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Simplicity and stickiness: How to keep and retain the consumer

We attended a panel discussion with mobile experts in the field, to gain an understanding of how to retain consumer engagement with mobile apps. The panel discussion was titled, 'Simplicity and Stickiness - How to keep and retain the consumer?' The fear is that once they have downloaded your app they will use it perhaps once or twice, before never using the app again. Statistics have shown that 23% of users only use apps they have downloaded once. Here is what we learnt about how to retain and engage the consumer and why apps are the best thing for it!


For many of the panellists, “stickiness” was achieved by providing their users with personalised experiences within the app. Not every user wants to be presented with the same content, an app lets the user pick and choose what is important to them.

Presenting the right thing at the right time to your audience is also important. Short circuiting behaviour, by providing incentives and internal triggers increases engagement and makes the user feel special.


All panellists favoured an agile approach, pointing to the importance of regular build updates to keep consumers ‘sticky’. Ideally, panellists recommended fortnightly build updates to the store.

Listen to your community

Keeping consumers engaged requires making sure your community feel they are being heard. This includes responding to customer reviews for bug fixes and extra features, with where possible same day releases. Monzo’s ‘Transparent Product Roadmap’ Trello board is a perfect example of creating brand loyalty. The Trello roadmap includes features suggested by the community and time frames on when they will be implemented. As Edward Cooper, Head of Mobile from Revolut put it, your app needs to pass the ‘dinner party test’.

Don’t be afraid to take features away

Whilst listening to your community, it is important to acknowledge features that are not valued. Panellists pointed out the dangers of overloading the user. Therefore, don’t be afraid to remove features, as this again is another means to increase engagement with your community. Your users will make a lot of noise if they want something back and that isn’t a bad thing.

The grandma test

Retaining consumers requires continual testing to provide an optimum experience for your users. Interestingly Christian Smith, President and Co-Founder of TrackR encourages his employees to go to their local Starbucks and take a gift card. Employees offer customers the gift card and in exchange, they are asked to download and trial the app. As, Christian pointed out, the opportunity to watch real users go through the on boarding process and use the app is crucial to understanding the real life experience. Panellists pointed out that the one of the main reasons their app lost users was due to the user experience not being fully optimised.