Mobile Payments: Avoiding the Rapid Path to Irrelevancy

From its experience and continued education in mobile, W. Capra has identified some key foundational learnings that should be used to to think about how to increase adoption and ongoing usage of your mobile app.  Consumers, in particular those who are willing to download and try a mobile app, are a fickle bunch.  Recent usage data shows that mobile app engagement decreases incredibly quickly following app download, with roughly 3.3% of unique mobile users still active on day 30 following download of the app.[1] As more and more mobile apps come to market, the fight to be a downloaded and used app becomes increasingly combative.
Everything the app does, at each public facing release, it must do exceedingly well
Your app is already fighting an uphill battle to become a consistently used (and not deleted!) app for each consumer. It is fundamental to comprehensively test all consumer-facing functionality, as your app must not be prone to random error messages, lack of clear process flows, or general usage inconsistencies.
Even if your app might not have all of the complex functionality you envision in Phase 5 of your roadmap, whatever basic payment, loyalty or other integrations are part of your initial offering must work flawlessly or consumers will steer your app toward a rapid path to irrelevancy. Your Phase 5 vision won’t even get a chance to see the light of day after the dismal reviews and lack of continued use of your initial app versions drive decision makers in your organization to abandon your mobile vision altogether.
Your platform must do more than bring your current environment mobile
While your organization may have the perspective that everything in your current systems and processes (payment, loyalty, etc.) needs to be mimicked and mapped precisely to current internal systems, consumers will be nonplussed by these capabilities in the mobile ecosystem. Users of mobile apps will expect a more robust, integrated experience. Simply being able to provide existing functions via mobile (i.e. input a card based loyalty identifier into the app, or scan a coupon to receive deals) is not sufficiently captivating to a mobile app user. Mobile apps need to have capabilities unique to mobile to encourage continued use and adoption.
If discounts are used to drive adoption, be prepared to discontinue discounts and encounter an exodus away from app use
Similar to the way someone with a boat finds new acquaintances eager to pal around with them on summer days, discounts in place for mobile platform use will drive “acquaintances” of your company to adopt and drive volume of your mobile app.
Once those discounts are no longer in place, your mobile platform will be as lonely as that boat owner on a subzero winter day.
Be thorough, different and thoughtful
To avoid developing a mobile app or platform that quickly becomes irrelevant, ensure that whatever your app does at each public release, it does very well.  Make the mobile experience different than the stolid, known ecosystem that your current consumers interact with today so that people know that mobile offers something new and unique. Be thoughtful in your approach to drive adoption and avoid offering steep discounts unless you want to see use of the mobile app drop off when those discounts cease.
For further information, contact Tim at: tradway@wcapra.com
[1] October 16, 2015. App Marketers Focus on Engagement, Retention. Retrieved from (http://www.emarketer.com/Article/App-Marketers-Focus-on-Engagement-Retention/1013111)