A couple of weeks ago RSR published a recap of a roundtable discussion with six CIOs at leading companies in the retail sector. I won’t recap the discussion here, because I encourage everyone to read it on their own. Before you click away, however, I’d like to offer a couple of insights based on bits of the discussion.
Those involved in the discussion generally stated their belief that apps were disposable, and that the mobile Web may win out in the long run. I tend to agree on this point, enthusiastically. Apps, especially branded apps, lack the all-important stickiness. Consider the apps on your own phone for a moment. The apps I use on a daily basis – aside from the Star Wars app my three-year old loves – deliver valuable information to me in a timely way (I am a news junkie) or generally enhance the features of my phone (like a spell checker, for example.). Those apps plug into my personal lifestyle very well and are woven into my daily experience. Those essentials for an app to be a part of my life are very difficult to penetrate for a branded app. A branded mobile Web page, however, is equal parts useful and disposable. I will use it when I need it. But, it IS necessary.
The essential app metric floating around the still burgeoning mobile marketing space is “seven.” Consumers generally have seven apps they use on a daily basis, and a branded app’s goal must be to penetrate the top seven.
To reach that lofty goal, an app has to deliver real, measurable, and timely value. It must be easy to navigate, first and foremost. But, it must also seamlessly weave together the entire mobile experience, allowing for push messages through an integrated SMS program for alerts and reminders. For an app to sustain success in the top seven, it must become a brand’s mobile hub, a mobile store for the brand that allows access to a great deal of useful information on-demand and full interaction and engagement.
I do not want to come across as completely dismissive of branded apps. They are very useful if done well. When considering the current landscape of consumer adoption, however, the mobile Web is vital – for reasons that go beyond the ease of development.