25 Ways to Build Loyalty & Engage Customers with a Mobile Business App

March 11, 2013
user holding a phone looking at mobile apps

Mobile apps are a powerful tool for businesses to engage with their customers and establish brand loyalty. By creating a mobile app, businesses can offer a variety of features and benefits that are not possible with a traditional website or in-store experience. Some of the top ways to engage with customers through a mobile app include gamifying the shopping experience, offering personalized product suggestions and special offers, facilitating in-store payments, and enabling customers to make appointments or reservations through the app.

Another important benefit of mobile apps is the ability to track customer behavior and preferences, which can be used to improve product or service offerings. With more than 50.4% of US consumers using smartphones and 25% using tablets, mobile apps are a key way to reach and engage with customers where they are spending their time. Furthermore, 64% of affluent app users view brands with mobile apps more favorably, highlighting the importance of offering a mobile app to stay competitive.

Many businesses have already leveraged mobile apps to drive repeat business and increase revenue. By understanding their customers' preferences and using mobile apps to meet their needs, businesses can establish a loyal customer base and stay top-of-mind when customers need their products or services.

  1. Gamify the shopping experience by turning your product or service into a game.
  2. Enable customers to customize their mobile-shopping experience.
  3. Add a fun, company-branded photo filter.
  4. Encourage or incentivize users to share products from the app via social media.
  5. Send notifications to mobile users for promotional campaigns or special reminders.
  6. Host a mobile-only contest.
  7. Use GPS to send coupons when a user is close to your store.
  8. Facilitate in-store payments with your mobile app.
  9. Include customer service, so users can go directly to you with questions or problems.
  10. Include maps to show store layout and a map to find your store.
  11. Integrate a shopping list feature.
  12. Allow creation of other customizable lists, such as “wants” and “must-haves.”
  13. Make your services easy to utilize through the mobile app.
  14. Turn shopping into an augmented reality experience.
  15. Personalize product suggestions and special offers.
  16. Create a community around your business or products by including a social forum.
  17. Offer a mobile-only freebie.
  18. Empower customers to make an appointment or reservation through your app.
  19. List a schedule of upcoming events and include a way to register.
  20. Ask your customers to help you serve them better through surveys or polls.
  21. Enable shoppers to design and order custom product requests.
  22. Offer mobile-exclusive products.
  23. Give early-access information, products, and specials to your mobile users.
  24. Gamify shopping at your business by giving badges or rewards for checking in with your app.
  25. Incorporate real-time video where applicable.

Another important opportunity is to utilize the app’s ability to track the ways that consumers use it. For instance, you can analyze how long users view certain products, what they most often search for, what they rarely search for or click on, etc. You can then evaluate this information to determine what you can do to improve your product or service offering.

If you want evidence of how other companies have employed their own mobile business apps to grow their customer base and earn higher revenues, check out this article, or this one, which notes that “for a local merchant, an app can be a slam-dunk to drive repeat business.” I’m not making this stuff up. I just work at an app development company, where I see it happen every day.

Sounds pretty good, right? It simply comes down to understanding where your customers are at (hint: they’re on their mobile devices – smartphones are used by more than 50.4% of US consumers, and 25% of US adults have a tablet), and also knowing what they want and how to accommodate their preferences in a way that works for your business (not convinced a mobile app is really what they want? 64% of affluent app users say they view brands with mobile apps more favorably). And how do you accomplish this? Give them a mobile app. Form a relationship with them, learn more about them, and then use that information to give them exactly what they’re asking for.

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