By Peter Sheldon
Mobile is so much more than an extension of the web; it is an opportunity for brands to develop next-generation customer experiences that raise the bar of convenience. The opportunity for brands to build deep, engaging and long-term relationships with their customers through mobile is real, but they must do so in a contextual manner, that innovatively leverages the technology in the device to create experiences that are relevant to the user. Why? Because today’s mobile users expect immediacy and simplicity when interacting with a brand through their smartphone. Some companies are already delivering innovative and forward-thinking mobile experiences that exhibit the traits of immediacy, simplicity and context. Here is Forrester’s take on 10 companies that are delivering these innovative experiences:
Uber is hoping to re-write the rules when taking a cab. The innovative limousine pickup service has embedded mobile at the heart of the experience. Users simply “hail” a cab via a single touch from their iPhone or Android device. From there on in, Uber does the legwork, automatically locating the nearest available driver, guiding them to the customer’s requested pickup location and even taking care of the payment after the journey. Uber automatically charges the fare to the user’s credit-card account, leaving the customer free to jump out of the cab immediately on arrival.
Apple’s store app not only takes the online buying experience to the mobile device, it creates an inseparable bond between the online and offline world of retail. Apple customers can book an in-store genius bar appointment and reserve products for pickup from their iPhone; on arrival at the store, location technology automatically prompts the customer to check-in and introduces them (via a displayed photo) to the Apple staff member who will be helping them.
Converse has solved one of the biggest hurdles of selling apparel on the web: consumer anxiety. Their “Sampler” iPhone app gives the consumer the power to try on a new pair of sneakers in the virtual world. The rear-facing camera on the iPhone captures a live image of shopper’s feet, while the app overlays the chosen style of sneakers onto the display, giving the appearance that the consumer is wearing the shoes. As a result consumers can try on a pair of shoes without ever entering a Converse store.
Every year in the U.S., pharmacies perform more than 1.7 billion prescription refills. Walgreens’ iPhone and Android apps simplify the process of visiting the pharmacy for refills. Consumers submit a refill request simply by scanning their existing prescription label using the Walgreens app on their iPhone or Android smartphone. Walgreens then alerts the customer with a text message when the prescription is ready for collection.
Oakley’s lens guide iPhone app helps the outdoor enthusiast pick the right lens for the right situation. The app creates virtual outdoor experiences on the ski slopes, on the water, at the golf course or on the mountain bike trail in an array of different weather and lighting conditions. The consumer can experience how these selected environmental conditions will look with different lens colors and tints.
Kayak mobile is the Swiss Army knife of mobile travel tools. The flight filter tools mirror those found on the desktop version, but with simple touch-based selections to narrow results by airline, stops, price and times. Not only are the flight, hotel and car search features incredibly intuitive to use, but the mobile app offers up a suite of travel tools including real-time flight tracking, price alerts, packing lists, currency converters and airport store locators.
Pizza has always been an impulse buy. Domino’s new iPhone and Android apps makes the order process simple with convenient tools to locate the nearest store for pickup, in addition to providing delivery options. Perhaps the best part of the application is the menu and pizza builder, which provides the pizza connoisseur not only the option to choose their size and crust, but also to add and remove extra toppings, sauce and cheese. The pizza tracker feature tracks the progress of orders from oven to doorstep.
For the intrepid traveler, AirBnB’s iPhone app not only provides the prepared traveler with directional tools to help him find pre-booked accommodations, but it has a location-aware booking tool that is great for the un-prepared traveler to easily locate nearby places to stay, complete with a real-time booking capability and reservation confirmation.
Contour’s range of action-sport video cameras are often worn attached to the helmet of a skier or mountain biker. This presents a unique problem to the rider, that they cannot see what footage the camera is capturing. Contour’s iPhone and Android apps use Bluetooth connectivity to enable the rider to see a live feed of the camera on a phone and adjust settings, ensuring the perfect recording every time.
Gilt Groupe has an avid membership of luxury-obsessed bargain hunters. Their iPhone and Android apps feature push notifications that keep members constantly updated on new designer sales and must-have bargains. The immediacy of the mobile experience not only means that members know about new flash sales as they happen, but the simple ordering experience means that limited quantity items are often snapped up by members within moments of launch.