As the world becomes increasingly globalised and competitive, businesses of all shapes and sizes must work harder to deliver something unique to their customers.

As well as building a brand and a great website, you may want to consider investing in an app for your brand and incorporating engaging, interactive, and responsive real-time features that will set you apart.

Real-time technology allows you to deliver data to end-users as and when it’s created, which not only encourages users to check back in with your app, but allows you to build a dynamic relationship with customers and users, resulting in increased sales, engagement, and loyalty.

Below, we’ve put together six ways you can introduce real-time features into your mobile app, and share some advice for businesses considering implementing the technology…

 

Messaging

Whether you’re launching an app for a small e-commerce store or a multinational B2B brand, it is important to deliver great customer service online. It’s no longer good enough to make people wait days for a response to a customer support ticket, or sit waiting on the phone for a member of staff to pick up: real-time messaging is the only viable in-app option.

It may seem like a big commitment to offer in-app customer service but it’s no different to a live-chat option on your website or through Facebook Messenger and allows you to keep in touch with customers and offer quick and personalised answers to their questions.

According to research published in Business2Community, more than three-quarters of customers won’t make a purchase if they can’t access live chat support, so it makes sense to add the functionality. What’s more, messaging is known to increase engagement, brand satisfaction, and loyalty, so it’s a no-brainer, despite the initial upfront investment.

 

Notifications

Finding new ways to increase engagement and encourage users to stick around can be very difficult in today’s competitive market.

With more than two million apps on the App Store all vying for customers’ attention, businesses have to work hard if they want to keep their users happy, especially considering that 21% of app users abandon an app after just one use.

Notifications allow you to connect with your audience, remind them that you’re still around, and keep them up to date on events, promotions, and new features. But be careful about pushing too many notifications – get the frequency right and don’t send more than one notification a week, particularly to inactive users who are less likely to engage or respond.

 

Status updates

Whether you run a pizzeria, an e-commerce brand or a delivery company, offering live order status updates within your app is another way to build transparent customer relationships. Location tracking and push notifications can be used to improve customer experience and streamline the delivery process, something that’s often a sticking point in e-commerce.

According to Econsultancy, nearly a quarter of online shoppers would abandon their order if no delivery date was provided, and 38% would abandon their order if the delivery will take longer than a week.

Holding users’ hands through the delivery process is not only good for brand building, but it reduces customer inquiries and complaints, and act as a USP to boot.

 

Feeds

Social media has transformed the way we interact with our customers, so much so that some businesses have abandoned the idea of building communities on their own websites or apps and instead stick to Instagram and Facebook for promotions.

If you want to build a sense of community within your app and encourage users to tweet and post about your products, then you should integrate Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to create a real-time feed of content.

Many apps allow users to sign up for an account using their Facebook or Twitter, and then add their friends’ posts to a real-time feed inside of the app.

Sure, you’re probably not going to replicate or replace social networking sites or apps, but community-driven features (such as showcasing user-generated content to encourage more users to do the same) can serve as a unique selling point and help you build valuable relationships with potential customers.

 

Livestreaming

From brand events to inventory updates, live streaming video and data to your users’ via an app adds a sense of urgency and creates ‘peaks’ where hundreds or thousands of users are logged on at the same time: great for creating viral, shareable moments on social media.

For e-commerce brands, offering users live data on stock can encourage them to purchase now rather than later, whereas a tourist attraction may want to stream a one-off concert to promote an exhibit, prompting users using push notifications and in-app countdown timers.

Not sure whether live streaming is right for your business? You only have to take a look at the success of Facebook Live or Twitch, which generates hundreds of millions of hours of original content every year. These statistics will also make you reconsider your stance:

By introducing live-streamed video (or at least live data elements) into your app, you not only engage with audiences more authentically but create talking points that position your app and brand as an authority, increasing downloads, reviews, engagements, and sales.

 

Communication

Finally, consider the benefits of introducing communication support and allowing users to chat and connect within your app.

We’re not saying you should build the next Facebook, but enabling group chats and real-time collaboration can serve as a unique selling point in a whole host of industries, from recruitment where candidates and companies may want to chat, to e-commerce where friends can share outfit recommendations and products without having to leave your app.

Granted, the work and maintenance required to build a network within an app are enormous, but the results will speak for themselves with the right strategy.

 

Introducing real-time features within an app can help you deliver innovative user experiences and stand out in the crowded app market – but you should assess demand before you make the investment.

If you’re looking for the best app developers for your app, get in touch with the experts at Zudu. Give us a call on 01382 690 080 to discuss your project in more detail.

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