About a decade ago, if someone would have mentioned the words "mobile app", anyone would have looked at them with a very puzzled expression. Nowadays, we hear about these apps everywhere. There are commercials for them on television, ads in magazines, billboard posts, etc. It's truly amazing to see how advanced technology has become and what can be accomplished by using it.
In this technology-based era, the smartphone is becoming increasingly popular among a wide variety of ages. In my opinion, the biggest perk of smartphones is that we almost always have access to the Internet. Being that the Internet is one of the most efficient tools that retailers and businesses use to create, retain, and obtain business, why wouldn't they capitalize on the popularity and functionality of smartphones and use it to their advantage to do even more creating, obtaining and refining of their business? One of the best ways for a company to remain competitive in this smartphone era is to create a mobile app specific to the company.
Take Wawa for example. For those who are not on the East coast and may be unfamiliar with Wawa, it is a wonderful place that offers gasoline, freshly prepared foods, snacks, coffee and more. Okay, yes, ultimately it's a convenience store/gas station. However, to many of us on the East coast, it's much more. Anyway, if you download the Wawa app, you can link it up with your credit card or a Wawa gift card, which means you don't even have to bring your wallet into the store. The app includes a rewards system, in which you receive points for your purchases, which can be used to receive a free coffee or tea, or something of similar value. While Wawa offers many benefits to its customers through its mobile app, such as locating a nearby Wawa, checking gasoline prices or having easy access to nutrition info, it also gives app users the chance to provide feedback by means of an open-end suggestion form. It would benefit the company to implement a survey within the app instead of an open-end feedback form to gain insights about customers' transactions, experiences, and their overall opinions.
Fielding surveys within mobile apps provides a quick and easy way to reach customers and gain useful feedback. So, how do you get app users to actually participate in the survey? Simple. When the app is first opened or closed, add a pop-up message with a link to the survey that encourages the user to take the survey. Also, go ahead and add the survey as an item on the app's navigation menu. While it's not ideal to conduct surveys on mobile devices that contain something as intricate as conjoint analysis, companies can still create a simple survey that can be used to gain valuable insights about current products, potential products, customer satisfaction and an abundance of other consumer-related topics.
In order to create the best experience for the app user and get the most out of the data that is collected, companies should consider these five tips when developing a mobile survey:
1. Keep the survey length short. Being that the respondent is using their mobile phone to complete the survey, it can sometimes be annoying or difficult to navigate on a relatively small screen. If possible, it would be wise to include multiple questions on one screen to cut down on the number of different screens the respondent will see.
2. Don't get overly wordy with the questions. Keep the question length short to quickly get the point across and not lose the respondent's attention in unnecessary wordiness.
3. Keep it simple. All questions should be single or multiple choice to keep things simple. A complex question format, such as a slider, may take too long to load on the respondent's screen, which poses the risk of losing respondents and completed surveys.
4. Take care of your customers. Assure the app user that their responses and personal information, such as their phone number, will be kept confidential and will not be shared with or sold to a third party. Customers want to know that you are keeping their personal information protected.
5. Rewards! Offer the respondent an incentive for taking the survey in addition to the benefits they already receive for using the app. In Wawa's case, it could be something as simple as a free 12 oz. beverage credit loaded onto the user's account in the app.
6. Take advantage of 'in the moment' research opportunities. To collect invaluable feedback, utilize the respondents' use of the app and ask about their experience during or soon after it occurs. Better yet, using the app's data, companies such as Wawa should target survey questions to certain products the respondent purchased during their visit, such as a new type of sandwich or coffee flavor.
I would love to see Wawa replace its current general feedback form with a mobile survey in the Wawa app in the near future. Combining market research knowhow with technology has the potential to yield powerful results and market insights. With knowledgeable research design, companies such as Wawa can gather relevant information faster than ever.
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