As more millennials enter the car-buying market, it becomes an integral part of any lender’s business plan to enhance mobility efforts to meet consumer technology demand.
Mobile apps have penetrated virtually every industry there is, from food delivery services to online dating. Financial services, and auto finance in particular, are not an exception. The challenge: to design a banking app “cool” enough to reserve a spot in your customers’ smartphones.
As such, lenders should also consider ways to reduce bounce rates — which is a performance indicator that reflects the quality of content as well as the web traffic — for their mobile apps.
Auto Finance News recently spoke with three mobile app specialists about the techniques for lowering bounce rates. Here are five tips to developing a “cool” mobile app, lowering bounce rates, and addressing consumer fall-off:
1. Differentiate a mobile app from a personal computer (PC) interface
The drivers for a mobile app and a laptop interface are different; the consumer behaviors are different and the device capabilities are different, said Craig Schleicher, senior manager of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Consumer Finance Group. For example, mobile phones have small screens. When lenders look to build up a mobile app, they should make it simple and easy to use. In the meantime, PCs are usually for brand discovery and social engagement, he added.
In addition, it’s easy to go back and forth on a laptop but not on a mobile phone, said Roy Mathew, co-founder and CEO of uQuote. “You must realize that an app is based on a phone, and you have to scroll up and down when reading an article. You have to keep this in mind.”
2. Design should be simple and easy to follow
It’s hard to convey all the value upfront when designing a mobile app, Mathew said, and thus lenders should be creative. For example, a Facebook Messenger chat feature is innovative. “There should not be barriers for entries,” he said. “The app must create an immediate experience, like Facebook Messenger, so you can get responses in no time without additional barriers.”
Pelican Auto Finance LLC, for example, partnered with Payix to provide collection tools through its new mobile app, which launched last month. Through the app, borrowers can schedule payments, review payment history, and communicate with their assigned agents via a live two-way chat feature, similar to Facebook Messenger, Joel Kennedy, chief performance officer and compliance officer, told Auto Finance News.
3. Better provide something for nothing
In order to lower bounce rates, the mobile app should be free, Mathew said. “Otherwise, it will be an extra pain,” he said.
“People used to get free inventory information on local newspapers, so they might not be willing to pay significantly for a mobile app,” Schleicher added. “It’s important to build an app that allows access to useful sources so that the pay-based model can work out well.”
However, charging app fees may be beneficial sometimes, but that fee should be minimal, Schleicher said. If a free app means limited use and features, then it won’t work out very well, he explained.
4. User experience is the key
“User experience” is the first word that comes to mind in terms of creating a new mobile app, said Nathan Hecht, founder and chief executive of Honcker. He suggested web developers provide weekly updates on mobile apps for bug fixes and feature improvements.
Users get distracted easily, so it is important to track the page load time, PwC’s Schleicher said. Ideally, app developers should keep the page load time less than three seconds. First impression is significant. “If users don’t have a positive first-time user experience, it’s unlikely they will come back,” he added.
Millennials is a broad demographic concept in the auto finance market, Schleicher added. There are older millennials, younger millennials, and also Gen Z. Therefore, the most important thing to keep in mind is to “design an app that meets the needs of each specific, niche population that you want to target,” he said.
“Don’t fit the mobile app in the automotive environment,” uQuote’s Mathew said. “It is what consumers care about that matters the most. For example, an ideal automotive mobile app should provide consumers with an exact quote of car prices, rather than an estimated one.”
5. Take the company’s budget into account
Advertising budget is always a challenge for companies, Mathew said. Currently, there are two types of ads in the market: dealership advertising and technology vendor advertising. “Usually you have to separate it, and it will lead to double cost,” he said. Since some companies don’t have the technology to develop mobile apps on their own, allocating a portion of your budget to finding a responsible fintech partner is critical, Mathew added.