Home Business NewsTech News The App factor: mobile apps are key to keeping customers connected

The App factor: mobile apps are key to keeping customers connected

by LLB Editor
17th Jan 13 3:36 pm

From buying your dog a collar to accessing a boarding pass, there’s an app for everything

A famous advertising campaign for Apple tells us “there’s an app for that.” In 2013 the smartphone and tablet app is set to become ever more present: from public transport to personalised banking, shopping to dating, there seems to be an app for everything. For any business, the question now has to be asked: can you afford not to have an app?

With our lives increasingly being conducted on-the-go, smartphones and tablets have become ubiquitous. At the same time, longer working hours and busy lifestyles make it harder to meet potential new partners. Enter eHarmony’s mobile app, which makes it even easier to find fellow singles.

The same can be said for making travel arrangements (Southern Trains, for example, has a ticket booking app and many air operators now let you use your smartphone as a boarding pass) and shopping, with supermarkets including Sainsbury’s providing special deals and offers for users of their app. Every aspect of modern life can now be helped by an app, and for businesses they are a vital way for customers to stay in contact.

“These days there are few things that you cannot do with a smartphone or tablet,” explains Jason Chuck, VP International, eHarmony. “From updating your status on social networks to accessing boarding passes for a holiday, mobile business is booming. Given the personal nature of mobile devices it’s only natural to see an increase in the number of people and the frequency at which people are using mobile dating apps.”

eHarmony’s research shows that visits from mobile devices to the website have risen 68% year-on-year as of 30 November 2012, showing that those using mobile are serious about finding a new partner.

London is one of the most popular locations for visitors, with traffic up nearly 80% year-on-year. Mobile traffic from the London area is up by well over 45%. Finding a date with someone compatible in the capital has never been easier.

iPad and iPhone access

Although Apple’s dominance of the smartphone and tablet market has seen more of a challenge recently, it remains top of the tree, and the eHarmony iPad and iPhone apps are one of the most popular ways that members access its services.

But, while Apple continues to lead the way, Android, Windows and Google devices are also increasingly popular. In many cases these are significantly cheaper than the latest Apple products, and quality has been increasing in past years. Creating an app for Android and other non-Apple products is key in staying ahead of the game.

As Chuck explains, a lot of thought has gone into the design of the eHarmony apps: “The interface has been designed to be easy to use on a mobile device, ensuring a social and engaging experience. For example, the iPad app has been designed to take full advantage of the touchscreen interface, creating a unique experience for users.”

The iPad isn’t only for existing members. Registrations from visitors using this device were up by well over 380% year on year, while returning visits on iPads was up by over 325%. This means that engagement with mobile dating while on the move is increasing in popularity. By using the app, members can check their matches, send messages and browse the site wherever they are.

Although the iPad and iPhone are the most popular devices for visiting the site, there are also apps for Android and Windows smartphones and tablets.

Rescue me

Of course, while developing the latest technology is a great step forward, businesses also need to know their customers, and provide them with practical solutions – even help for when things go awry. By developing innovative, targeted apps that are of real use to customers, businesses can reap the benefits.

Take a look at eHarmony’s handy Bad Date Rescue App for iPhone, designed for when things don’t go to plan. Everyone has experienced a date where it quickly becomes apparent you are not compatible, and by using this app from eHarmony members can schedule a fake emergency call to their iPhone, or prompt a ‘call’ to their phone in three seconds, one or five minutes.

It is this kind of forward-thinking approach that helps a business to distinguish itself as a market leader.

Social media

Even the least technical business owner knows that these days you ignore social media at your peril. eHarmony’s apps and social media presence complement each other. Members can access the eHarmony Facebook page on the go. Currently the page has more than 17,000 likes.

Social media is playing an increasingly important role in eHarmony’s business, as Snelson explains: “As a business, social media continues to be a key component in our online marketing strategy and we anticipate it continuing to grow in 2013.

“eHarmony UK already has an active online community with more than 17,000 likes on Facebook, and a growing following on Twitter and Google+.”

To develop a modern, forward-thinking business strategy, the combination of apps and social media is a must. Increasingly, customers expect to have direct access to your business at the tap of a touchscreen – it would be unwise indeed to ignore this.

Win a Nexus 7, and a year’s membership

To celebrate the increasing numbers of members using the eHarmony mobile apps, eHarmony is running a competition for those who wish to use a personal device to support their personal journey to love. The prize will be free membership of eHarmony for one year, and a brand new Nexus 7 tablet, so you will always be connected.

Enter the competition here.

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