketing techniques in 2017.
According to Adobe Mobile Maturity Survey, around 80 percent of marketing decision-makers rank mobile apps as very or extremely important. And for 2018 we definitely expect the continuation of the growth of mobile, with more and more companies competing to deliver exceptional customer experiences through their mobile apps.
Mobile boom is real
According to Statista, the overall number of mobile phone users is expected to grow to 4.77 billion in 2017 and 4.93 billion in 2018.
It is expected that there will be 197 billion mobile app downloads in 2017 compared to 149 billion in 2016. And as mobile app downloads will increase year after year for the next few years, creating a native mobile app for your business will become considerably less optional, it will become the price of entry.
There are numerous digital trends that contribute to the goal of driving sales, customer engagement and loyalty through mobile apps. Let’s take a look at the some of the most important trends to keep tabs on.
#1 Mobile Payments
With the introduction of Apple Pay and Google Wallet, customers are more and more engaged in online shopping through mobile apps. According to the report by Juniper Research, there were around 1.5 billion mobile wallets in use in 2017, and this number is expected to grow significantly in 2018.
And while we are talking about the rise of commercial transactions that are done on smartphones, corresponding changes in consumer behaviour is quite clear. The widespread adoption of smartphones has fueled immersive shopping trends. Which means retailers must aim to optimise their mobile shopping experience accordingly. Mobile app development being the best way to provide seamless m-commerce experiences.
For example, the US retail giant Target recently launched its own mobile payments system that allows Target shoppers to check out using their smartphone, and thus making checkout easier and faster than ever – up to four times faster than other payment types.
#2 Augmented Reality apps
Augmented reality (AR) apps help companies drive an exciting customer experience with the help of innovative technology, aimed to boost consumer engagement and loyalty and increase sales.
AR allows brands present their products and services in real-time with the help of a visual experience. For example, a popular apparel brand Gap has developed a DressingRoom app, which uses augmented reality to let shoppers try on clothes virtually and remotely, without having to come to a store.
Another AR solution was recently presented by beauty retailer Sephora. Its Virtual Artist mobile app lets consumers explore different beauty styles by digitally overlaying Sephora products on top of selfies.
One of the most interesting example in 2017 was an AR app developed by the Heathrow Airport called ‘Around the World with Mr. Adventure’. Customers can use smartphone cameras to scan ‘digital badges’ hidden throughout the airport buildings, to unlock the world famous Mr. Men and Little Miss characters. This app was developed to drive engagement and bring new experiences for passengers of the airport.
The above examples show that creating interactive experiences with the help of Augmented Reality apps is becoming an important part of the digital marketing efforts that many brands can use to drive sales, increase customer engagement and loyalty.
#3 Virtual Reality apps
Along with AR, Virtual Reality (VR) helps marketers promote the products removing limitations of space and create immersive experiences with customers. We expect this will result in more brands implementing VR commerce into their marketing strategies in the near future.
With the help of VR, businesses can create more personalised customer experiences and bring their marketing efforts to the next level.
In retail, for example, VR allows marketers to showcase a product in virtual showrooms without need physical space, which will totally transforming how people shop. It will also change the way companies think about stores of the future. As an example, Ikea recently launched its online virtual reality store, which allows customers to walk the store, browse, make purchases without leaving the couch.
Even though VR commerce is still in its very early stages, many brands are already trying to reach early adopters. According to a recent study by L.E.K. Consulting, 70 percent of those surveyed said they were strongly interested in virtual shopping, where customers can use VR headsets to shop in virtual stores.
Virtual Reality helps marketers promote the products removing limitations of space and create immersive experiences with customers.Click to tweet
Digital marketing is constantly changing due to technological advancements, for now, mobile apps have become the game changers. Mobile usage and engagement will continue to grow over the next years, pushing more and more companies to create mobile apps to increase sales and engagement with their customers. According to the Adobe Digital Index research, around 92 percent of respondents consider their smartphones to be their primary device for all types of interactions with the brands, to search for products and make purchases.
Mobile apps need to be both engaging and unique to capture and retain customers’ attention and make shopping seamless and enjoyable. This is where technological advances open up new opportunities for marketers. Many brands are already using AR and VR solutions as a part of their aggressive digital innovation efforts to drive sales.