As mobile apps become more widespread and customer service grows more personalized, the ability to combine the two has become essential. An app can be developed for any sort of product or service imaginable, but may not result in an optimal experience for its users on its own, so more and more businesses are coming up with innovative ways to apply apps to serve and communicate with their customers while also building their brand identity.
One example is Starbucks. The coffee giant has long made use of an app and a rewards program, which had already received notable acclaim in an industry well saturated with such programs. However, recent changes to both have improved integration and increased personalization for loyal customers. While some changes, such as the move from applying rewards per visit to per dollar spent, were not popular with customers, other creative enhancements have added to the appeal and capabilities of the app. The app’s home screen displays an interactive visualization of Starbucks stars, or reward points, Additionally, individual stores interact with the app via geofencing and adds information about the store the customer is visiting, such as the music currently playing and its mobile ordering options. Past orders will be used to customize future offerings and determine preferences, and in the future, an artificial intelligence assistant called My Starbucks Barista will allow conversational mobile ordering.
The success of Starbucks’ app demonstrates the benefits of personalization and of having a mobile platform to communicate with customers. Shoppi’s software enables retail brands to access and visualize the data generated by their customers and apply it in ways that allows creative customization. Much like the capabilities of the Starbucks app, retailers using Shoppi’s platform can study the patterns and behaviors of their customers’ interactions with the brand’s products and use them to personalize the experience each customer has with the brand according to the customer’s preferences. This control over both the data and the interface through which it is presented gives brands the ability to manage the brand image they develop with each customer, on their own terms. It also increases the effectiveness of sales through mobile orders, by showing customers items they are more likely to be interested in based on their past use of the app.
With so many apps flooding the mobile marketplace, it can be difficult to influence customers to download yet another one. “App fatigue” has set in as apps find it difficult to differentiate enough from each other to appear both unique and useful to users, who must be selective in what content they download to their phones. However, by tailoring apps to include personalization and offer features that can be specifically useful to customers, retail brands can offer experiences that are of value to their shoppers while also improving efficiency for the retailers themselves.