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How mobile apps can increase customer engagement in B2C markets

Kathryn WhartonInsights

Customer engagement has grown in recent years to become a serious discipline in the B2C marketplace. 

Marketing budgets have increased to support engagement tools and activities that build brand loyalty while technical teams have focused on delivering a seamless user experience (UX). The aim is to make customers happy and keep them coming back for more. 

In its Global Customer Engagement Review, Blaze claims “the secret weapon that differentiates exceptional, enduring companies is the quality of their customer engagement, encompassing the full set of activities through which companies build direct relationships with their customers.”

Those activities are increasingly digital. The Covid-19 pandemic forced businesses to accelerate their digital transformation in order to reach their customers virtually and there are no signs of turning back. “It’s time to accept once and for all that most engagement moving forward is going to be digital”, said Daniel Newman in Forbes. “Digital transformation is now a means of survival”, claims MoEngage CEO Raviteja Dodda. “It’s the lifeline between the brand and the customer.”

hedgehog lab is ranked #1 in the world for mobile app development so we understand how mobile apps (Android, iOS and Cross-Platform) can support exceptional customer engagement. Here we share case studies from our global, cross-market client base to demonstrate how mobile apps can increase customer engagement in B2C markets.  

 Building apps for customer needs

Customers are much more likely to engage with businesses and digital products that meet their needs. 

Leisure Pass Group, one of the world’s biggest attraction pass companies, put apps at the centre of its digital-first strategy to stay ahead of the curve in the competitive tourism industry. It asked hedgehog lab to utilise its user research expertise to gain a deep understanding of what its target customers wanted from a travel pass app. 

The work involved breaking down the product roadmap to identify each digital touchpoint and using research insights to refine the information and experience users wanted from the app. The result was a new app that offered modern design, improved user flow and more accessible UX plus a host of new features such as targeted offers and deals for users, nearby attraction discovery utilising GPS and a fully integrated pass purchasing system. 

The mobile app development process gave Leisure Pass Group an opportunity to really understand its customers’ needs and wants - and the resulting app drove significant in-app revenue growth and engagement with its customers. 

Identifying market opportunities

Customer engagement can often be achieved by providing a product that no one else does.

In 2018, Kodak was looking to launch a new photo printing brand in the UK that tapped into the resurgent appeal of retro photo prints. Due to the crowded marketplace, Kodak asked hedgehog lab to undertake detailed user and market research to help define its brand proposition and understand its target users. 

Research identified young creatives as the target audience so app design, development and user experience was geared towards their tastes. Bold designs and personable content were paired with in-app photo editing, dynamic animations and transitions, and seamlessly integrated payment, ordering and delivery. 

The app, PixPax was launched on iOS and Android simultaneously and was hugely popular, featuring as App of Day on the App Store and being highlighted by the Google Play Store. 

Creating new engagement channels

For some businesses, creating a new engagement channel is the best way to increase engagement with customers. 

Northumbrian Water, which provides water and sewerage services to over 2.7m people in North East England, wanted to become the utility industry’s most innovative company so it turned to hedgehog lab for guidance on reshaping the way it engages with its customers. 

The organisation wanted to surpass the regulatory requirements set out by the water regulator OFWAT and transfer simple queries from its call centre to its digital channels all while improving customer experience. 

hedgehog lab’s discovery workshops and design sprints revealed the need to open up new engagement channels as the existing ones no longer met the growing needs of Northumbrian Water’s customer base. An Alexa Skill was created to provide on-demand voice updates about maintenance and supply issues in the area, including when work had been completed and water supply restored. This was the first of its kind in the water industry. 

By embracing a new digital platform and offering its customers a new way to engage, Northumbrian Water successfully solved a business problem (by reducing the number of simple queries handled by its call centre) and bolstered its position as a digital innovator in its industry. 

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