So you have polished up your mobile strategy and decided to reward your customers with a shopping app. An incremental part of your roadmap should be your hard launch strategy. It is important to generate a high number of app downloads and drive app engagement from the moment that the app is launched. It will help you to boost the app’s popularity and allow you to gather deeper insight into the success of various tactics you try out – right from the beginning.
We have outlined a few main steps that retailers can take to make sure that the hard launch of their new app goes out with a bang. Most of the steps require the involvement of just one or two of the retailer’s team members, and take one to two days to plan and execute.
1. Make your app part of your multichannel family as soon as possible
Don’t dwell in the soft launch phase for too long. We suggest ideally only a couple of days of additional testing after the app release in the app store.
- Include an app icon with a link to iTunes and Google Play on your website.
- Add a pop up banner to the mobile website to make it easy to download. This is essential as it is the number one way to generate organic downloads for retail apps!
- Shout about the app on your social media channels and especially your email newsletter (most emails are opened on mobile devices).
- Mention the app in store with a sign in the window or a prop on the shop counter showing how the app can be used in store and on the go.
2. Make your early adopters feel special with an app only offer
An increasing amount of smartphone traffic to retailers is now app-only. This means that a special segment of your customer demographic will have been waiting for you to launch an app – and will download it as soon as they hear the big news. Two ways in which you can reward these early adopters is:
- Create an app-only discount code which can be used when the app is downloaded.
- Include a small gift with the first app orders for a limited amount of time.
- Launch app-only products together with the app.
3. Have a reason to shout about your great new app
A great way to make sure that your app becomes an integral part of your overarching marketing and sales campaigns, is to link the launch of your app with the launch of a new campaign. This could be launching the app in conjunction with a new season range, special product or marketing campaign. Ideas like:
- Never miss a sale again – shop Cyber Monday deals from our new app.
- Valentines sorted: Order gifts using our new app.
- Browse our new SS15 collection on the go with our new app.
4. Make sure your app is optimised for the app store
The more downloads your app gets in a short space of time, the higher it will be ranked in the app store. This is great for customer acquisition. Potential customers who are just browsing through the store for retail apps, will be more likely to find yours this way. More ways to increase the organic searchability of your app include:
- Carefully choose keywords that most represent your brand and what you sell.
- Create beautiful screenshots that show potential customers what the app can do.
For more information about app store optimisation, check out the tips that a Google expert shared with us around app promotion using Google AdWords.
5. Spread the app love internally
Excite your staff about the impending app launch. Make sure all your colleagues – in both head office and the physical store locations – know about the app and become advocates of it. Motivate those working on the shop floor to talk to customers about the app and what features it offers to make their shopping experience more enjoyable. At House of Fraser, store staff often use the app’s store stock checker to show clients whether a product is in stock.
6. Don’t forget to keep it updated once the app has launched
Apps that feature fresh content regularly have higher retention rates and make for happier shoppers. Keep your customers happy by updating the app with new content regularly.