Blog

How to build an active user base for a retail app

App Installs
Mobile commerce grows rapidly as more users browse products and make purchases from mobile devices. Smartphone spending had increased on 96% during Q1 2016, according to eRetail Sales Index. While many retail companies hesitate to develop mobile apps, the trend is clear: Clutch survey shows that half of all surveyed businesses will have an app by the next year.

 

Having a great shopping app can help a retailer to reach consumers on mobile platforms, drive more sales, and increase brand recognition. However, you should make sure that your potential customers know about the app and will definitely use it. Placing links to the app on your website and QR-codes on offline promotions may attract some users, but to garner maximum reach, you should use more time-tested and effective marketing methods.

 

The app marketing agency Comboapp shares marketing tips for shopping apps that can be easily incorporated into a general promotion strategy.

 

1. Make sure the app provides real value to users

 

Who is your target audience? What features will they find useful? If your consumers are mostly millenials, they will enjoy social engagement with the app. If they’re baby-boomers, put an emphasis on helpful information on the products your app offers. Make sure your promotional message will describe additional opportunities for app users, such as:

 

  • Customized push notifications about sales and discounts
  • Trackers for deliveries and packages
  • Creation and management of shopping and wish lists
  • Sharing product pics to social networks to get feedback
  • An interactive map to navigate through the store

 

To find more ideas, check out the strategies of successful retail apps such as Net-A-Porter and ASOS.

 

The secret here is to describe the advantages of the app’s features and translate this message consistently through all available channels (i.e. website, social media, emails, offline promo, app promo page).

 

2. Benefit from owned media

 

Websites, blogs, and social media accounts are the main channels for promoting an app. People visit them for additional information and insight. It won’t help to make links to your app download page that look like annoying ad banners. Instead, place them in a form of essential information and additional feature.

 

  • Create informative posts to describe all advantages of your shopping app, and share these posts across social media.
  • Add appealing screenshots of the app that will show off its functions and opportunities.
  • Always add relevant hashtags to social media posts for increased visibility.

 

3. Motivate users to market your app

 

First, add a little bit of virality. World of mouth works more effectively than advertising. Think of a referral network that increases viral sharing though customers. It can be additional features, discounts, or little offline incentives for those who invite users to install the app. Make it easy for users to spread information from the app in social networks through sharing buttons. Ideally, each new user invites one more user after an install, which leads the app into a viral cycle:
App Installs
Then, ask speakers and exhibitors to share information on the event app through their social media outlets. In order to encourage installs, speakers can also add some key takeaways from their presentations into the app in advance.

 

4. Optimize the app download page

 

Users may find your shopping app through an app store search. To increase your app’s visibility in search results, use ASO (app store optimization techniques):

 

  • The app title should contain the main keywords, which users will use in order to find the shopping app: brand name, product titles. Browse your competitors’ app descriptions and think about the most sought-after terms to include.

 

  • Use 3-4 keywords in the app description. Include information on the app’s functions and features. Add screenshots and a promo video if possible.

 

  • Optimize in-app content and promo-site texts. That way, users will be able to find your app through a simple search.

 

By optimizing your app’s presence on the app store, you will increase the chance for users to find it through search and download.

 

5. Increase user engagement

 

App installs are only half the battle. A larger part of customers may never use the app after downloading it. Use reminders to encourage users to engage with the app in order to fully benefit from its features:

 

  1. Push notifications are a great method for re-engagement. However, this method is quite intrusive, so remember to keep the messages brief and informative. Do not send more than 1 push notification per day. Use pushes to make important announcements or provide customized reminders.
  2. Facebook Engagement Ads are a more delicate way of engaging existing or potential app users. An engagement ad in the Facebook news feed will be shown to users who have downloaded an app or liked the brand’s page.

 

Marketing a shopping app takes a great deal of time and effort, but it pays off with higher rates of customer engagement and brand loyalty. Be sure to test out all the different promotional methods and find which method works best for your niche and target audience.

 

Good luck!