In today’s marketplace, the quality of your digital apps can make or break your brand. Apps not only generate revenue through sales and subscriptions, they also build brand engagement and product recognition.

For many consumers, their primary engagement with your business will be through your app. For example, 2015 research from ComScore shows that the total time spent on mobile apps has grown over 90% since 2013.

Companies are taking note of this, as a recent Perfecto study of 1000 enterprise web and mobile professionals demonstrated, finding that 81% of respondents view the digital experience as crucial to their business success. The burning question facing businesses today is therefore: “How can I create web and mobile apps that will attract 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 2.2 million 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 and keep customers coming back?

Understand what users need from your app

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% higher than those on pre-download payments. It is important to recognize customer trends like these to ensure you are developing for the biggest profit.

Design your apps 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% of businesses surveyed by Perfecto have a digital presence across both web and mobile, 67% 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. Over half of businesses are now doing so which is an encouraging trend, especially given that when mobile and web teams are combined and using the same tools, it’s easier to spot differences across devices and platforms.

Keep testing and updating

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 continuously testing 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 for instance can lose hundreds of thousands of dollars if their app is slow to market.

The continuous development of today’s digital landscape makes it hard for businesses to keep up. Overall, businesses that have a thorough understanding of their customers’ needs and create web and mobile applications that meet them will be ahead of the pack. By continually testing and developing these apps companies will fully reap the benefits, offering customers a top quality digital experience.

 

By Christopher P. Willis, chief marketing officer at Perfecto

 

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