Mobile Is The Key To Unlocking Customer Value for Brands Across Retail, Media, and Finance

Emma Patterson Global Customer Marketing Lead

Airships’ Mobile Leaders Forum took on Atlanta last week with a spotlight presentation from Sarah Post, VP of Interconnected Experiences at The Home Depot, who also participated in a panel discussion alongside Saru Palanivel of Cox Media and Ryan Hayes of Synchrony

In this half-day session, mobile leaders gathered to discuss trends, challenges and opportunities. Here, I highlight three topics: an essential new retail tool, investment drivers for app experience and some new Airship data on activation and engagement.

Store Mode Is The Tool Retailers Should Be Thinking About 
Patrons of The Home Depot are big fans of “store mode.” That we know coming out of Mobile Leaders Forum, Atlanta. Based on the open-forum conversations, that view is unanimous. 

Sarah Post discussed store mode in her spotlight session. When shopping in-store, navigating a massive inventory is more manageable with store mode, which allows customers to search and locate products using an interactive map. Since every store is different, store mode serves as a wayfinder for customers to find items down to the bay number and provides an up to date inventory of items available. 

In developing store mode, The Home Depot was looking to create a great experience for pros and DIY homeowners alike who connect with The Home Depot via its mobile app. The brand understood that a strong relationship depended on a mutual exchange of value. They began looking for ways to give customers more of what they needed to make their brand the clear option for home repair, improvement and building. 

By making the mobile app an essential part of the customer experience, the brand has moved from having 1 in 8 households to 1 in 3 households in North America using The Home Depot app. Store mode has been used more than 13 million times over the past year and been an integral part of driving over $1B in purchases. Store mode results in up to 5x more interactions than apps without this feature, according to the CFI Group. Sarah advised brands to set a bold, customer-focused strategy, including working hard to understand users’ pain points in moments that matter and looking for ways to let customer behavior fuel their personalization. 

Mobile Experience Investment Drivers
We asked panelists what consumer behavior has most influenced their investment in the mobile customer experience. 

There was broad agreement on the key drivers, including the vast increase in mobile usage over the last five years, as well as the demand for better personalization, speed and convenience. Panelists also noted that today’s consumers expect quick and seamless experiences, especially on mobile, so streamlining internal approvals and processes has been key. 

Panelists also agreed that testing mobile customer experiences is key in meeting customer expectations for brand interactions. A/B testing has become a key part of a successful engagement strategy for these brands, and AI-assisted experimentation is gaining steam as a hot topic of discussion.

Activation and Retention Trends
In this session, Jennie Lewis, who leads Airship’s Customer Insights team discussed three important steps brands need customers to take within the first thirty days to maximize their lifetime value. She showed attendees how top-performing apps authenticate users and encourage opt-ins by showcasing the value of doing so, and discussed the importance of enabling customers to set their preferences (topic, channel and frequency) and share their interests via surveys and other interactive experiences. 

With rising acquisition costs, brands are more focused than ever on retention. According to CommerceNext, most retailers claim acquisition costs have continued to increase since the release of iOS 14, making retention a critical element of mobile success. Brands that consistently drive traffic to the app and continue to progressively gather preference and zero-party data are among the top performers regarding engagement and retention. In her research, Jennie found that brands leveraging zero-party data saw up to a 59% lift in conversion rate when using audience targeting. 

To learn more about how to capture and keep customer attention and see how your brand’s performance compares to its category, download our Mobile Lifecycle Benchmark: Activation report

Airship’s Mobile Leaders Forums are the must-attend event for brands looking to gain industry insights, connect with their peers and discover the latest best practices to capture more value from digital customer experiences. A special thank you to our Atlanta sponsors: Radar and Twilio Segment. 

Want to find out when we’re coming to a city near you? Check out our Event Page, where we announce new Mobile Leaders Forum cities.