Procurement 2 September 2016

Brand enhancement through digital experience

digital_enhancement
At the core of your digital app strategy needs to be a deep understanding of your user

Eran Kinsbruner, mobile technical evangelist at digital testing company Perfecto, considers how the digital experience of the customer is crucial to building the brand of a small business.

These days, digital apps can make or break a brand. The digital experience created by a brand is key for financial success, either by generating profit through sales and subscriptions or by building brand engagement and product recognition. Companies are taking note of this, as a recent Perfecto study of 1,000 enterprise web and mobile professionals found that 81 per cent of respondents view the digital experience as crucial to business success.

Research from ComScore in 2015 showed that the total time spent on mobile apps has grown over 90 per cent since 2013. The burning question facing businesses today is therefore: “How can I create high quality digital experiences for my customers?”

Whether mobile, web or desktop, digital apps are more prevalent than ever. The largest app store, Android’s Google Play, now offers users over 2.2M apps alone. In such a crowded space, it’s no wonder that users are not easy to impress and retain, with the average app retention rate being less than one-in-four after first use. How can businesses beat the odds?

Understand customer needs

At the core of your digital app strategy needs to be a deep understanding of your user. This means anticipating their needs, most desired functions, preferred forms of engagements, most commonly used devices, and more. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be guess work.

Businesses now know more about their customers than any other time. With the sheer amount of data being generated, collected and analysed, leaders have far deeper insights into the behaviours of their target users. According to Gartner, the revenues from in-app transactions were about 24 per cent higher than those on pre-download payments. It is important to recognise customer trends like these to ensure you are developing for the biggest profit.

Optimise digital experiences for web and mobile

With four out of ten purchases now involving more than one device, the purpose of digital must be to unite web and mobile assets and deliver a memorable, consistent user experience across channels. And although 76 per cent of businesses surveyed by Perfecto have a digital presence across both web and mobile, 67 per cent still cite delivering a reliable and consistent digital experience across these channels as a major challenge.

In addressing this challenge, businesses should first of all be unifying their mobile and desktop test teams. That over half of businesses are now doing so is an encouraging trend given that when mobile and web teams are combined and using the same tools, it’s easier to spot differences across devices and platforms.

Continuously test and update

By their nature, mobile apps will be used from different locations and under different conditions, forcing your teams to consider various factors and user conditions. This in turn requires the ability to test in environments that accurately mimic real user conditions.

Digital app development and testing is a continuous process. Once teams have defined the target personas and implemented their test code correctly, they’ll need a detailed and actionable rich report to continuously drive improvements. Such a report should include network logs, device and app memory and battery consumption details, and timers showing how long it took certain actions to take place.

As well as testing continuously improving your apps, you will also need to keep up with the market’s release cycles, planning accordingly around market calendars. In keeping up with release cycles and continuously testing, automation is simply a must for your company. A big bank or airline can lose hundreds of thousands of dollars if their app is slow to market.

The growth of the digital landscape and its own continuous development makes it hard for businesses to keep up. Overall, a thorough understanding of your customers’ needs and creating the web and mobile applications that meet them will be the first step. In keeping up with the rapidly changing market and increasingly demanding users, testing and continuous development will then need to be at the core of any business’ digital strategy.

Eran Kinsbruner is mobile technical evangelist at digital testing company Perfecto.

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