When it comes to using apps in CPG marketing, brands need to focus not on acquisition but retention. Getting someone to download an app is one thing, but keeping them engaged—a necessity for CPG brands seeking a high ROI—can be a much greater challenge. Because of how frequently consumers need to buy CPG products (often weekly, and sometimes daily) brands need app marketing that centers around retention. Consumers need regular reminders that your brand is the brand of choice every time they need to buy the product. To meet this need, the most effective CPG app-based marketing strategy centers on getting users to consistently engage with your app.
To create an engaging app, brands should consider what those with successful long-term app retention have done and be prepared to embrace emerging technologies such as voice search, geolocation tracking, and augmented reality (AR) to ensure their apps stay relevant to consumers. Brands also need to look to traditional methods for boosting sales and customer awareness like incentivizing customers and creating a game-like app experience. The most effective app-based CPG marketing strategies don’t just get consumers to download your app they also keep them coming back to your app—or the third-party app you’re embedded in—and, by extension, your brand.
Augmenting a Strong CPG Marketing Strategy With Gamification
Gamification is a proven method for boosting sales. In one case, a CPG brand in the snack foods sector was able to increase sales by 40% using a gamified app. Such results are not uncommon. Gamification allows you to advertise to consumers by making discovering your products and interacting with your brand fun. Here are some of the benefits of digital gamification for a brand:
- Ability to scale up: Using a gamification strategy via an app allows a brand to scale the game for many users. This means reaching a wider audience as the popularity of the app grows, without increased expenses. Compare this to a physical model, for example, McDonald’s Monopoly game, where physical supplies are required. The brand has to provide peel-off stickers and packaging to every franchise unit. The more popular the game becomes, the more cost incurred in the form of game pieces. Digital gamification allows brands to avoid increasing expenses with increased usage.
- Ongoing ROI: Gamification is not a one-time advertisement that consumers view and forget. The nature of the app drives repeated return visits and interaction, which builds brand affinity and increases the possibility of sales every single time.
- Helps to identify brand advocates: Gamification in-app provides data on the most engaged consumers. These users are ones who have a positive impression of your brand and who can become brand advocates and ambassadors.
Gamification is one of the primary engagement drivers for the shopping app Shopkick. Designed like a digital scavenger hunt, Shopkick allowing users to collect points—known as kicks—that can be redeemed for gift cards at a range of popular stores. The app provides a challenge for the consumer while also offering a reward, which keeps them coming back to the app and provides repeated exposure for the partner brands.
Gamification is not the only effective app-based marketing strategy for CPG brands. Another option is working with cutting-edge technology to provide consumers with a unique experience.
Emerging Technology and CPG Marketing
The fact that mobile app advertising is a strong converter is no secret, which is why so many brands are trying it. Yet consumers’ use of apps is starting to plateau. In 2016, app activity grew by 11%; in 2017, that growth lowered to 6%. That shift tells us that consumers have largely already discovered the apps they want to use regularly and that getting them to adopt new ones may be a challenge. For that reason, brands need to stand out. To do this, they can leverage newer technology options.
- Location-based tech: One area of growth has been shopping apps, usage of which grew by 54% in 2017. One of the primary technologies that drives these apps is geolocation, which allows advertisers to reach out to consumers with contextually relevant messaging based on where they are. This can occur a number of ways, from standard beacons to more complex audio signal-based GPS triangulation. This location-enabled option means that consumers will often use these apps while they’re in the shopping aisle to assist them with purchase decisions.
- Voice-based search: Consumers are becoming increasingly dependent on voice to navigate the digital space, and it is anticipated that at least half of Internet searches will be voice-based by 2020.
- Augmented reality: Many brands have already jumped on the AR bandwagon, and companies like IKEA, Acura, and L’Oréal have rolled out apps that allow users to try products in a quasi-real environment.
By leveraging emerging technology, you can help your app stand out in a crowded digital space. Consumers want to try new things, and using technology like location-enabled apps, voice control, and AR can provide a more unique customer experience. However, you don’t have to go all in on emerging technology. Sometimes, the most effective solutions are traditional ones, like incentivizing customers.
Incentivized App Solutions That Limit Retailer Cost
One of the most tried-and-true methods of customer relationship building is incentivizing shopper behavior. However, this should not be confused with offering discounts. Discounting may get a consumer to buy, but it also dilutes margins and trains the consumer to shop on price. Rewarding a customer for engaging with a product is a better way to incentivize them.
Discounting may get a consumer to buy, but it also dilutes margins and trains the consumer to shop on price.
Consumers often have a value perception of points which can actually exceed their true dollar value. This is because the points don’t just provide a monetary value, they provide a brand appreciation value that leads to brand affinity. Rewarding consumers with points rather than discounts makes them feel both monetarily and emotionally rewarded for engaging with a brand. This is why CPG brands should offer some type of app-based rewards system to consumers.
Offering rewards, leveraging emerging tech, and creating a game-like experience through mobile apps are all routes to an effective CPG marketing campaign. Combining these methods will result in a campaign that offers a higher ROI and a better customers experience, making it a win-win for the brand and the consumer.
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