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There’s a whole generation of customers out there that sees the internet through “mobile-first” eyes. To meet this demand, practically every business under the sun has developed its own app—and with good reason. Last year, Gartner reported that by 2017 mobile apps will have generated $77 billion in revenue. By then, a total of 268 billion downloads will have taken place in mobile app marketplaces worldwide, with each user providing personalized data streams to over 100 individual apps and services.

The force behind all this growth: human happiness. By downloading apps to customize our mobile devices, we make them our own. If the apps do as they’re supposed to (ease our day-to-day in an easily obtainable, personalized way), we use them more often and recommend them to our friends. Apps can certainly vary, but if you’re looking for a few new ways to generate revenue, customer data, and joy all at once, we’ve gone ahead and compiled a few for you.

Data and shopping history collection: There’s a limit to the sort of customer data you can glean from public profiles on sites like Facebook and Pinterest, but when a customer chooses to download your app, they’re sending you a signal that they want a closer relationship with your brand. By collecting and using the data they offer up through their in-app shopping and item views, you can further tailor your app to each individual. Send them alerts when something they've put on their wish list goes on sale, or remind them that their favorite annual sale is ending soon.

At the same time, it’s a good idea to allow each user to tailor the sort of alerts or notifications they’d like to receive. No good can come from giving your app users “notification fatigue.”

Personalized in-store care: The same data that helps personalize a customer’s in-app experience can also be used to brighten up their day when they visit one of your retail locations. By sharing even the most basic customer data with your staff, you can greet customers by name, tell them about special in-store discounts tailored to their interests, and offer up complementary items as well.

QR code utilization: While the QR code has been around for a few years now, it remains one of the quickest and easiest ways of transferring digital information from your retail stores and media to your user’s mobile device. Adding this functionality to your app allows for some very cool new possibilities. Customers can use their QR code scanner to create their orders as they wander your retail locations, find similar options on your website, and can even place an order for delivery from their mobile device. Since the app itself already has access to their personal info, there’s no need for the customer to fill out shipping or credit card info either. This kind of easy, one-click outcome is just the sort of instant gratification that today’s mobile-first customers crave.

Unified customer experience: Whether you’re in retail or the service industry, you know just how crowded mobile web pages can feel. By directing your customers to your app, you’re effectively slamming the door on all those other voices vying for your customer’s attention. By housing connectivity to your online profiles, customer service representatives and knowledge base management system within your app, you are giving your customers a place where they can connect with you on their own terms and where you’re free to get your message across clearly and concisely.

That’s what this all comes down to in the end: comfort. When customers feel comfortable, when they feel as if they are in control of the way they relate to their favorite brands, they feel fulfilled. More than anything else, this is the magic of apps. If you’d like to take a look at how you can ease the hearts and minds of your own customers, check out this quick video.

We're always looking for feedback and would like to hear from you. Please head to the Dynamics 365 Community to start a discussion, ask questions, and tell us what you think!

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