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How to optimize a mobile app for brick and mortar businesses: Part 2

Mobile app success can be defined by popularity, number of downloads, engagement, how often users log in and how much money it makes you through subscriptions, in-app purchases, ad revenue or other revenue sources.

In the previous post, we showed that these metrics are primarily aimed at digital first companies. They work great when the entire customer journey is within the app. It starts with a download, then they are hooked and finally they pay up.

But how many apps published by brick and mortar enterprises–retail, food, banks and travel–work this way? The answer is very few. As a result, B&M organizations have their own success criteria and need to develop their own metrics to measure that success.

To recap, the main goals for B&M organizations for their mobile apps are to:

1. Ensure loyalty by satisfying customers with a high level of service.

2. Reduce costs of servicing customers by moving activities to digital channels.

3. Increase adoption of offerings by making them prominent and easy to access.

As a result, analyzing mobile app data for brick and mortar stores is hard. Not because data is not captured but because the best practices and solutions are geared toward the wrong metrics.

Mobile app metrics for brick and mortar success

Now let's take a look at what metrics you should look at to ensure you are optimizing your app towards your goals.

And they are… drumroll…

  1. Successful journeys

  2. Experience scores

  3. Customer feedback

Successful journeys

Let’s start with successful journeys. Your app offers services to your customers. It could be as simple as checking a balance or as complex as building personalized financing offers. A successful journey is one where a customer can complete the entire process quickly and easily. Many analytics tools allow you to set up funnels that show off each step and the percentage of users that progress through each step. But percentages and drop off areas are just the beginning.

To optimize customer journeys, you will want to know if users are starting to spend more time than expected on a specific step. Are they taking unusual intermediate steps? For example, do users have to refer to help articles? A journey map tool will capture the happy path that users take through your app. It will not just highlight friction points, but also explain why customers are dropping off–be it because of confusing content, layout issues or technical problems. Speaking of struggles, let's move on the next metric to optimize: experience scores.

Experience scores

Hypothetical question: Two customers open your app to do the same job. They see the same screens and even take the same amount of time to complete the process. But one comes back again and again and the other never logs back in. What explains the difference? Experience.

A bad experience can be caused by technical issues such as slow load time–screens that take too long to display content, errors and even crashes. But it often has nothing to do with any technical problem. The app works exactly as designed but users struggle with a few things, such as:

  • Dead zooms, which is when someone tries to zoom in on a piece of content that won’t magnify

  • Reorientations, which is when someone tilts a device back and forth to try to view content in the right orientation

  • Rage taps, which is when someone taps on an unresponsive button or link

In other words it's not enough to measure conversion rates. A user might be determined to book that ticket enough to suffer through a frustrating experience, but they will not be coming back again soon or recommending the app to friends. Optimizing experiences is a game of catching where these struggles are happening, figuring out why and fixing it before too many users are impacted.

To do that you want to benchmark the expected experience score and catch if a particular screen, user segment or journey is trending in the wrong direction. Experience scores also help prioritize UX improvements. If a rise in struggles is directly correlated with abandonment and churn it should be prioritized over other struggles in other areas that users might be more tolerant of.

Customer feedback

Of course, to understand how customers are experiencing your app, it's simplest to hear directly from them. But there are several challenges to acting on customer feedback:

  1. The first is capturing the feedback. There are many voice of customer tools available that can deploy surveys on your app. Sharing the survey at the right time and place to get feedback is much more difficult.

  2. For the few that do leave feedback, often it's not clear what they are talking about. Annoyed customers might not be in the mood to take screenshots and write detailed descriptions.

  3. The final challenge is figuring out how representative these users are. Only a small minority of customers leave feedback in surveys through voice of customer tools or app store ratings. What about the silent majority?

The solution to all the challenges above is combining a digital experience intelligence platform that includes session replay with your customer feedback program. This will allow you to test where to include surveys in the journey, visualize customer experiences that lead to feedback and quantify the impact of those experiences.

Meeting customer expectations

Instead of traditional metrics like acquisition, engagement and revenue, B&M organizations should focus on measuring and optimizing successful journeys, experience scores and customer feedback. When it comes to mobile apps, customers are no longer satisfied with an app that just works. They expect frictionless experiences on mobile. Delivering that will increase customer loyalty, reduce operational costs and drive growth. Learn more about how Glassbox can help you today.

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