Mobile Engagement: How to Build an App That Puts Your Customer First - Insights

Mobile Engagement: How to Build an App That Puts Your Customer First

by Anastasia Dyakovskaya

4 minute read

When done right, an Android or iOS application can be a new user’s perfect introduction to your company, or an exciting way to engage existing fans. They pose a great opportunity for brands to get creative and try out new, fun ways to get people aware of and interacting with their products and platforms. We took a look at how some of the biggest names in the game are getting it right, and how others still seem to be figuring it out.


It’s no surprise the Walgreens app has a 4.5 star rating on the App Store, along with a slew of rave reviews from happy customers: one from last month reads,“The MOST user friendly and helpful APP!!” It’s a great example of a brand that really knows itself and its services, and thought long and hard about its existing and potential customer-base and how to make their lives easier.

The app is extensive, with basic elements like a store locator and online shopping to more advanced features like a pill reminder and daily steps counter. The three standout functionalities, however, are a prescription scanner for streamlined refills, a photo printing service (“ready in about an hour”), and a guide to weekly sales and coupons that easily sync with rewards cards.

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The app is also beautifully developed and impeccably well thought-out. You’d think it couldn’t get any better, but then a message pops up that directs you to a short customer survey, with the aim of improving user experience. With an app so good, it’s easy to believe that they actually listen to feedback.


When Starbucks completely redesigned its widely used app earlier this year, one would think they kept customer reviews in mind. The couple of months that have elapsed since the update, however, have seen a slew of negative feedback. Complaints range anywhere from lost or malfunctioning rewards and tips to privacy concerns and frustration at the loss of previous favorite features such as menus, nutrition facts, and build-your-own drink options. Yet another bummer? You need a rewards card to sign in!

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With a 1.5-star average, it’s clear these tech-minded-java-junkies are unhappy. Even though that’s probably not going to stop them from getting their Starbucks fix, there’s no reason why a 5-star brand shouldn’t have a 5-star app to match. Being able to pay for a coffee with our phones is useful, but we’re halfway into 2014 and by now people just want more. Bringing back pre-existing features should be a piece of cake for Starbucks, and getting to work on other improvements a major priority. Good thing they’ve got coffee to keep them going!


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If caffeine’s not enough, anyone in need of inspiration should take a cue from Charmin. Toilet paper doesn’t exactly scream fun, but this TP brand has found a way to lighten up a topic that’s usually kept under wraps. The company’s SitOrSquat app utilizes mobile’s localization technology to help users find and rate the bathrooms nearest to them; “Sit” for bathrooms that you like, and “Squat” for those you’d rather not revisit.

Charmin’s message is all about the “playful side of TP,” and tapping into the universal need of having to go on the go. Needless to say, the app is super handy – especially for families – and, worth mentioning, also available on Android. Charmin succeeds because the app is memorable and pretty darn funny. If it makes you smile, that might just mean going for Charmin the next time you run out.


The treasured American sneaker brand hit the App Store few years with an awesome idea: The Sampler by Converse. The innovative app uses your smartphone’s camera to overlay a sneaker style over your actual foot, giving you a glimpse at how the shoe would look in real life – along with a “Buy Now” option.

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The concept is great, but the execution could be better. For one, social sharing is limited to email and Facebook. There’s also the fact that there’s been minimal development since the app first launched in 2010. The current version offers a mere four sneakers to choose from and, worst of all, the shopping prompt leads to broken link in your smartphone’s web browser. Think of all the would-be sales! Yikes.

Converse was on to something special here, and with some forward thinking the app could grow into much more. With over 40 million likes on Facebook, it looks like all attention as of late has gone to the brand’s social media strategies. That’s great, but if you’re going to have an app that’s live and in-store, that people see and use, it needs to be in better shape.

The biggest takeaway here? Listen to your fans! A look at customer reviews is a fast, surefire way to find out what’s working and what’s not, and to get inspired for new features and improvements. Converse fans, for example, are obviously excited about the app. They also have lots of suggestions for how to make things better. Remember, mobile apps are all about your audience – and the customer is always right.


By Anastasia Dyakovskaya, NewsCred Contributor