In 2009, Apple officially trademarked the phrase “there’s an app for that,” which made its debut on a commercial introducing the iPhone 3G and all of the possibilities awaiting within the app store. As of March 2018, there were over 2.1 million apps available in the Apple App Store. According to Statista, there were 197 billion mobile app downloads in 2017 and it is predicted that there will be 352.9 billion app downloads by the year 2021.

This begs the questions, “how many apps are people consistently using?”. According to a study conducted by TechCrunch, the answer is roughly nine apps per day. Consumers are gradually hitting a ceiling on the number of apps they are willing to download and use, as the cognitive overload of apps we are bombarded with is at an all-time high. Because of this, about a quarter of all downloaded apps are abandoned after a single use. And, according to a survey conducted by Gartner, 41% of users are not downloading any more apps, while 20% are downloading fewer apps.

Businesses are combating app fatigue by building on top of other platforms, rather than build their own. This allows them to reach their customers where they are already engaged, while also saving significant time and development costs. Let’s look at some examples.

Instagram and Food Ordering

How many times have you been scrolling through Instagram only to stop and marvel at a particularly eye-catching plate of food? When this happens, you may stop and make a mental note to try out the item or even leave Instagram to use a different app to check out other items on the menu. But, how many times have you actually visited or placed an order? Probably not too many times, but Instagram is setting out to change that.

Instagram, which sits at the number two spot for “Top Free” apps in the Apple App store, is partnering with 25 companies, including GrubHub, OpenTable, and Resy, to allow users to make reservations, start take-out orders, and even place deliveries directly within the app. This update will feature new call-to-action buttons located on the particular restaurant’s profile page.

In addition to this being more convenient for foodies to try out new food, restaurants are benefiting from this new feature, too. The Jones Assembly, a restaurant in Oklahoma City that is currently using this feature, has already experienced, “15 to 20 additional bookings per week”, according to Annie Tucker, the marketing manager at The Jones Assembly.

Snapchat and SeatGeek

Thanks to an integration with SeatGeek, seeing your favorite sports team or musician has been made a little easier, as users can now buy game and concert tickets through Snapchat. The first to take advantage of this feature was the Los Angeles Football Club. On May 26, the team posted both a Snapchat Story and a Snapcode on their team website informing fans of this new feature. Users could swipe up on the story to be taken to an interactive screen where they could both select the number of tickets needed and complete the order.

Of the merger, Los Angeles Football Club President and co-owner Tom Penn said, “We’re always looking to reach out fans in innovative ways and selling tickets directly to our followers on Snapchat gives us an incredible opportunity to connect with our most dedicated supporters.”

The Los Angeles Football Club announced that they were able to sell 20 tickets via this integration. SeatGeek co-founder Russ D’Souza told TechCrunch that users will be able to purchase more tickets through the popular photo-sharing app once “the pipe gets solidified”.

Experiential Retailing on Facebook Messenger

Like Instagram, another extremely popular social media app is Facebook Messenger, which currently sits fourth on the Top Free apps in the Apple App store. A variety of retailers are seeing the possibilities of partnering with Facebook Messenger, one being the Simon Group Mall in Prussia, PA. Launched in 2017, the fully-integrated bot through Facebook Messenger gives shoppers the ability to ask various questions and receive real-time information regarding store locations, hours, promotional deals, and more.

If a customer is wondering how to get to one store from another store, all they have to do is ask the bot for its specific location. Not only do shoppers see a benefit to this convenience, but retailers do, too. This app lets retailers see shopping patterns, flow through their store, the length of the visit, and more.

Another company making the most of Facebook Messenger is 1-800-Flowers, which allows customers to order flowers through the app. Chris McCann, president of 1-800-Flowers, said that over 70% of the company’s chatbot orders have been from new customers. “They are already using the Messenger platform, so it’s been easy to engage them. They’re able to place an order in a minute; it gives them that fluidity,” he said.

Siri and Domino’s

Similarly, to partnering with apps your customers already use, businesses are also developing their own apps to offer more convenience to users. An example of this would be Dominos, who developed DRU Assist, which is an artificially intelligent virtual assistant. This allows customers to talk, text, and interact with to place an order within the Domino’s app.

This app gives users the opportunity to order at their own speed, in their own privacy, and in their own time. When users are taking advantage of DRU Assist, it uses a speech algorithm that will convert the speech into text, recognizing the keywords needed to place the order.

According to Don Meji, Domino’s chief executive, Dru Assist gets smarter, and faster, the more you use it. “You can pretty well give a full paragraph and he’ll get most of it. You could say, ‘Pick-up from Coogee store Sydney, two supremes, one meat-lovers,’ and then sit back.”

In addition to ordering pizza, Dru Assist can also answer questions about the menu, locations, and hours. Based on its success, Domino’s is also launching a map-based GPS ordering system, which can deliver your order to your exact location.

Google Assistant and Panera

Users who have both a physical Google Assistant speaker, as well as the Google Assistant app on their smartphone, now have the convenience of placing an order with Panera through both options. Since these platforms are already utilized by millions of users, Panera won’t have to bring a new app into the mix.

Blaine Hurst, Panera President, said, “Placing a voice-activated order in many cases is more than 80 percent faster than a traditional app order.” Users who have the Google Assistant app on their smartphones can start by saying the usual, “Okay, Google” and then ask for delivery. They can also say, “Okay Google, talk to Panera.” The Panera app for the Google Assistant will show users the menu, suggest past food based off of the person’s history, and walk the user through the list of available items.

Going ONE step further, if your wallet information is saved within the app, users can also pay with this saved data.

Our Experience

If a platform strategy isn’t on your to-do list in 2018, you are setting yourself up for a disadvantage. If you don’t have a plan to do so, contact Ennate. We are platform agnostic and will work with you to find the right platform partner for your custom solution. Our team of engineers, designers, and product managers will keep the exact needs of your business in mind as we use modern architectural frameworks to build a solution that has the fastest time to value for you.