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Deciding your digital touch points


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Should you invest in native mobile apps, bots or web apps? This presentation gives examples from different business areas and discusses the reasons to choose between native apps and web apps. Also it covers few latest examples of Facebook Messenger bots.

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Deciding your digital touch points

  1. 1. Perttu Tolvanen, North Patrol / J. Boye 2016 Aarhus / @perttutolvanen Deciding your digital touch points Native apps, bots or just a responsive website? This is a summarised version of the original presentation version. Several case stories and other examples have been excluded from this version. However, plenty of additional text boxes and explanations have been added to this version.
  2. 2. 2 North Patrol – your advisor in complex web renewal projects
  3. 3. 3 This already happened.
  4. 4. 4 It is not a question of whether to build mobile services, it is about HOW to build them – what kind of apps, what kind of websites, what channels to use? How to reach customers? How to offer a good user experience?
  5. 5. 5 This presentation explores different cases where organizations have decided to either build apps or, instead, focused on building great websites without apps – and what the practical and business reasons for their choices have been.
  6. 6. A few things to note 1. We’ve seen a big rush to apps during the last few years – yet app development hasn’t become easier or cheaper. 2. We haven’t solved the discoverability problem either. Apps are hard to find, hard to install, and they keep their stuff in siloes. 3. Yet there are plenty of things that can only be done with apps – such as notifications, access to camera, continuous access to location, offline usage. 4. The biggest change is the user experience gap between apps and websites. Nowadays websites can be built to work almost as smoothly as native apps. 6
  7. 7. North Patrol Oy7 Especially connecting to and controlling different devices (e.g. at home) is something that will require native apps now and in the future.
  8. 8. North Patrol Oy8 Apps are often the only way to reach new devices, especially in Apple’s ecosystem. There are no signs that this would be changing.
  9. 9. 9 What are strong reasons for creating native mobile apps?
  10. 10. Example: banking apps • Strong contractual customer relationship and plenty of self-service tasks. Banks can be seen as being almost “tool providers” for your “money management”. North Patrol Oy10
  11. 11. Example: doctor/healthcare apps Healthcare often has strong contractual relationship, especially occupational healthcare.
  12. 12. Examples: Personal chat with a nurse, €15 per 20 minutes. Video discussion with a doctor. Example: doctor/healthcare apps Healthcare can have good business case for providing video appointments and other demanding interaction sessions which can only be done with native apps.
  13. 13. Example: telecom operator’s app for customers 13 Telecom companies also have strong contractual relationship and they often want to use that relationship to expand into new business areas.
  14. 14. 14 Native app remembers your credentials. Strongest advantage of native apps for businesses is the better capability to remember login details.
  15. 15. Example: airline apps (=ticket apps) One of the biggest areas of native apps has always been travel. Their business case is typically built around easier access to ticket details (and bar code) and the possibility to offer upgrades and other additional items (directly to customers!, not through brokers).
  16. 16. Example: Helsinki public transportation ticket app 16
  17. 17. 17 Example: Helsinki public transportation ticket app
  18. 18. Example: taxi and other travel apps Customer expectations should also not be underestimated. Uber set the standard for taxi ordering and Uber did it by using apps. Nowadays most people expect taxi ordering to happen with an app (Uber or not).
  19. 19. Example: taxi and other travel apps For example, Finland’s most most popular taxi ordering app (”Valopilkku”) would not really require to be an app – there is no contractual relationship, nothing that would _require_ to have an app. Still, it probably makes sense to have the app, because Uber set the standard for this category.
  20. 20. Example: car rental apps North Patrol Oy20 Sometimes apps are also done because of competition. If the leading player builds a rich app, others might follow, even though having an app might not be technically required. Having a good app, and being the first one, can also be a competitive advantage, especially against new competition since big players can ”teach” their customers to use their app directly (instead of going to price comparison websites).
  21. 21. Example: car rental apps North Patrol Oy21 Car rental apps are a good example of a category which has been ”on the edge” for a long time. Apps can make sense for most loyal customers who have contractual relationship (and special prices) and want the best possible service. For other customer groups, the app is probably just a distraction.
  22. 22. 22 User experience can be better. Especially complex ordering and delivery processes (e.g. food delivery, car rental) can benefit from having an app, because apps remember ”the state” of the process better than websites and apps can provide notifications.
  23. 23. 23 Apps have already replaced traditional self- service channels, a.k.a. extranet services, for many consumer brands.
  24. 24. Example: B2B app forreportingemployment pension(andrelated documents) 24 In general, B2B is not building plenty of apps, and probably shouldn’t. But there are special cases where it makes sense to build apps that provide additional service on top of a full-featured extranet service, e.g. for scanning documents and making quick changes when on the road.
  25. 25. 25 Access to a phone’s capabilities: - notifications, - camera, - offline saving, - continuos access to GPS, - ability to connect to other devices Some of these can be (technically) done with web apps already, e.g. access to camera and offline saving of content, but they often require special tricks and can be very hard to implement so that they work reliably in every device (Android, iOS, and others). If these are critical factors, it still typically pays to go with native apps.
  26. 26. Summary: Reasons for creating native apps 1. Strong contractual relationship with customers, e.g. banking, loyalty program. 2. Your customers frequently do business or interact with you – and they want to start where they left off previously. 3. Your app requires access to hardware features like camera, offline saving or notifications. 4. The user experience benefits greatly from a native app that remembers the state and sends notifications (e.g. ticket apps). 26
  27. 27. Summary: Reasons for creating native apps 1. Strong contractual relationship with customers, e.g. banking, loyalty program. 2. Your customers frequently do business or interact with you – and they want to start where they left off at previous time. 3. Your app requires an access to hardware features like camera, offline saving or notifications. 4. The user experience benefits greatly from a native app that remembers the state and sends notifications (e.g. ticket apps). 27 This reason is greatly challenged by web apps and messaging bots.
  28. 28. 28 Examples where you don’t need a native app. … in this presentation hybrid apps are not discussed at all, because no one should be building them. Real-life experience has shown that too often hybrid apps offer ’the worst of both worlds’, so the true choice should be done between native apps and web apps. (Especially because building native apps has become slightly easier in recent years, e.g. because of React Native and Xamarin.)
  29. 29. Example: Helsinki Journey Planner app 29
  30. 30. Example: Helsinki Journey Planner app You can even set your own preferences, e.g. how fast walker you are. Additionally, you can set your favorite locations, your favorite stops, your favorite transportations categories – and the web app remembers those even though there is no login or anything. Marketing challenge: Web apps can be harder to advertise and promote since ”Download from App store” sounds better than ”Go to this URL address and make a bookmark to your home screen”. 
  31. 31. Example: complex travel ticket ordering processes (Tallink) E-commerce is actually a good ”counter-example” to the case of taxi apps. In e-commerce, customers are expecting the check-out to happen in browser. Only the biggest players are building apps (Zalando, Amazon) and even they say that apps are not hugely succesful way of getting sales. Especially complex ordering processes are good cases for web apps since typically ordering processes happen inside one session.
  32. 32. 32 Web apps / websites can offer a rich user experience if your typical user session happens inside a short time frame (e.g. e-commerce checkout, shopping assistants).
  33. 33. 33 The world beyond apps?
  34. 34. WeChat is a similar messaging service to Facebook Messenger, but there are also brands and apps inside the service, and you can use them to book doctor’s appointments, order taxis, pay e-commerce orders and plenty of other things.
  35. 35. One of the key concepts of WeChat is that you can make simple transactions inside WeChat, but brands can also offer the possibility to download a special app for more complex transactions. So in China, WeChat is not trying to replace apps, it is just offering an easy way to try out the services and work as the notifications channel.
  36. 36. Case KLM and Facebook Messenger North Patrol Oy36 • When buying tickets at you can authorize KLM as your Facebook Messenger contact. • Check out the video:
  37. 37. Case KLM and Facebook Messenger North Patrol Oy37 • When buying tickets at you can authorize KLM as your Facebook Messenger contact. • Check out the video: For KLM, the Facebook Messenger bot replaces the need for a native app completely. The Messenger provides offline saving, gives an effective notifications channel and even a channel to do upgrades (seats, business class) and provide customer service.
  38. 38. Case New York Times and US election (and Facebook Messenger) North Patrol Oy38 New York Times is running a very interesting experiment, where they report about US elections using a Facebook Messenger bot. Most likely travel industry and media companies will be the first wave of companies that start building Messenger bots to provide notifications and simple functionality to customers.
  39. 39. Final advice • When choosing your touch points, consider user experience requirements and your business requirements. Messaging bots for transactions that have several steps, but not a strong contractual relationship (e.g. travel). Web apps and responsive websites for applications and services where transactions are mostly made without logging in and during one session. (e.g. e-commerce, assistant apps). Native apps for transactional services that require logging in and are used frequently. Also if access to phone features is critical.
  40. 40. Contact: Perttu Tolvanen Web & CMS Expert, Partner @perttutolvanen / 050 368 5199 North Patrol Oy North Patrol Oy Mannerheimintie 18A 00100 Helsinki Finland 40
  41. 41. North Patrol is your expert in selecting the best vendors and technologies for your next web, intranet, extranet, or online store project. Our main focus is on the critical stages of project planning, defining requirements and selecting the best partners. Additionally, we support the implementation and assess the results. 41 Advisor in buying web projects
  42. 42. 42 Buyer’s Guide to Web Projects Our blog covers the CMS market in Northern Europe and offers advice in planning and buying renewal projects. PS. Im also writing about bots, mobile apps and web apps in my Medium Journal: