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Mobile App Developers Should Care About Boomer User Expereince

Mobile & Apps

Last week I attended my first Mobile meet up. It was a panel discussion on mobile app development.

I’m a Baby Boomer PR consultant, so this was truly a new experience.

Knowing that Boomers just spent  more money than any other cohort on technology on mobile during the 2011 holiday season, I thought it would be fruitful to learn about how theses apps are developed and how they are marketed to the largest and wealthiest cohort in the nation.

Whoa—surprise, surprise.  The developers on the panel, and some of the app salespeople in the audience, didn’t seem to care about Boomer customers.  In fact, one 20-something told me Boomers didn’t use mobile phones—they were too old.    Hmmm….someone is out of touch here, since I am a Boomer and I have an iPhone filled with apps.

Additionally, some of the app developers on the panel said they really didn’t care that much about customers in general.  They had no desire to delight the customer or enhance and enrich the customer experience.  All they cared about were the numbers.  Once the app was downloaded, their job was complete.  Sure, they acknowledged they receive user email complaints, but oh well, they just can’t be bothered—miniscule compared to the number of downloads.

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Maybe so, but what happens in a year from now when the metrics of downloads tappers off and the user experience is low because of a hard-to-operate app?  Have they thought that far down the road?  Hopefully the companies they are developing apps for care about this statistic.  Maybe it really isn’t the developers’ job to care—and that’s ok, as long as it’s someone’s job to care.

After I was done questioning the panel about poor customer relations, I overheard someone in the crowd say “Boomers think everything is about them—I’m sick of them.”

Again, not a good approach. According to a recent blogger post on Fisku by Viki ZabalaIt, “It’s becoming increasingly clear to mobile app developers, publishers and marketers alike that building lasting relationships with users through ongoing engagement to keep them coming back for more is absolutely critical.

A new study by mobile app analytics firm Localytics shows that forging these relationships and fostering “long-term usage behaviors” are essential to driving increased in-app purchasing. The study shows that on average, a consumer will not complete an in-app transaction until after 12 days of launching the app.

Forty-four percent of consumers surveyed revealed that they’ve only made an in-app purchase after interacting with an app 10 times or more. VentureBeat’s Dan Crawley writes, “While it may be tempting for developers to rush users to make their first in-app purchase, this research shows that building a relationship is more important in fostering long term usage, and maximizing sales revenue over time.”

So mobile app developers take heed—good customer relations are essential—and Boomers absolutely require it.

And why should you care about Boomers specifically?

  • Boomers purchase huge amounts of new technology and gadgets which accounts for 40% of the marketplace. They own more iPads and smartphones than any other demographic.
  • On average, baby boomers spend $7 billion online annually
  • Weekly, 77 percent of baby boomers purchase products online, (a mere 1 percent less than Generation X  — a statistical dead heat — and 24 percent more than Generation Y)

So my advice to mobile app developers—and to all young entrepreneurs—make your company’s Internet experience delightful for your consumer and you will grow far, wide and deep.  If not, your rise to the top could certainly happen without Boomers, but if you sell consumer goods that they use—your success will not be sustainable without them.

Comments on this Article: 2

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  1. Scott Fossel says:

    All seems true from my research, but can you cite a source for this data:

    Boomers purchase huge amounts of new technology and gadgets which accounts for 40% of the marketplace. They own more iPads and smartphones than any other demographic.
    On average, baby boomers spend $7 billion online annually
    Weekly, 77 percent of baby boomers purchase products online, (a mere 1 percent less than Generation X — a statistical dead heat — and 24 percent more than Generation Y)

  2. This source was eMarketer.com. Somehow I must have deleted it by mistake as you can see I always site sources. Thanks for asking

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