The world doesn’t need another useless smartphone app. There are over 500,000 apps in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. The average smartphone owner has 41 apps. Yet 69% of smartphone owners use the typical app 10 times or less, and 25% use the typical app just once after downloading it. In order to guarantee that your app isn’t relegated to the dustbin of the mobile app world, you need to identify a single, critical “point problem” that your customers currently have with your product, and then solve that problem with your mobile app.
We call this your “hero moment,” that single feature that makes your app invaluable to your customers and ensures that your customers stay glued to your app for years to come. To drive the idea home, here are three examples from Walgreens, Chamberlain, and Honeywell.
Through its research, Walgreens has found that up to 79% of people with a drug prescription do not follow the dosage schedule laid out by their doctor. Usually, this is because the person simply forgets to refill their prescription. Not only does this inefficiency mean a lot of lost potential revenue for Walgreens, it also has major societal implications as a probable cause for costly hospital readmissions. To tackle this problem, Walgreens developed an app that generates in-app and SMS reminder alerts which notify customers when they are due to refill their prescriptions. The results have been outstanding. Today, 54% of Walgreens’ online prescription renewals come from their app.
Chamberlain is the largest manufacturer of garage door openers in the world. The company sells their products under several brand names, including LiftMaster, and through several channels, such as DIY and professional installations. After some well-targeted market research, Chamberlain discovered a prevalent problem that affected a significant majority of their customers: the “U-Turn Problem”. A few minutes after they leave the home, most garage door opener owners experience a nagging worry about whether they forgot to close their garage door. Many will actually turn their car around and drive back home, just to double check. A mobile app that could remotely control a Chamberlain garage door opener was an obvious opportunity to solve the U-Turn Problem, and that is exactly what the Chamberlain app does. It is an exceedingly simple application that does few things, but does them very well. Chamberlain now markets their Internet-connected garage door openers as a “peace of mind” purchase and reports that their customers open the app an average of four times per week.
Honeywell is the largest thermostat company in the world. They are intimately aware of the fact that customers don’t know how to program their thermostats. Through their own experience Honeywell learned that the key to successful market research is asking the right questions. When Honeywell asked its customers what was most important to them in a connected thermostat, 54% said that they were interested in better energy efficiency. This was over twice as many who said that they wanted a better interface for temperature control, which is basically a proxy for comfort. Upon further investigation, Honeywell learned that customers were only willing to pay $77 for a thermostat that offered 20% energy savings, yet they were willing to pay $114 for a thermostat that offered more comfort through a better interface. They rightly concluded that, contrary to their own customers’ explicit opinions, providing an app that could enable remote temperature control from a bed or couch was the more important problem to solve. The numbers seem to back up their conclusion: at the Parks Smart Energy Summit in 2013 Honeywell reported that 80% of temperature updates for their connected thermostats come from the Honeywell app, not the push button/LED interface on the physical thermostat.
Although these three examples come from different worlds, they all demonstrate the power of the “hero moment.” Identify common problems that your customers encounter on a daily basis, then focus on the ones that you can seamlessly solve with a connected product / mobile app package. Think of Internet connectivity as a toolbox. Some of the most basic and useful tools in your toolbox are remote control, remote monitoring, an improved user interface (via the smartphone screen), and alerts (i.e. automated notifications and device responses to certain events). How can you use these tools to solve a fundamental problem for your customers?
End of Part 2 of 5. Continue to Part 3: “Build Your Minimum Value Proposition”
By Kayce Basques