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Mobile Apps for Business: 5 Success Stories

September 15, 2015 Written by Maria Shestakova, Digital Marketer
Mobile app development has been on the rise in recent years, promising to bring value for users and to become an additional marketing and sales channel for businesses. Yet, 90% of all branded apps never manage to serve the mission, barely reaching a 10K downloads mark. We’ve gathered a list of top brands that learned how to leverage mobile apps for ultimate business success. Learn from the best.

Mobile Apps that Work: 5 Inspirational Business Stories

  • Starbucks
An unquestionable coffee shop leader managed to recognize mobile world potential as early as in 2009, with the launch of its first mobile platform, myStarbucks app. The application allowed users to locate nearby coffee shops, learn about sorts, types and coffee brews, and suggest their own drinks. Two years later, Starbucks increased its digital presence by bringing its loyalty program to users’ smartphones with Card Mobile App. Customers were enabled to pay for in-store purchases via phones. Today, the app serves about 20% of all loyalty card transactions. In 2012, Starbucks integrated its apps with Square, a mobile payment system and Apple’s passbook feature, so that loyalty card data could be seen on an iPhone. As a result of these innovative mobile steps, in 2013, Starbucks already possessed $621 mln assets on its mobile platforms. In 2014, Starbucks has made $146 mln, 8 % of total revenue, on interest alone. In addition, transaction costs were reduced significantly, since third-party credit card companies no longer need to be involved.
  • CVS Pharmacy
This pharmaceutical app leverages endless smartphone capabilities for better user engagement and retention. One can easily locate a nearby store; collect digital coupons or points to save money, etc. Additionally, an app offers several killer features to encourage users to return on a regular basis:
  • Medication refill. To get additional supply of required medicine, all a user needs to do is scan the prescription's barcode with a smartphone camera.
  • A pill identifier to help identify medication based on their shape, color and imprint.
  • Drug Interactions. Users can check id the medicine they are prescribed with has any negative reactions with other medications, foods, or even sun exposure.
  • Non-health services, including a photo center for easy printout options.
As we see, the CVS app packed with helpful customer-facing features. Yet, they never fail to seize additional opportunities to become better. In 2013, for example, CVS developed an iPad app with enhanced design, to give users a feel of a virtual pharmacy, where each section of the store corresponds to a functionality for the app. In February 2015, CVS announced a total redesign of their mobile app, with new features added and an improved UX and UI. Top management confesses, that despite high customer rankings of the app, there is always room for challenge, innovation, and growth. Constant search for better user solutions is key to staying afloat in the highly competitive market. Why not follow CVS success story?
  • Chase Bank
Chase, a bank with a leading customer mobile app services, managed to separate itself from rivals with smart mobile strategy. Forrester Research praised Chase Mobile app for iOS in its 2014 report. The company earned the highest score of 69 out of 100, thanks to its effective mobile solutions. Last year, Chase totally redesigned both iOS and Android apps to offer customers simplified design and better navigation. Officials claim this was just the first step in a digital transformation of the way customers interact with their devices. When it comes to banking industry, any enhancements should be gradual and predictable, since customers’ trust is at stake.
  • IKEA
The furniture giant has been promoting its catalog the same way since 1951. Things changed in 2013, with a brand-new mobile app that brought IKEA catalogue to life, and became number one downloaded marketing app for a brand globally. But a true revolution happened with it Fall’14 mobile app catalogue, that came with an augmented reality surprise, and enabled users to place virtual furniture at home. After selecting a piece of furniture by scanning a page of a printed catalogue, users were asked to put the catalogue on the floor, where it acted as an anchor for the 3D image of a piece of furniture. The app aimed to improve customers’ decision-making and purchasing processes. Company reports suggest it was downloaded nearly 8.5 mln times. What makes IKEA apps such an inspirational business case? Going mobile means granting people with flexibility to shop when, where, and how they choose. Listen to what consumers want, then develop your mobile app to match these needs.
  • Virgin America Airlines
Being a unique airline headquartered in Silicon Valley, Virgin America identifies its customers as entrepreneurs and networkers. A 2013 Frequent Flyer Survey highlighted the respondents’ need for in-flight networking. That’s when the airline decided to partner with the Here on Biz mobile app to create an in-flight social network for connecting business travelers. The service uses Gogo In-Flight Wi-Fi network, available onboard any Virgin America’s vehicle, and APIs to identify airplane’s location to connect passengers on the same flight, between different flights, or to find like-minded travelers upon arrival. A special Twitter campaign was launched to encourage app downloads. Under #PlanePitch hashtag, flyers were asked to describe business travel connection of their dream and to tell how to approach it. Additional discounts and complimentary upgrades were offered to further promote the app.   Mobile apps for business infographics  

Business Apps: Is It Worth the Effort?

If you think mobile apps are only for big name brands such as the ones described above, you are wrong. Mobile apps have become an integral part of almost any business. Don’t feel dwarfed by the power and budgets of big market players. Rather, take notes of what works for them and what could potentially work for you. Before investing in app development, make sure the app is:
  • engaging and provides users with an enjoyable experience
  • intuitive from a usability perspective
  • technically reliable
  • offering compelling impression on your brand
  • enhancing bonds between users and your business
  • brings value to users’ everyday routine.
Once you have a clear vision how to achieve the goals above, list out app features you want to include, be it social media and shareable elements, gamification features, or rewards points & loyalty programs, promotions, QR code scanners, etc. Next step is to partner with an experienced app development company and bring your mobile application for business to life.

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