Blog – Mobile apps and platforms?

Ice House is a global developer firm. We create engaging mobile applications with intelligent cloud solutions – leveraging our expertise in geo-fencing, advance image recognition, beacons, customer identification and sophisticated analytics. Our solutions are especially aligned with O2O, online to offline and vice versa. This blog dives deeper into the how and what of our solutions.

 

Why this blog?

At Ice House we often get questions about apps and mobile developments. Or about new developments in technology in general related to their business. What is it all about? What do we have to do? Is it useful to go in this direction? Progress in technology is moving at lightning speed, leaving businesses wondering about the next step. It is almost impossible to get used to anything technology wise, because the next big thing in IT is already there or waiting around the corner. The world is being disrupted, and businesses need to find their feet in new solutions for their business model or for their business case altogether. Nevertheless, there is a trend showing that mobile apps are winning in the stakes. Businesses big and small feel there is a case to invest in mobile apps. But how to deploy new mobile solutions and create alignment?

 

Alignment and new consistency

Digital products are disrupting the world, leading to loss of market share or to new opportunities with surprising outcome. For any organisation a renewed view on business models and business cases is relevant, thus aligning new solutions and business processes while looking for a new consistency. With our solutions we aim to add to this new consistency. We develop engaging mobile experiences across all platforms and devices. We sketch, prototype and develop mobile solutions to apply in your strategy. KYC and KYP aligned with your customer base is central in this approach.

As a use case example, the starting point could be an ordering app for the customer. In this app it is possible to keep track of ordering, tracking, keep a history of previous shopping lists and to present a dynamic product catalogue. Promos, videos, blogs and options such as loyalty and payments can be added. However, in order to maintain consistency, and simultaneously to take the next step for the organisation towards the platform transformation, a sales app for reps and a driver app would make the picture complete. The sales rep is in direct contact with the back end of the supply system, the content management system (CMS), the customer relationship management system (CRM) and other enterprise resource planning systems (ERP). Meanwhile, the actual delivery can be traced through the driver app where the driver knows what to deliver, what is missing and when the delivery will be subsequently expected, and where proof of delivery takes place. Those three apps, also available for tablet or smart watch, would make a consistent solution for your company, replacing a paper trail and gaining efficiency.

 

Ice House solutions

An average Ice House solution can contain other elements apart from the app such as gamification with geofencing, push notifications, augmented reality, image recognition, QR codes, payments and loyalty – ideal for e-commerce and retail O2O.

An app is not a stand alone device. An app needs a back end with a customer relations management system, a content management system and additional systems depending on requirements. Also, the user experience needs to be supported with professional video clips and an easy to user interface. At Ice House we support the client in this journey, which can span from relatively small changes to transformations. For this, we have formed partnerships with leading brands in the business to design and style O2O customer experiences.

 

Apps for user engagement

Mobile applications or apps make your business available for your customers at all times. They also connect several solutions in a business to business – B2B – situation, and wider platforms such as Internet of Things.

For retail and e-commerce purposes we connect with screens and mirrors, changing for instance fitting room mirrors into point of sale where you can try on items, pay for them through our payments solutions, and have them delivered at home.

 

Know your customer (KYC) and know your product (KYP)

Apps are a direct marketing channel. They serve several purposes such as information, ordering, sales, gaming, etcetera. In those apps all sorts of features can be added, for instance as mentioned payments, loyalty, coupons and special offers. An app thus helps you build a loyal customer base. An app also helps you build your e-commerce platform and make the connection between online to offline and vice versa through customer engagement meaning search features and call to action. Just a few clicks align your customer with your business and add to customer loyalty. A consistent marketing strategy connected with social media positions you top of mind.

Key in this marketing strategy is deep knowledge of your customers, your products, and alignment. The needs of your customers, the customer lifecycle, customer engagement, creating personas, analysing data, a firm vision and strategy, and knowledge of your customer path in terms of touchpoints and ongoing challenge of assumptions are focuspoints. We also look at what is expected of your staff to contribute and align with your customer and strategy, in terms of sales and procurement.

 

Mirrors and screens

The online and offline retail and ecommerce concepts offer new possibilities for customer engament. With the help of digital mirrors and screens it is also possible to give a new meaning to the pop up shopping concept. We work with the best screen and mirror vendors in the market to facilitate upselling and cross selling, meaning a fitting room mirror could become a point of sale, or where you could virtually try on a garment. Screens in the shop can make your entire collection visible on site, while they can be bought with an augmented reality app in the webshop and delivered at home. A pop up with screens and mirrors could help you set up a new shop in a new market in a different country, where you could try out your concept or where you could bring your webshop to the customer at a relatively low cost.

 

The O2O business model

Alibaba and Amazon are leading the way to move e-commerce from online to offline. On the other hand, traditional retailers are moving in the opposite direction from offline to online with new inspiring solutions, and you can too. Key to both are vision and a sound strategy on retail, know your product and know your customer, and combining those in a wider perspective which could include exhibitions, runway and other shows and other entertainment. A place to be, to socialise and to relax. Ice House can help you redesign and restyle your business with our vast experience in tech, retail and payments.

 

About

Yvette de Koste is managing director at Ice House Netherlands. Ice House is a global mobile development firm, which applies breakthrough technologies, engineering excellence, and customer insight to design and build innovation user experiences. For more inspiration on business solutions please visit www.facebook.com/icehousenetherlands.

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