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How to minimise churn & improve conversion in your app checkout process

22 October 2015
The rise in digital communication has led to brand interactions driven and dictated by consumers.
Nowhere has this evolution been more visible than in the mobile payment journey. Customers are turning to apps as their preferred way of browsing, digesting content and purchasing. But the risk of churn is high; 25% of app users will abandon an app after just one session. In order to deliver on customer expectations, you need to know which factors might be deterring them from using your app as a purchasing tool. 
 
Below, we will cover how to identify and mitigate churn, discover conversion opportunities, and better engage and retain customers. Uncover at-risk users and define churn factors What are the usage and behaviour patterns that define users who are at low, medium and high risk of churn? You can use details surrounding your mobile checkout process to get specific: one possible definition of churn is to find users who haven’t completed either the “Item Viewed” action or the “Purchase” action in 30 consecutive days. In this example, you’re identifying high-risk churn users based on whether or not they viewed a specific product or service and then completed the purchase. You can create multiple definitions based on the various steps during your checkout experience. 
 
Identify conversion opportunities Don’t just uncover churn risks; find the users who are most and least likely to convert on an in-app purchase. For example, you might discover that you currently have over 40,000 low conversion propensity users, or that users who perform the “Add to Cart” event fewer than two times in their first three days are less likely to convert. Alternatively, you could find that users who completed the “Item Viewed” action more than three times in the span of a week are more likely to eventually convert on the “Purchase” event. Optimise the checkout experience When you look at the risks, consider which steps during the checkout process are most likely to induce churn. Is there a particular screen that users get stuck on, and what can you do to improve it? Or is it a matter of a particular user attribute? Here’s a use case: you have only one app version, meaning your users in China are forced to use the same app that was built for your US audience - and are therefore at a high risk of churning because of the irrelevant and frustrating app experience. One way to prevent churn in this situation is by creating an app for the Chinese market, complete with a localised checkout process that shows only their currency and shipping locations. Take what you know about the churn risks in your app and use that information to build a better app experience. 
 
Use targeted messaging When you know where the risks for churn lie, you can create personalised and relevant marketing campaigns to prevent it and to create highly targeted conversion campaigns. For example, you could target that segment of low and medium risk users with two or fewer “Add to Cart events” in their first three days with a push campaign offering a small added incentive: Free delivery on orders greater than $20. If there’s a subset of users who didn’t convert in the two days following this push campaign, you could send an email campaign offering a slightly stronger incentive: 10% off their first purchase, for example. Marketing can help retain users with high propensity for converting or re-engage churn risks.

Re-engage past customers

When it comes to your eCommerce app, you’re going to be primarily concerned with purchase churn. With purchase churn, users who were previously making purchases stop doing so. Your goal is to retain purchasers and incentivise them to make repeat purchases. This could be accomplished by prompting them to download new app versions with newly-optimised checkout processes, or using app messaging to remind them of previously viewed items from their history, or by providing special offers targeted to loyal customers. 
 
When you better understand where and how customers are churning in your app, you can move from a reactive to a proactive strategy for creating a better payment journey. Not only will your customers enjoy easier, more efficient and smarter checkout processes, they’ll have more confidence and trust in your app as a purchasing channel.

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