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Tag: Mobile Apps

Lazada Mobile App Disaster

A few days ago Rocket Internet announced that it had secured a further USD100 million investment in its SE Asian e-commerce venture, Lazada.

As stated in the press release funding is earmarked for logistics, operations and a continued push into mobile. I’d imagine that Google Sales offices in the region are delighted to hear about this Series B close too.

On the topic of mobile, Lazada recently released some apps which have failed to trouble the charts; one hopes they’ll set aside a few dollars aside for improving onsite marketing:

Lazada Mobile App

That image hurts my eyes. C’mon Lazada, with that investment you can manage better than this sloppy attempt to promote your apps.

It really is about time that local startups competing with the Samwer brother’s deep-pockets upped their game and started producing a better customer experience than Rocket’s cut-and-paste-to-region crap.

There is a commonly expressed notion round here that online services don’t have to be great experiences because the SE Asian market is less mature than Europe or the United States. It’s a view I’ve heard from local business owners as well as those hungry young expat MBAs parachuted in to show us ‘how to execute’ and it’s very, very wrong.

As a matter of fact, despite the lack of decent payment infrastructure and poor logistics, adoption of e-commerce is increasing exponentially. As long as Malls remain a recreational destination of choice the singular competitive advantage that e-commerce has is Quality of Service (and Cash On Delivery).

So why the crappy app promo? Why not excel rather than make do with ‘good enough’?

Success will not come as a result of a ten grand (USD) monthly AdWords budget – it will be delivered by a great user experience, it’s about time the deep pockets from overseas realised that. Hubris has a way of biting your arse.

The app feedback loop is failing

Loyalytics’ post on the stickiness of apps has got some wide coverage, way to go at promoting a churn reduction service. The headline: “First impressions matter! 26% of apps downloaded in 2010 were used just once” has popped up just about everywhere, with everyone and his dog chipping in tuppence worth of good advice for app developers.

I don’t think there’s that much to worry about in this metric in and of itself, a quarter of all apps are downloaded and opened once, so what? For content publishers the seemingly high rejection rate is not that unusual any more.

Now that our devices have gigabytes of storage space we’re suffering from a kind of collective syllogomania as we hoard apps, mp3s, TV shows, movies, books and magazines. I usually read two books every week – I start three or four, my unlistened playlist is always more than twenty-four hours long; over the last couple of years I’ve lost any hang-ups I ever had about deleting electronic files, whether I paid for them or not. I feel the same way about apps and I’m not alone.

However glib I might be about my own fickle consumption, there is a real issue here that developers need to address: why are their apps being discarded? Only the person doing the deleting knows the answer and nobody appears to be asking them the question. The app industry needs to improve the deletion process and get some feedback from happy scrappers like me.

One of the few features of Facebook that I rate at all highly is the way that the ads are presented. I can delete each ad and as I do so I am given an option to provide feedback, even a free-text box. I experimented with this text box not so long ago, explaining at some length that I’d marked my city of residence as Beijing, so there was no point in showing me ads based on a Florida locale just because I was tunneling through to a server in Miami to use the Internet. Lo and behold, about a week later I started to get ads for Beijing apartment rentals coming through. Well done Facebook, thanks for listening.

It should be obvious where I’m going with this. Right now, if I delete an app from my smartphone or tablet my only option is to provide a rating at that trashcan moment. Sure I could go into the app store and provide a review but generally, unless I’m overwhelmingly amazed or incredibly disappointed, that’s too much trouble. I’m far more likely to tell you what I think of your app if I’m allowed to casually speak my piece as I bin it. Don’t put me to extra trouble.

The feedback loop needs to be tighter and this can only come with support from the app store and/or OS owner. Whoever takes this leap of faith in closing the feedback loop will be on to a churn reducing winner.

Image: TiPb

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