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How to Radically Rethink Your Retail App to Increase Engagement

The world moved ‘mobile-first’ so brands built apps. And then, people barely used those apps, or used them once for a discount, and promptly moved on. Apps aren’t cheap to build, especially good ones. But app commerce is getting a resurgence on the premise of the community and user-generated content.

App Engagements With and Without Content

Even though most customers are looking to ultimately purchase while using an app, they’re also there to engage with the brand and connect with likeminded people. According to The Complete App Commerce Guide from Poq, “During the Holiday Period and specifically over Cyber Week, shoppers look to engage with brands. Interactions with App Stories per shopper were on average 32.5% higher during Cyber Week and 10.5% higher over the Holiday Period than Q3.” Not only are shoppers more likely to seek engagement with brands during peak shopping times, but they’re seeking that engagement on the app. But that is entirely contingent upon having the right content in place to support those engagements, and ultimately, drive a sense of community.

Turn Monthly Users into Daily Active Users

Chances are, people aren’t buying from your app every day.  But keeping users engaged and interested during lulls can keep your brand top-of-mind for consumers. Style Theory encourages community posts with the hashtag #OOTD to show how their products actually look on real people. By encouraging users to engage with the community aspect of the app, users are less likely to delete the app, according to a study conducted by eMarketer. With the app living on consumers’ phones, consumers are less likely to churn from that brand. Although OOTD (outfit of the day) is a broad hashtag used by many brands and consumers, featuring only specific and relevant content through the app helps Style Theory cut through the noise.

Community Beyond Purchases

Forward-thinking brand leaders are going beyond app commerce and have focused on building apps that are tailored around engaging specific communities. Nike is a great example of this innovation. Currently, the Nike app ecosystem includes not only commerce apps but apps that build their community around specific sports – and much more. While all of these different apps serve very different functions for customers, they’re all part of the Nike ecosystem to build a Nike-owned community.

Screen Shot 2020 03 30 at 1.53.26 PM
Nike's collection of apps serve very unique purposes for its diverse fanbase.

Community and inspiration go hand-in-hand with conversion when seeded at the right points in the customer journey. Alo Yoga’s new app highlight customer and influencer content in the inspiration tab to create easily shoppable experiences.

Alo Yoga features an inspiration tab in their app that is fully shoppable, combining content and commerce.

Content, Commerce, and Community

Brand’s apps are the hallmark of the modern marketing mix of content, commerce, and community. Customers are seeking better content experiences from brands, and brands who are able to provide this content ignite a community. And while the core focus of a retailer’s app is to ultimately drive commerce, forward-thinking brands are reframing the value of the app as the hub for content, commerce, and community.

Awad Sayeed
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