Mobile apps: Option or necessity? [GALLERY]

We know m-commerce is on the rise and  brand websites needs to be mobile optimised. But if you wanted to go one step further, and stay ahead of the pack, you’d need to have a mobile app, Anthony Fung, managing director of Zalora Indonesia, said.

Fung was speaking at Marketing's first-ever Digital Marketing conference in Indonesia.

Today, 50% of Zalora’s transactions occur through its mobile app. Much of the marketing department's time, according to Fung, is spent on brainstorming ways to get consumers on their app. He added that Indonesia today also has a huge underground e-commerce society fuelled by social media. Unfortunately, the trust in banner ads (rightly so), are not high due to fraud cases. Having a brand app, therefore, allows for more secure transaction.

Also, Comscore suggests that in 2016, 60% of all the impressions will be on a mobile device. So this new generation flips the market upside down.

Check out the photos from Digital Marketing Indonesia here:

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“Mobile apps are the path of least resistance for people to buy online” Fung said, as he took the stage on day one of Marketing’s inaugural Digital Marketing Indonesia 2015 conference held in Pullman Jakarta. The ease of convenience also helps in transaction as most often consumers already have their details saved on the app, unlike in a mobile optimised site.

In Zalora's experience, customers who actually download apps are wealthier with more sophisticated smartphones. These customers in the long run, turn out to be those who buy more. “Our strategy is that we want to acquire lesser consumers but with high customer value and longer lifetime rate,” Fung explained. So how does it push its consumers to download apps?

Zalora focuses mainly on creating a bigger mobile presence by disseminating more campaigns, information and rewards through its app platform. Even its social media campaigns are skewed in a direction where consumers are encouraged to download apps. This leads to direct action from the consumer to buy through the mobile channel.

Push notifications, according to Fung also work far better than emails. He said:

People don't check emails as often as push notifications on phones. Push notification is the new CRM.

Agreeing with him was Reynazran Royono, CEO of Snapcart who also said nearly 80% of time spent on mobile phone is spent using apps. “Smartphone users interact with their devices much often than traditional marketing channels such as TV. Brands cannot afford to miss the (mobile) boat,” he said adding that in the next 12 months, 63% of Indonesia shoppers plan to leverage mobile devices to plan for purchases.

However, because the mobile device is so personal, Royono warns that messages need to be more sensitive and appropriately placed. For that to happen, it is equally vital to really understand your consumer.

“Segmentation is not the same as personalisation. However, the route to personalisation does indeed start from segmentation. Be sure to really understand who you are sending a certain message to,” he said.

The trick to being useful on the mobile platform is by being timely, social and informative. No one wants an overwhelming amount of vague messages on their devices. With consumer memory spans now lasting shorter than a goldfish’s, messages need to be optimised enough to hook the consumer in immediately.

Opening doors with the rise of mobile

The influx of mobile along with internet has really over the years given rise to creativity and content said several of our speakers. Bjorn Sprengers, CMO of said after TV, Internet is the biggest driver of content marketing.

“Mobile in Indonesia is creating an explosion of content consumption,” he added. Unlike TV though, great content online  doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive. What good content simply needs is a vision and a point of view – which unfortunately most content today lacks in.

Meanwhile Eka Sugiarto, head of media, Unilever Indonesia added that today, times are challenging and brands need to learn, adjust and adapt. Agility is a must. “The mobile magic moment is here for us in Indonesia,” she said, citing the fact that 74% of Indonesians today see their smartphone’s as their most important device.

Brands in Indonesia, she added, need to embrace the fact that mobile along with influx of digital is the driving force behind discovery. “Digital is now allowing us to engage deeper and create direct personal relationships,” she added.

Get the right tools in place

Organisations have two seconds – the elevator ride – to connect with a customer, said Priambodo Kusumajaya, analytics channel manager of IBM Indonesia. Empowered customers demand more from brands today. Customers want brands to anticipate and service their purchasing needs and ease of interaction. They want brands to be present in real time, equipt with a complete idea of who they are.

“You have to, as a brand, be there at the right time for the right customer at the right place with the right service. Moreover, you have to get all of these right all the time. That’s how you should create your customer experience,” he said.

But how do you ensure that you have such capabilities? The answer lies in analytics. “In Indonesia, there is more unstructured than structured data. You need big data capabilities for customer insight,” Kusumajaya said. He added for any company looking to have that better sales lead and marketing outcomes, more refined customer insights are necessary.

While focussing on Big data is important, Sprengers said marketers should focus break that into smaller data to really make an impact at operational levels for companies.

Royono from Snapcart also added it is not necessary that investment into analytics be expensive. “Expensive doesn't mean best for your brand. If you can create your own analytics method, you should go for it,” he added. But what is vital is for brands to know what they need based on what they want to track, and existing capabilities of the team.

Social to your rescue 

In getting all this right, social media and the data collected through social is crucial. Speakers on Day 1 of conference agreed that brands need to speak the language of the customer on social media - the tonality is important.

At Intel, we given the way consumers were evolving, we had to become storytellers, sharing stories of technology that inspire or stories about causes Intel is passionate about – women is one of them, Rini Hasbi, marketing director, Intel said.

And when there is a need to talk about products, brands should aim to extend the longevity of conversation through social, drive product awareness and/or consideration and make room to demonstrate features and benefits in a creative manner.

Other than being present and pushing messages on social media, what is also important is listening on the platform, according to Sakshi Prakash, senior analyst of Lenovo. Quite literally, social media listening is a focus group of millions and this can yield insights for any part of the business.

"It can help identify the questions brands didn’t know they needed the answers to," she said.

Whether brands are using synthesio, Topsy, Buffer, Sysomos, Twazzup, Sprinklr, Brandwatch, Social Mention, Radian6 or Hootsuite for social listening, what is important is that they dedicate resource for it which would assist every department of the company.

"Social listening can be as narrow or as broad as you want it to be- treat it like search. From competitor brands, brand names to category generics, it could be anything," she said.

Social media can help with two broad things:

For Insights and learning, it can help brands recognise category and consumer trends, complement traditional surveys and research, measure brand’s emotional resonance and differing attributes, understand reach target consumer segments, measure the performance and impact of marketing campaigns and identify unmet needs and white space opportunities.

For outreach, it can help brands manage social media communities and engage with them and listen to consumer complaints and  carry out customer service.