The Android and Apple app stores now present more than 5 million apps1 to consumers and are dominated by two behemoth brands, Facebook and Google, which publish 8 of the top 10 apps.2 Developing a winning app strategy in this hyper-competitive app marketplace is a challenge for any size retailer. This article poses seven questions to guide your discovery of a winning app strategy for your organization.
Set aside some time to engage a diverse set of stakeholders. Schedule enough time so you can really think strategically. Start broad, record all of the ideas and then gradually narrow your focus.
Let’s get started.
Why are you building a mobile app?
What business outcomes are you trying to achieve with a mobile app? How does the app fit into your digital strategy? How will you measure success? Do you need 3rd party tools? Frequency of measurement? What will be your key performance indicators?
Who are you building the app for?
Who represents the best opportunity to achieve your desired business outcomes? Identify and specifically describe your primary target audience. What platforms are they on? What devices do they use? Where do they hang out? What do they value? If you don’t select and focus on a specific segment, your app will be an under-performer.
What jobs are they trying to do?
What functional jobs are they trying to do? Save money? Go faster? Enjoy more convenience? Be more secure? Don’t overlook the social and emotional aspects of the job. What do they want to be seen doing? Who do they want to be seen doing it with?
What is the app going to do?
How will each feature deliver value to your primary target users? How will it improve user acquisition? User retention? What is not going to do? What doesn’t fit in? What is your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)? Enforce a rigorous prioritization approach. Only include what is necessary. Less is more with apps. What kind of app experience will delight your target users? What data will users need access to? When? Will you need technology partners to deliver any of the features? What areas do you need help with?
What is the app’s value proposition?
How will you entice users to switch from their current solution? Why should they download and use your app? Will you eliminate their pains? Will you enhance their lives? How will you communicate your value proposition to target users? What do you need to protect to secure your value proposition? Payment data (PCI-DSS)? Personally Identifiable Information (PII)? How will you demonstrate that it is secure?
How will you acquire users?
How will users find your app? Over 90 percent of apps are labeled “App Zombies.”3 These apps cannot be found organically in an app store listing, so users can only find the app by searching for it by name. How will users learn the name of your app? What will each user cost to acquire?
How will you retain users?
How will you onboard users? A guided feature tour? Swipe through a slide show? Watch videos? How will you lead users to their ‘Aha’ moment, where your value proposition becomes real to them personally? How will you engage users? How will you message them? Email? In-App message inbox? Push messages? What upgrade frequency will you commit to? How will you share that your app is getting better because of user feedback? How will you understand user behaviors? How will you measure retention? Which analytics tool will use?
Your answers to these questions will capture your team’s beliefs and assumptions. Schedule additional sessions to research and validate them. Refining your seven answers by working through iterative sessions will develop the most capable strategy. The challenge is to arrive at seven answers that are consistent, reinforce each other and you actually want to execute.
If you would like to learn more or discuss your answers to these questions, including what happens after you answer these questions, you can reach out to Kevin Struthers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2comScore Mobile Metrix, US, Age 18+, June 2017