PRE-ADOPTION - Unawareness and resistance
The pre-adoption phase is marked by consumer unawareness and resistance towards the product. Customer have no idea or a rough estimation of the service characteristics. This state of uncertainty impedes adoption and poses a high challenge. The reasons are manifold. Heinze, Thomann & Fischer give an overview of published barriers in literature.
Three forms of resistance have to be addressedThese variables finally lead to three forms of resistance – Active resistance, passive resistance or resistance through limitations. Active resistance is marked through lack of motivation or dislike of the product. Passive limitations occur when the consumer slips back into old habits through mindless repetition of these old habits or lacks a strategy on how to use the new service. Personal limitations impede the usage e.g. through lack of time, lack of opportunity or “forgot to use the product” cases and on the product side through system failure, damages or too much costs. To overcome each form of resistance, the following measures can be applied.
Address the right target groupTo define the right target group, it is important to know the way innovation distribution works. In general, innovation enter the market via innovators and early adopters. These innovation drivers have to be identified by the project prior to the conception of the App. Each App should be tailored to the needs of innovators and early adopters to foster a fast diffusion of the market. This implies for instance, that established design standards in the market, such as using intuitive icons instead of textual descriptions should be applied. The design should match the most advanced standards in the market – created for the future - and not be overblown by instructions for late adopters. Yiu, Grant & Edgar (2007) review central characteristics, that are prototypical for adopter and can serve as criteria to provide compatibility with the target group.
Reach the target group
Reaching the target group is most essentialThis is the most essential point in the process of launching an App. Many Apps are not adopted, because consumer are just not aware of their existence and their benefits. However, different approaches can help to promote the introduction of an App.
Getting Data Consent to contact customer via mail and mobileAt first, for new and existing customer getting data consent in order to reach out to customer via mail is essential to avoid the media break later on. Therefore, customer need to submit their email-address and mobile number, when signing in to the app. An optional opt-in for the newsletter should be placed. In general, informing via email creates higher response rates then letters itself, since there is no media break (at least for people accessing their mails on the smartphone). Using text messages can even be more effective, since SMS still receive high attention from customer.
Identify opinion leaders and spark the word-of-mouthSecond, identifying the opinion leader who communicate the usefulness of the new App is an important measure. Here agents and broker play an important role, since they have the most meaningful touchpoint to customers. However, if agents and other opinion leader see no benefit, they will not promote the App. So every client referring to clients should be incentivized for his or her word-of-mouth, i.e. getting scores for every reference, which can be used to acquire products or get discounts. Important components to facilitate word-of-mouth is the implementation of “oberservability” and “shareability” features, which allow consumer to share their behavior, actions etc. with their social peers, i.e. via sharing buttons from Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp.
Find the right moment to sell the App Third, finding the right moment to sell the app is a key to success. This means for example selling a health app, when an injury occurs, selling a motor app, when a claim has to be managed etc. is the most efficient selling point. Therefore, every App related action of a customer should be addressed by stimuli to download and use the related App, meaning to promote the App when the need curve of the consumer approximates its maximum. This piggyback tactic also helps to establish a new habit by connecting a cue to the app in the moment where it`s needed.
Use effective start-up campaignsFourth, especially for prospects strong marketing campaigns are needed, to trigger a download. There are plenty of marketing approaches, which are not treated in this guidebook. It should however be clear, that effective marketing campaigns are needed as start-up support in order to reach a critical mass and to drive the process of market penetration in the App Stores.
Create TrialabilityFifth, to avoid the pig in a poke effect, customer want to test the functionalities of a new app or product before adopting them by i.e. buying a long-term insurance or settling a claim. This so called trialability culture, giving customer the possibility to experience a service, without binding the customer, has to be provided in an App to reduce uncertainty costs.
Facilitate the Behavioral Transition
Optimize the cost-benefit ratio To facilitate the transition from existing behavior (going to the agent) to new behavior (using the app) it is required to overcome the status quo bias, which delineates peoples’ preference to maintain a given status or situation and to stick with the current choice, as long as their demands are satisfied (Samuelson & Zeckhauser, 1988). Therefore, app provider have to optimize the perceived cost-benefit ratio of the app. This suggests the following steps:
Reduce Transaction, Uncertainty and Sunk Costs: Prior to launch the app provider have to thoroughly analyze which costs arise for customers to adopt the new app. The following costs are particularly important:
Transaction costs occur whenever the switching costs exceed the efficiency gain retrieved by the superior alternative. To reduce transition costs a high information, service and system quality have to be established. In example numerous of service features such as guidance via video and audio tutorials, info buttons, FAQs, search functions, customer hotlines, chat (personal or bot), email and other supporting tools which have to be available at all time. Information should be organized, accurate, concise, timely etc. and the system free of errors, easy to use, and secure etc.
Uncertainty costs arise when risks induce uncertainty in the decision process, for instance concerning the reliability and completeness of information that the app provides. To mitigate uncertainty trust and assurance seals, guarantees, product trials, re-assurance through product reviews and external information sources can be presented to provide transparent conditions.
Sunk costs commit consumers to the status quo based on the desire to preserve prior resource investments by engaging in further such commitments (Samuelson & Zeckhauser, 1988). The effect can be reduced by making an app compatible with existing behavior and by choosing a successive introduction of new products. In initial versions established processes in the consumer interaction should be copied as far as possible and without negative impact on the app value, to make consumers’ acquired skills in other channels reusable for the app. In example, if people usually start with research online as common for ROPO customer, provide them with a selection of valuable information (see also information quality) in the first step, which should be displayed inside the App to keep customer in the App. Then provide personal service to support the customer in complex queries and to fill knowledge gaps in the second step. In the third step lead customer back to the new behavior - signing the contract in the app and do not provide another option – otherwise the new behavior will not be learned. This successive introduction is common in marketing and can be easily applied in Apps as well.
Avoid a Habit Slip: Many marketing researchers despair from customer responses in market tests which assure a high intention to use the product, but are completely uncorrelated with the actual behavior of the customer subsequent to launch. A basic reason for this behavior is the so called habit slip. Customer miss to use the new service due to a lack of strategy to integrate the new behavior or due to mindless habitual repetition of past actions. To avoid habit slip, new services have to be introduced within everyday contexts (see also finding the right moment). Cognitive strategies should be build up by advertisements, which tie the new service to an existing behavior in order to promote adoption. Especially effective is habit cueing, where consumer piggyback use of a new product onto an existing one (e.g. first brush, then floss, Labraque et. al 2017).
Incentivize Desired Behavior:
When the customer has shown the desired behavior, e.g. managing a claim in the App incentivize him duly. This means that at first show symbols of victory, such as a green screen and a check mark. Highlight all benefits retrieved through this purchase, i.e. by giving scores leading to discounts or by showing statistics saved money, saved time (i.e. your car will be reimbursed in half of the time), saved paper, saved trees, reached bonus, reached coverage / reduction of coverage gap, information about the process such as time until task was completed, words read, buttons clicked, give feedback about claim status etc. A good example is google maps, which incentivizes you through different mostly positive statistics for using its service after having reached the destination. If you have nothing to show here, reflect about the usefulness of your app. Though incentives are supportive for transition, they have to be used moderately to preserve an authentic effect and to not distract user from using the core functions in an app.