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Consumers desire to use fewer apps, and brands must bridge that gap

More Indian brands now combine

multiple services on a single app

 

Varun Jain

Research Manager, Media and Digital Practise

Kantar Millward Brown

Varun.Jain@kantarmillwardbrown.com

 

Consumers are looking for apps that help them connect multiple digital elements in their lives—from household chores to work, travel, entertainment, shopping and beyond. The future of apps is about aggregating multiple services into single app acting like a one-stop shop for different consumer needs.

 

How simple life would be if you could order that pizza, pay last-minute bills, and book a cab on the run while simultaneously replying to text and emails, all from a single app. But many marketers are running in herd in another direction, blindly eyeing a share in consumer’s mobile device and mind.

 

Meanwhile, the value of apps is gradually dwindling with proliferation of over 2.8 million and 2.2 million apps on the Google and Apple app stores, respectively. As high as 75 percent of apps are uninstalled soon after they are downloaded. Discovering and downloading the app that best suits a user’s needs takes time. It sometimes makes more sense for the user to search for the appropriate service on Google.

 

With each app trying to woo consumer attention, what marketers fail to realize is that mobile users have limited attention span. Consumers choose apps with an aim to simplify their daily grind and are likely to stick to them only if these apps continue to ease their drudgery.

 

The battle for a share in consumer’s mobile phone is fierce. Each new installation competes for space with essential apps like WhatsApp and Facebook. In addition, consumers complain about poor user experience, battery drains, and data waste.

 

Bridging the app gap

Marketers need to devise a better way to bridge the gap between the apps they offer and the simplified life consumer’s desire. This app gap can prevent brands from making the consumer’s consideration set. A single app with multiple uses can work especially well for consumers especially in low bandwidth areas.

 

Brands in India understand the need to aggregate and are increasingly adopting this concept. Calling itself  “India’s first all-in-one app,” Tapzo partners with over 35 providers to integrate apps for device recharging, bill payment, cab booking, food ordering,  and other services including access to news, videos, and other content.

 

Paytm is a classic example that integrates shopping, entertainment, travel, utility payment, and banking services from multiple providers in a single app. Earlier this year, Google launched its app Areo, which integrates restaurant delivery and home services. Flipkart is also reportedly planning to roll out a single app to integrate food ordering, cab hailing, travel booking, and shopping daily essentials.

 

While aggregating services may help ease the consumer’s life, it is not like one size fits all. The benefits are tangibly visible, however adopting this approach comes with its own set of challenges and might evoke skepticism from many marketers. Some critical considerations when executing include the following:

 

-               Aggregation should not come at the cost of personalization. The app content needs to be fluid and dynamic, serving user with the information and experience that is in line with each user’s interests, preferences, location, and intention.

 

-               The user experience is a prime concern. Aggregating your offerings within an app that fails to provide right usage experience can dilute brand equity. Content and experiences should be compelling enough for a user to engage with the app time and again.

 

There is an underlying cost in acquiring a user base, and keeping users hooked to the platform is equally challenging. Results will happen over time. Achieving scale with one-stop apps will largely depend on the app design offering seamless interface coupled with attractive incentives.