By adaptive - July 11th, 2016

Mobile app growth rates are still rising but app developers are by and large finding greater growth from current users than from newcomers. Today’s apps must strike the right tone and balance in communicating with users to re-engage them if visits and/or spending begin to slip.

In the second part of this research article, Robert Gray explores how Europe’s leading brands are tackling the customer re-engagement challenge.

Curated fashion app Lyst has learned when customers prefer to shop, whether it’s around the time new styles hit the racks, pay day, or sale times. And the company is trying to work that data to its advantage.

“We try to develop features that make users want to come back,” says David Giusti, senior product manager, mobile, for Lyst. “We’re in a phase where we’re trying to grow and help more customers find what they’re looking for but still trying to reengage the customers we’ve already found.”

The company has identified that consumers finding Lyst on the web are quite different, looking for more specific items, than those who use the app and are browsing and will come back more frequently.

If someone comes to the website, Giusti compares it to “a first date and you want them to come back. On the app, you’re a few dates in. It’s more about personalized recommendations and the ability to follow brands and be notified by what’s new.”

If the customer doesn’t call back, Giusti explains their two-pronged attack utilizes push notifications to alert those who may have forgotten about the app after a period of non-use and of course, email to reach those who may have used it once and deleted it.

Notifications can be tricky, no matter what business you’re in. After all, consumers often sign up for them for a specific purpose but they don’t want to be bombarded by texts or notifications constantly ringing or sounding alarms on their smartphones. It can then become just so much spam in a different channel.

Shazam’s Haider says his firm is “being careful on when and why we send push notifications.” He adds, “We want to make sure they are as relevant as possible, a complement to our core actions in the app.”

One example is allowing users to Shazam songs even when they’re offline. Then when the device reconnects to Wi-Fi or mobile service Shazam sends a push notification with the name of the songs. Haider notes people find “this is relevant and useful and we achieve significant CTR results on these notifications.”

Dynamic Duo: Product & Marketing Teams

Mobile facing consumer companies realize, whether they’re a scrappy nascent firm or a well-funded space leader, that product and marketing teams need to collaborate to make each other more effective. Many of the firms interviewed for this white paper said their product and marketing teams sit in close proximity or at the very least work closely on major campaigns and share feedback.

Spotify’s Rajaraman says the music streaming giant is creating teams that include members from both departments sitting alongside each other while working together. “That’s the only way this is going to work,” she says succinctly.

At WorldRemit, Newton notes if customers don’t appear on schedule for a transfer it triggers emails with promotional pricing, a free transfer or other offers.

Lyst last fall ran a provocative ad campaign, its first, marrying its data insights on shopping habits with fashion trends. The splashy, somewhat controversial billboards used catchy headlines, provocative pictures and then literally shoehorned in data points supporting the ironic headlines such as “Fashion is pointless” which highlighted sales of round and flat-toed shoes.

And given some of the firm’s latest research, there may be another campaign in the offing capitalizing on some unique data insights. Giusti, the fashion e-tailer’s senior product manager for mobile, says recent research shows “people were buying lingerie and high heels on Friday at 2 am and not on Monday at 2am. There are some quirky trends on how people shop after a night out on the town versus a work night.”

This is certainly a scenario where Lyst proceeds with caution to preserve an intimate relationship with its customers. Giusti says Lyst only communicates by text or notification when consumers have signed up for them or if it’s saved for later with an option to be updated on price changes or size availability.

He adds, “You try to build contextual notifications that have value to the user instead of sending things they may find interesting to click on. There’s always a clear value to these notifications, and I want to keep that philosophy.”

YPlan’s Scalzo says his firm is also conservative in pushing messages to users as well, adding, “It’s pretty much never personalized to a level that could feel stalkish, there needs to be a balance. We have more freedom to send more stuff by email but never want you to feel too close to what you’ve just done on the app.”

And that’s the trick, maintaining the delicate balance between intimacy and overstep, which could outweigh the value proposition that firms establish with their most loyal users. In other words, they want to create a healthy relationship that keeps both parties engaged well beyond the honeymoon.

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