10 things to avoid when launching a mobile app

Mobile apps are no longer trendy; they are becoming table stakes. In fact, 66 percent of companies that witnessed a decrease in customer loyalty over the past year did not have a mobile app, according to Apptentive. While developing an effective mobile app can help restaurants achieve growth, launching a successful app can be a daunting challenge.

Balance Grille, a fast casual Asian-Fusion restaurant that ranked No. 32 in the 2017 Fast Casual Top 100 Movers & Shakers list, recently took on the challenge. Founders, Prakash Karamchandani and Ho Chan Jang, failed in their first two efforts, but found the third time was the charm.

Their first attempt was using a templated mobile app that allowed them to gain experience and learn more about their target audience. It didn’t go far enough, however, so Karamchandani and Chang switched to a “white-label” app created by their point-of-sale provider. Although the beta version of their second attempt helped solve some of the most common user problems, the user experience still wasn’t great. The app had too many limitations and didn’t offer something new, Karamchandani said.

The pair’s third attempt — which they deem a success — was an app and a loyalty platform.

“Our new app is directly integrated with our point-of-sale system, which eases operations and increases order accuracy, and is built on top of an advanced loyalty platform with various game mechanics to increase customer engagement and rich reporting for greater insight into our customer’s behavior and spending habits,” Karamchandani said.

Balance Grille’s journey to find a working mobile app led them to create a list of 10 mistakes to avoid when creating a mobile app.

1. Not integrating the app into all operations processes

Your team members do not know how to use the app, nor how it will impact their roles in your company. The teams do not combine their efforts to promote the app properly.

How to avoid:

  • Have a plan for delegating tasks and expectations among your team, training and operating processes.
  • Develop a detailed marketing plan that leverages your existing channels to promote the app.

2. Not realizing that app itself is one part of a puzzle

Instead of being a part of the sales ecosystem, your app is just an ordering channel that lacks an integrated back-end CRM system and a balanced feature set. It does not offer essential capabilities, such as integration with a POS system, targeted marketing campaigns, etc.

How to avoid:

  • Collaborate with a development partner that has solid experience in all areas of the mobile app ecosystem.
  • Gain a deep understanding of your objectives for each part of the app ecosystem.

3. Not finding the happy medium between an in-house development and a non-white label app

You either launch a templated app that makes your brand indistinguishable from others and offers minimal customization or rely on long, costly and risky in-house development.

How to avoid:

  • Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of both options and proceed further carefully based on your goals and needs.
  • Consider a feature-set solution with a white-labeled app as a central part of your integrated marketing program that places emphasis on app customization capabilities.

4. Not knowing the standard of what could be achieved with the app before choosing a supplier

Without setting clear goals, you have either unrealistic or very limited expectations of your future app and thus get unsatisfactory results.

How to avoid:

  • Learn from others’ experience. You can check out other mobile apps and see what you like and don’t like about them to come up with the best idea for your own app. Get inspiration from the most successful apps in the industry. Think what distinguishes your brand from the rest and how you can capitalize on it.
  • Create your own list of criteria that your app has to meet and set up clear goals.
  • Check your app developer’s road-map for the next year.

5. Being afraid to switch from your old app

Your current app receives mediocre or negative customer feedback or does not perform well for your business. However, you still stick to your old app.

How to avoid:

  • Don’t be afraid to make a change and switch to a new app.
  • Prior to a massive app launch, form a beta testing group for your pilot launch in one location or one city to collect feedback.

6. Not trying to track every customer transaction

Without proper tracking of customer transactions, you cannot learn about your users’ preferences and experiences. This lack of knowledge prevents you from creating highly targeted campaigns.

How to avoid:

  • Make app interface the easiest way to place an order with all modifiers available.
  • Develop a broad promotion strategy that involves all customers, not only your most loyal ones.
  • Make sure your staff reminds customers to use the app during every order, so you track with customer service reps.
  • Launch an engaging loyalty program that will encourage your guests to use the app during every order.

7. Launching a non-engaging and expensive loyalty program

Customers do not use your app and do not see the point of keeping it on their devices. Because of the low engagement rate, your expensive loyalty program does not achieve business goals.

How to avoid:

  • Create a bonus loyalty program that combines a simple earning mechanism with the Points Redemption Marketplace where you are going to offer complimentary menu items as rewards.
  • This approach to developing a loyalty program can help you drive higher engagement and simultaneously does not hurt your revenue because customers are taking rewards as additional items to their order.

8. Not communicating visually with the customer

Without visual appeal, your app fails to stand out in the crowd and engage customers.

How to avoid:

  • Use an image-based, kiosk-like ordering menu.
  • Create a special news and offers section with juicy pictures and combine it with a push notification capability for deeper user engagement.
  • Add an effective CTA.

9. Implementing a static user interface

Your app with a static user interface does not keep up with the latest trends in mobile app design and falls behind your competitors’ apps.

How to avoid:

  • Get inspiration from what the most successful mobile apps are doing, like those for Starbucks, Uber, Spotify, Netflix, Wish, etc.
  • Consider using dynamic interface and one-page flows that are tailored to each customer.

10. Not focusing on incremental revenue generation

Your app remains economically disruptive, and you cannot measure what additional value it generated.

How to avoid:

Set exact goals across your entire team for sales and resulting ROI.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *