Nick Chambers is a valued contributor to Loyalty Truth, providing insight into the emerging payments markets as well as the increasing use of mobile apps and their impact on consumer loyalty trends. Nick is CEO Norwood Hill Associates and is a Partner in the Customer Strategy Network.
Within the UK hospitality sector, mobile payments are now seen as the way to both disrupt traditional means of payment whilst also allowing providers to become part of the actual dining experience. Making this connection between the mobile payments solution and the dining experience is accomplished by adding the “glue” of a customer loyalty offering, which then opens the door to other revenue generating opportunities.
A fundamental challenge, however, remains for these mobile payment Apps to become part of the natural purchase flow for the majority of customers, rather than just those early adopters. Changing the way customers think about these apps remains the primary and most difficult challenge at the moment.
For those mobile products aimed at restaurants, first time users who have been conditioned during their lifetime to only consider payment at the conclusion of their dining experience, need to be encouraged to think about payment earlier in their dining experience.
To date, hospitality providers have relied mostly on staff education, expecting the front line group to communicate the benefits of mobile payments to diners. The associated cost of training is high when weighed against results. Add to this the investment in additional hardware or POS integration and you can understand why acquisition costs are on the rise.
The answer for these obstacles is for payment Apps to respond to and, most importantly, reward customers against a key set of broader behaviours. Enabling customers to see the App not only as their means of payment but also as a way to access other valuables benefits, i.e. table booking and accessing personalised or localised content can stimulate greater trial, adoption and usage. Push notifications, rich inbox, In-App alerts, interstitials, geo-targeting, beacons and local notifications are critical tools within an overall App engagement plan.
A successful approach to driving mobile payment app adoption and usage begins with a data driven approach focused around a key set of App usage measures. From our experience working with many clients in the hospitality sector, here are six critical metrics recommended for App usage:
- User Group Growth: Providing both a baseline & insight into the audience and their natural app usage patterns, it is vital for creating deeper engagement and to segment audiences.
- Session Length: Period of time between App opening and closing, or when the app times out. It indicates how much time users are spending in the App per individual session.
- Session Interval: Session interval is the time between the user’s first session and his or her next one, showing the frequency with which users open the App.
- Acquisition: Number of users who download and install the App, tracked by location and source or channel. Channel in this case refers to download via organic search, word-of-mouth, paid campaigns or in-app referrals. Acquisitions reports track how much money is spent acquiring these users, their app downloads and what their journey interacting with the app once they are engaged.
- Screen Flow: Tracks exits by screen, flow between screens, and total occurrences of visits to screens, visualizing the typical visitor interactions.
- Lifetime Value: The primary revenue metric which can be split out by average monthly value or value per customer.
Incorporating these capabilities & measures enable payment Apps to move away from their over-reliance on external factors such as staff interaction and media awareness to drive usage rates.
With this foundation in place, providers can move on to develop and implement an ongoing customer rewards strategy based around App analytics, App communications and a data driven approach.
Only by doing so will they gain control over the customer experience and, most importantly, become relevant across all customer segments.
If you want to learn more about how to optimize your mobile app for engagement and usage, contact Nick via the contact data provided below. He has launched and managed a number of highly successful mobile loyalty programmes for retail & hospitality clients including Tesco and Sodexo, and specialises in building stronger relationships between customers and client mobile apps.
Tel: +44 (0)7970 144321