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#DigitalDiary: What makes an award winning mobile retail app

Asia is a mobile-first region and an important market for app developers. Keeping this true to heart, this year’s entries for the Asia Mobile Awards organised by Mobile World Congress Shanghai’s GSMA under the best mobile app for retail, ecommerce and marketing category were diverse and unique in function.

As a jury member for the category, I noticed some trends that stood out for me on successful mobile apps. The app category attracted entries from mobile wallets, loyalty apps and shopping assistants to apps for sales assistants across the region from Cambodia to Korea. Some of the learnings I took home from these apps were:

Keep the customer in mind: We hear the phrase – customer is the King – a lot, but what differentiates a winner is how much real value and benefits an app brings for a customer. App developers, brand and retailers, need to make sure that their app is something that a customer genuinely needs and would want to engage with on a daily basis.

Add the ‘fun’ element: There are so many apps all around. To stand out in the crowded app market, it is important that the app is enjoyable and compelling. Repeat visits and engagements with the app would only happen, if the experience is not just unique, but also enjoyable.

Keep it simple: A seamless user interface (UI) can make or break your customer’s app experience. Most of the apps I revisit are the ones that make it easy and convenient for me to work through it – easy enough that even my parents can figure out how to use it, without having being explained to. As soon as the app looks like it will take a few minutes to figure it out, I end up deleting it, knowing I will never come back to it again.

Privacy, please!: With all the recent cyberattacks on various apps and companies, this is one issue that is becoming important for users. No one wants their trusted data with an app stolen or worse in case of retail apps, their card details being hacked and literally costing them money. Security is of the utmost importance, especially for payments.

Value for money: For paid apps, this is an important criterion. I don’t mind paying for an app that I find useful. However, it should be worth the price tag put on it. While monetisation models are key for the sustenance for the app, keeping a price too high for an app that users might find elsewhere will deter people from downloading it altogether.

Shubhi Tandon

Shubhi Tandon is the Assistant Editor at Digital Market Asia. Fascinated by the evolving digital media industry, she has focussed on tracking developments in the Asia Pacific market since 2014.