It’s empowerment, stupid! What Australian businesses can learn from the US app experience

It’s empowerment, stupid! What Australian businesses can learn from the US app experience

There are differences between Australians and Americans. For a start, we don’t grow up thinking donuts are part of a staple diet.

We appreciate the many nuances of a good coffee, rather than the super-sized, all-day percolated variety most Americans consume. And we’re not under the misapprehension that our closest neighbours are Germany and the Czech Republic.

I am currently travelling in the US, and marvelling at the many differences between Aussies and Yanks. One of these I’ve noted is the prevalence of the self-service mentality (also known as customer empowerment) when it comes to the vast and dazzling array of mobile services available.

According to ComScore’s US Mobile App Report (Sept 2014), Millennials aged 18-34 are spending the most time in mobile apps (nearly 75 hours of mobile app usage a month). Apps also drive the vast majority of media consumption activity on mobile devices, accounting for approximately seven out of every eight minutes. 

Millennials also represent one of the most desirable markets for advertisers (but you already knew that). When are people using apps? Every single day! The smartphone has become the personal assistant of choice, ready to help with anything you need. This is backed up by numerous surveys on all the things people would rather do without than their phones. Nearly half of US adults – 47% – said they wouldn’t last 24 hours without their smartphone, a recent survey by Bank of America found.

There has been a paradigm shift in empowerment. Self-service is becoming a greater part of consumers’ expectations – they prefer to find their own solutions in their own time. Increasingly, they don’t want a salesperson in a store or over the phone selling it to them.  

Apps are the perfect partner to facilitate this shift. Looking for the nearest ATM? What’s on TV? The cheapest hotel room in this town? The best vegan restaurant nearby? There’s an app for that. 

And if you provide a product or service that people use regularly, you want to make it easier for them to find you than your competitors, know when you are open and what you have to offer them 24/7.

Closely aligned to customer empowerment is the customer experience – people expect a good to excellent experience when they interact with a business either in person, through a website or mobile device.

Ernst & Young recently found that $40 billion of potential spending is impacted in Australia every year by poor customer experiences, with Australian businesses losing more than $720 for every negative customer experience.  

If you want to stay ahead of the curve, your business might do well to take note of these points when considering your website and mobile offerings. And don’t forget to ask the question, ‘Would you like an app with that?’

Dennis Benjamin is the founder and chief executive of mobile apps specialists AppsWiz and the Informatel Group. He is an expert in the areas of mobile trends, mobile apps, apps for businesses, entrepreneurship, and startups.


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