Company introduction Founded in 2000 Team of 14 full-time, 5-8 regular contractors. A decade of mobile experience: the technologies have changed radically (WAP to iPhone), the approach has evolved, emphasis on design Independent, privately owned, and profitable: no outside loans or investment.
Search & browse (mobile web) App stores App icons = top of mind
Mobile is more personal and playful than a desktop. People appreciate a quality experience. In the case of Lastminute, it’s about impulse decisions, so an engaging and aspirational experience makes a lot of sense. In Windows Phone 7 we did it by making the most of the panorama…
… and randomly rotating the featured photography. (includes Dubai!)
… but it’s not all about pretty pictures. Mobile devices are often used without the benefit of the user’s full attention and in short time-windows. Users need simple routes to their goal and expect performance. We are now looking at the booking part of the app. LM saw low conversion rates for WP7 users on the mobile site (back to that later) and part of the case for an app was around paying particular attention to the checkout process.
Back to convenience, one final touch of the app is around the experience when in travel – providing locally stored booking details and shortcuts to hotel info and local maps.
So… we know they are there, but how do you go about setting a strategy to get to your customers’ mobile devices? Do you need a mobile site? Do you need an app? What about all these platforms?
In the last year we ’ ve worked on iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, Nokia Qt, HP WebOS, J2ME, HTML5, Widget Runtime, WebSDK and probably a couple of others I ’ ve forgotten. We ’ re unusual in that we go very broad; we have a team with a deep understanding of the principles of mobile app development, and a strong track record of applying this to new platforms. And wow, it hurts. You know what the problem is: it ’ s fragmentation. Right now there are a couple of really popular target platforms, iOS and Android, and a couple of others that look credible (Nokia, WP7). Well, it ’ s not just Apple fanboys who want to use apps. It turns out that they have broad appeal, no matter what phone you own. Handsets are converging around a couple of form factors; they ’ re differentiating in software. And it ’ s not getting better. Every year we think it might be, then someone else launches a new platform (thanks, HP), or an old one seems to get a new lease of life, like Blackberry. Writing a single app for 8 platforms is hard, not to mention expensive.
Fortunately, some platforms are more popular than others. We usually ignore sales figures, and look at ‘active audience’ figures – in this case, app downloads. iOS and Android clearly dominate, but if every square is 1M downloads / day, then can you really ignore any of them?
While companies may focus on the cost of building across mobile platforms, the more significant cost may be in integrating with their legacy systems. And we have just discussed how mobile apps are not the only “apps” that will need that integration. Lastminute can innovate because they have APIs in place, but they are not the only ones… Our objectives working with DeVere Hotels were to create a tool that would enable both cross selling across the De Vere portfolio and up selling within a room booking. We devised a booking system in which to integrate the company’s different services and locations on offer. The booking engine’s unifying structure makes it easier for customers to book within the group, add extras or book something else within the group.
Briefly explain the 3 categories
But it isn’t a simple question of app store / no app store, needing native features or not. A few examples of why…
So, going back to Lastminute, what have they done? They have a mobile site optimised for iOS and Android and covering Hotels and Tickets. They found that conversion rates for WP7 and Nokia were lower than iOS/Android. They focused on apps for a single “action” – in this case Hotel bookings - and took the opportunity to deliver more focused experiences.
In the case of Malaysia Airlines, Sita built their mobile site. We worked with Sita to wrap that site within native apps, adding local navigation (main menu and top-level categories) for speed and local storage for convenience.
Rough Guides are a bit different. Their product is usually purchased once travel has been organised, and used while travelling. They sell packaged content that doesn’t require connectivity, so apps make a lot of sense for them. Also, the travel scenario means that customers will expect offline maps and no need for data connectivity. These are paid-for apps and Pearson wanted to make the most of the native apps: no – no gimmick shake feature, bu the use of Live search and rapid navigation.
Judging from what our clients are doing, there isn’t a single approach to mobile. It is usually the result of their particular set of considerations.
Mobile has historically been an area for exploration and R&D, often with isolated initiatives to test the new channel. Now that it has become mainstream, it cannot obviously be approached in a silo. When devising a mobile strategy, it is important to develop a vision of how it fits in a wider context.
Experienced •Over 100 apps launched pre-iPhone •11 years of experience in mobile •In-house development across 6 platforms Creative & innovative •BBC Innovation Labs winners (2007) •Over The Air winners (2008, 2009) •Vodafone Mobile Clicks finalist 2010 •Mobile World 2010 Most innovative app •BT Music Awards – Best app (2011) A disciplined process focused on quality Nokia and Microsoft partnersAbout Future PlatformsDelivering mobile since 2000
Directors originally launched Good Technology Working with Domino’s Pizza since 2005 on e-commerce, social, in-store & mobile Working with DeVere Hotels since 2009 on e-commerceAbout Future PlatformsCross-platform digital agency
Let’s start from the customerThe customer experience
“Mobile hotel querieshave grown almost 170M App downloads per day (worldwide)3000% in three short 79% Games & social (US)years” 8%Google Travel & otherResearched upcoming 61% Flurry, Dec ‘11 10M trip Travel & other downloads per dayReserved or booked a hotel, flight, etc. 43% Personal Business Checked into hotel, flight, etc. 53% Thinktravel, 2011 Downloaded 38% 54% a travel appWhat are they doing?The customer experience
Mobile site Hybrid NativeImplementation optionsTechnology choices
Mobile site Hybrid NativeCross-platform App store distribution Can include htmlExisting skillset Rendered html / webview Can share codeNative browser As good as libraries OS toolsNo app store Large app size Rare skillsetNo notificationsThere isn’t a single solutionTechnology choices
iOS/Android Hotel & Tickets Hotels on Qt Hotels on WP7 Focus on Hotels Mobile site Branded experiencesMobile site & native apps (Lastminute)Technology choices
Booking Post-purchase Check-in Hybrid apps on Nokia, iOS, Android Offline itinerary Offline boarding pass Mobile siteMobile site & hybrid apps (Sita for MH)Technology choices
Native apps on iOS, Android & Windows Phone Stand-alone apps7 Travelling scenarioNative apps (Rough Guides)What consumers experience
ConsiderationsUser experience Target platforms Cost of ownershipBackend infrastructure & roadmap It’s not Html5 vs. Native Start with one Measure and adaptReaching the mobile audienceTechnology choices