Living in the Mobile Era: 3 Ways to Retain Your Customers as a Startup in 2014

As of March 2014, smartphone mobile market penetration was sitting at 68.8%, with an astounding 166 million people in the U.S using smartphones with 80% of utilization time being spent on apps. Along with this huge user base of smartphone-ready consumers comes the expectation that companies be mobile-optimized in order to provide a convenient and intuitive experience for a potential customer.

So why is mobile optimization important? Businesses today will generally spend 6-7 times more on earning a new customer’s business than they will simply retaining an existing customer, and mobile optimization is an integral part of that bringing that customer back again. Customers who are given the ability to interact with a brand or company in a variety of ways are more likely to form loyalty to said brand. Multi-channel engagement is the best way to ensure your repeat customers are not only returning, but also advocating your product through those exact channels.

All of this becomes especially imperative when dealing with startups. A startup cannot afford to lose the customers they have worked so hard to earn up until any certain point, and no company (startup or not) can afford to ignore their mobile users. Many companies get this right, but a few of them knock it out of the park. Here are a few relatively simple ideas that, when put into practice, can greatly increase the value of your customer’s mobile experience:

Mobile Payment Optimization

Make mobile payments a breeze for the smartphone user. Most people on their smartphones are used to working at a much faster pace than when on a home desktop. Dunkin Donuts offers a convenient way for their customers to pay at the register using a QR code from their smartphone; the Starbucks app functions similarly.

mobile paymentSimple and intuitive payment options will go a long way toward customer satisfaction, and help drive more sales in a shorter time period. Make sure the app isn’t too cluttered and users can access their balance, depositing, and Point of Sale features quickly and efficiently. For startups, the ability to make purchases right from your phone wherever you are adds that extra level of convenience for your new customers.



Extending the Brand Experience

Your mobile experience is an extension of your brand experience. Customers shouldn’t feel like the company-client relationship exists only at  the counter. United Airlines displays a marvelous understanding of this idea in their smartphone app.

mobile engagementThe United Airlines app provides its users with flight updates, gate information, airport maps, and even a Sudoku game to play while waiting for your flight. They have effectively extended the interaction between brand and consumer, and improved the consumer’s experience in the process.

For new companies, a first impression is just as important as it always was, but a bad mobile experience can leave today’s consumers with a bad taste in their mouths. Make sure you’re providing your customers with a way of rating their experience, and offer a quick way to post and share reviews.



Location Based Advertising

location mobileAs a powerful advent of modern smartphone technology, integrate location-based notifications and offers into your mobile app. Apples Passbook offers an effective solution for companies wanting to notify potential customers of nearby deals or coupons. Customers can store relevant coupons and gift cards within the Passbook app, and then be notified when they are nearing a place to utilize them.

Creating loyalty, advocacy, and a spectacular customer experience should be the primary goal of your mobile optimization. Give customers what they want by empowering them to make purchasing and advocacy decisions at their fingertips. Mobile marketing is not to be overlooked, and proper execution will do wonders for your business.

Hilary Smith

Hilary Smith is an online business journalist with a background in social media marketing. In addition to researching mobile marketing trends, she also enjoys writing about business communications, globalization, and business tech. Connect with her on Twitter at @HilaryS33 to read more!