Five Strategies to Reactivate Idle Users and Fire Up App Growth

In the app industry, users have a plethora of options, and it doesn’t take long for them to switch. App re-engagement brings better ROI, increased CLV, and higher chances of upselling. How can brands win back inactive users?

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  • The average mobile user has 40 apps installed on their smartphones but uses merely 18 of them regularly. Even millennials, who make up the majority of most brands’  target audiences, use 25 of an average of 67 apps on their phones. 

    Brands looking to scale app growth must focus on keeping their users engaged. The slightest comparison can make them switch to a competitor.

    Why do customers become inactive?

    In the app industry, users have hundreds of options, and it doesn’t take long for them to switch. Customer experience has been seen as a key factor in driving customer loyalty and retention for 89% of companies. 

    Also Read: Why It Pays For Brands To Focus On Building Loyalty Among App Users

    Users becoming dormant indicates a flaw in the brand’s marketing strategy. Identifying the cause is crucial for re-engaging these customers. Brands can address persistent and recurring service issues by pinpointing common reasons for customer inactivity.

    While every customer could have a different story altogether, some common reasons why users stop making purchases with a brand include: 

    • Better prices or discounts from competitive brands 
    • No communication with the brand 
    • Poorly timed/irrelevant notifications
    • Poor customer service
    • Unsatisfactory products 
    • Lack of personalisation

    These reasons cause your existing dormant customers to stop generating revenue for the brand. Existing customers are, in fact, 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more than new customers. 

    ALSO READ: How Are Marketers Leveraging First Party Data to Drive Retention and Loyalty Among Customers? Read Martechvibe’s report on Customer Retention here.

    Further, while your loyal customers are brand advocates, the inactive portion of your customers can give you worthy feedback on why they disengaged with your product, helping you improve your services.

    It is possible to re-engage your inactive customers; however, marketers need to identify the dormant customers first. 

    Identifying Inactive Customers 

    Brands must define “inactive” based on the business type. For example, a furniture business would not assign six months of inactivity to a dormant user. On the other hand, six months qualifies as an inactive period for a clothing brand. Below are some criteria that could help brands identify their dormant customers: 

    • Gaps in Purchase Orders 
    • Browser Activity
    • Brand Engagement (Email, Social Media, etc.)

    Once they set parameters for identifying inactive customers, they should divide them into segments for targeted communication. For instance, an apparel store could segment its customers as sportswear buyers, end-of-season sale buyers, festive-season buyers, etc. 

    Five Strategies to Win Back Inactive Customers 

    While some strategies might be more effective, what works best for you can be decided by the type of your business and the kind of customer profile you are targeting. Here are some ways brands can strategise retention for idle users;

    1. Reconnect with customers

    Using existing customer data, brands must first reach out to their customers to simply check-in. The communication here needs to be personalised and make them feel valuable, reminding them that the brand cares and remembers them. 

    2. Survey customers 

    While some brands might consider surveys a slower approach to customer retention strategies, it is critical to understand that the data collected from customer surveys directly aids in improving a brand’s overall retention function. Insights gained from inactive customers who fill out the surveys could let marketers discover why a customer stopped purchasing or communicating with a brand. 

    3. Personalisation and tailored messaging

    Brands can analyse customer data (developed from existing customers’ purchase history, feedback, etc.) to comprehend customer behaviour and identify purchase patterns and trends. This will help locate the reasons for disengagement, based on which the messaging can be tailored and personalised

    4. Offer Incentives (or something new!)

    Brands can consider offering a welcome-back, limited-time discount to excite customers. Offering a free trial on a new product or service can also be enticing. Some customers appreciate free shipping on certain orders and in certain regions. Existing customer data can be useful in tailoring these offers.

    Singapore Airlines is a great example of combining surveys and incentives. As part of its user engagement programme, when a customer completes a usability test or interview, the airline rewards them with an incentive as a token of appreciation. This way the brand receives feedback for improvement while keeping the customers engaged and satisfied with incentives. 

    5. Customise Communication 

    Customers often simply delete an application if they are unhappy with the untimely notifications and their frequency. Giving customers a choice to decide the kind of push notifications they want to receive can help them feel more comfortable with using the application. For instance, a customer might be interested in knowing only about a certain product category and would be happier to skip the other irrelevant notifications. 

    Around 44% of marketers are using mobile apps for customer retention, while 39% are using mobile push notifications. Experts from the retail, television, logistics, and FMCG industries in Singapore will discuss strategies to identify factors that contribute to drop-off and learn how to win customers back at the Unlocked: Mobile & App Growth Summit.

    Catch Dipti Khalate, Head of Growth APAC at Zalora Group; Jeraldine Saw, Director of eB2B Digital Marketing at The Coca-Cola Company; Nikhil Vidyan, Group Head of Digital Marketing at Ninja Van Group, Noble Binoy, Director of Regional Digital Growth & Strategy at Spotv, and Sudarshan Bala, Regional Marketing Director at Carousell Group in a panel discussion, Reactivating Idle Users – Identify, Understand & Re-engage.


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