Case Study: Digital Experience and Mobile Consulting
A premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee had recognized the seismic shift in consumer behavior toward online shopping and embraced digital to deliver on numerous innovations.
At the start of 2013, the company had two customer-facing mobile apps: one for iOS first launched in 2009, and one for Android first launched in 2011. These apps feature a proprietary mobile payment system and are tied to a loyalty program that is very popular with customers. Originally built by outside agencies, the company wanted to bring both apps in-house to grow them according to internal roadmaps. The foundation for this effort was the creation of a new unified API that enables more efficient management of digital projects.
Because more of the company’s customers use the iOS app than the Android app, the iOS app was brought in-house first. While the iOS app evolved with continual updates, the Android app stagnated. As new versions of the Android OS were released, the company’s app became sluggish and prone to crashes. The design was also dated, lagging in sophistication compared with the latest Android apps on the market and did not represent the brand.
In order to better serve its customer base, the company knew it must reinvest in Android and completely overhaul the app.
The Android app needed to be completely rebuilt to take advantage of the new API while also bringing the Android app features to parity with the iPhone app. The company also wanted the new design and user experience to be distinctly Android and not an iPhone app copycat. Finally, the rebuild needed to overcome the challenge of fragmentation in the Android marketplace and provide a positive user experience on the many permutations of Android available, which presented a significant challenge.
AIM Consulting was already the company’s chosen partner for the iOS app projects. Impressed with the expertise and processes AIM Consulting was currently bringing to the iPhone app, the company turned to the technology consulting company to own the Android project end-to-end.
A thought leader in digital experience and mobile, AIM Consulting is a nationally recognized technology solutions and services company focused on business results and deploying the right teams to solve complex challenges.
The AIM Android team scrapped the old code and developed a new Android app on a stable platform with near parity of the iOS app in just 10 months. The following were all a part of the Android app’s overall success:
Platform Rebuild: The app was re-architected on a new platform to take advantage of the new open API, utilizing Android Studio to build the app and Mashery for API management. The result was a solid foundation that would be scalable for future innovation.
Solving for Fragmentation: To solve for fragmentation, the team continually assessed user data and the ecosystem of Android devices in the marketplace and ensured they had a representative sample of every Android OS version as well as the overlays that different OEMs put on top of Android.
New Android-Focused UX/UI: AIM incorporated usability testing to provide feedback to the team from actual Android users throughout the design and development process. The result is an app that is designed to be distinctly Android, taking advantage of features and functionality unique to the Android operating system while also feeling like the company’s brand.
Extended Feature Parity: Just like the iOS app, the Android app links customers to registered loyalty cards so they can pay for purchases and earn rewards through their phones. Features include:
- Pay, check your balance and reload cards
- Instant access to payment options
- Leave a digital tip
- Track and redeem rewards
- Find stores, directions and access store-specific hours and amenities
New Agile Development Processes: The AIM team built the Android app on site in a seamless blend with the company’s resources and in partnership with the client’s long term goals. AIM brought further value by creating a customized Agile development process tailored to the client company’s environment. For this client, AIM implemented Scrumban, a combination of Scrum ceremonies and Kanban, and a custom approach to user stories.
In the first month following the release, the company’s Android user base nearly doubled from 700,000 weekly users to 1.3 million active weekly users.
The Android app is now managed in-house on the new API and optimized for all the major devices used by retail company’s customers as well as newer devices on the market, including wearables. The app is completely redesigned with an improved interface, digital tipping and other features, including easy access to the loyalty and rewards program.
In addition, the agile development processes that AIM brought to the client company’s mobile team has resulted in a level of transparency and predictability for digital projects that the retailer didn’t have before. AIM’s processes have since been adopted by other technology teams within the client company, and the increased understanding and visibility has resulted in continuing investment to broaden digital initiatives.
Today, the retailer and AIM Consulting’s partnership means that the client is able to evolve its Android app and provide new features and functionality that will continue to increase adoption and delight the company’s customers.