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Consumers must see an app as valuable, otherwise companies that created the app are going to see high uninstall rates, according to Carl Theobald, CEO of FollowAnalytics, a mobile communication, automation and engagement firm. eMarketer’s Sean Creamer spoke with Theobald about how brands are leveraging their branded apps to provide value that awards consumer loyalty.
eMarketer: How do you see brands influencing consumers on their path to purchase in regards to mobile payments?
Carl Theobald: One of the challenges for businesses is to be able to leverage mobile, especially because it’s now the platform of choice that consumers are using. When it comes to a company’s app offering, [if the app isn’t leveraged correctly] we see uninstall rates of 80% after the app’s first use. If you’re not engaging with your customers in a relevant way, they’re going to walk. And it’s easy for customers to do that.
eMarketer: Can you describe an instance of a brand engaging in a meaningful way with app users?
Theobald: Louis Vuitton is a client of ours, and they have a city guide app where they provide content about every major city in the world. This is a paid app that will know when you actually arrive in a new city, and it’ll tell you, for example, “There’s a city app guide for Paris, would you like to purchase it?”
eMarketer: How did Louis Vuitton figure out how to scale content to consistently loyal consumers of the brand on the app?
Theobald: A regular user of the app would have to purchase that content. However, if you happen to be a Louis Vuitton high-end customer, they give you all the city guides for free as a thank you. Tools like that help to build loyalty with your branded apps because you’re recognizing that the customer has done a lot of business with you.
eMarketer: How has the shift toward mobile over the past few years catalyzed brands rebuilding their app experience?
Theobald: Mobile has taken off and continues to. If you look at the last three years in the US, time was spent 50-50 between mobile devices and laptops and desktops. We’re spending twice as much time on our phones as we are on laptops and desktops, and the trend is continuing.
eMarketer: How have you seen brands leverage mobile payments for their apps or consumers making in-store purchases?
Theobald: My view is that they’re still trying to support all the different payment methods because there’s no downside to doing that. They want to make it as easy as possible—at the end of the day, it’s all about removing friction.
At one point I was CEO of an ecommerce company and we supported payments that were native to over 120 different companies, which get esoteric in certain countries with all kinds of unique payment methods that you’ve never heard of.
eMarketer: Are brands working to ensure that they are providing payment gateways for global consumers?
Theobald: Yes, it’s quite relevant to do so in an online world, where your customers can be anywhere, because the world becomes flat online. Anything you could do to make it a frictionless experience is ideal.
If you happen to be in the Netherlands, and you want to purchase, you can use iDEAL as a payment method, because that’s native to your country. Another example would be Konbini in Japan, because from an international perspective, brands can tell you’re coming in from Japan, and then offer Japanese payment methods that are going to be in yen.
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