There are 5.48 billion mobile users on the planet, and more than 90% of the global internet population uses a mobile device to go online. It makes sense for businesses to tap into that vast market by launching apps—and coworking spaces are no exception.
However, just offering a coworking app isn’t enough. As well as encouraging as many downloads as possible, you want users to realize the full benefits through continuous engagement with the app. To do that, you’ll need a robust strategy for educating members and increasing adoption.
In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of coworking apps, the challenges to adoption, and the best way to attract and retain users.
Coworking apps are designed to make life easier for the people who use and manage coworking spaces. For owners and managers, this includes handling bookings, sending invoices and processing payments, organizing events, tracking and analyzing the use of amenities, and promoting the brand.
Members can easily find and book a working space or resource, register for events, make payments, and purchase products. They might even be able to open automated doors to the premises and check in automatically. The app enables smooth communication with managers and other users to build a collaborative community.
In short, you can purchase an app from a trusted vendor that does whatever you need based on how you run the coworking hub. And, just as a retail business would tell employees about the latest inventory management system features, you need to educate members about how the app can help them.
As we mentioned, coworking apps can help members do anything from booking meeting rooms to paying invoices. It’s more convenient for users to do all this with a single tool, and it’s also helpful for managers who view what’s happening across various coworking spaces.
When members are fully engaged, you’ll find that the app boosts individual productivity and fosters collaboration in coworking spaces. It’s easy for your members to connect with one another, and an active community is essential for building a solid coworking brand.
Choosing and marketing your app represents an investment of time and money, and successful adoption means you’ll see a return on that investment. In addition, you should see an increase in revenue as users realize how easy it is to book spaces and make purchases in the app.
App adoption is a process that requires you to give ongoing support to users. If you can get a high percentage of members using the app and enjoying their experience with it, you’re more likely to retain them as app users and as customers of your business.
Getting people to embrace your app isn’t always easy. The first challenge is encouraging members to download it in the first place—but in their busy lives, it’s easy for them to forget. And those who have downloaded the app may delay setting it up or discovering all the features, which means they won’t get the full experience or see an increase in efficiency.
Another problem is that people can be resistant to change. This can happen when you ask people to use a coworking app for the first time or introduce a new one (or a new feature). Some don’t like downloading yet another app on their phones, while others may even fear new technology.
Once you’ve persuaded members to download and start using the app, the next challenge is to ensure the experience is everything it should be. If they don’t enjoy the app or find it hard to use, you’ll see inefficient workflows and even people deciding to uninstall it. A potential issue is a lack of consistency across different devices and operating systems.
In the same way a business would gather customer data related to digital marketing for retail, you must analyze app usage to enhance the user experience. However, privacy updates on Apple and Android devices make this more complex, so you’ll need to devise other ways of evaluating engagement.
If you can figure out how to break down the common barriers to adoption and listen to the needs of your members, you’ll be on the path to success. Here are some top tips:
The first step is to make a plan for increasing app adoption. What goals do you want to achieve with the app—are you aiming for a certain percentage of downloads? What strategies will you use to make them happen? For example, you can offset concerns about potential glitches with assurances that the app has been through functional testing software checks.
Decide who will be responsible for implementing the strategy, how to measure success, and what you’ll do if the plan isn’t working. Remember that adoption begins at the top—so make sure owners and managers are the first to start using the app and encourage members to do so.
If you want people to use your app, you’ve got to tell them about it! A good way of doing this is to place visual reminders, such as posters or stickers around the coworking space, including QR codes that link to the app store. You can also send emails, including a call to action and download instructions.
It’s helpful for your staff to remind members about the app’s benefits. When someone visits the reception desk or wants to book a meeting room or report a wi-fi issue via phone call or email, that’s a great time to mention the convenience of using the app instead. It’s all about changing people’s habits.
Another way of encouraging adoption is to provide incentives to members. You could offer a free trial or make the app a gateway for accessing value-added services such as exclusive member offers and discounts on products in your online store.
It’s also important to look after early adopters who will help to increase adoption rates through word-of-mouth and testimonials. You could run a prize draw for the first 20 or 50 people who download and start using the app, give out free gifts, or show some love with social media shoutouts.
Once people have agreed to download the app, you need to ensure their onboarding experience is what they expect. Think about interactive product walkthroughs, how-to guides for configuring the app to their preferences, self-service support, and personalized training sessions.
It’s worth holding welcome events for new members, where you can take the opportunity to explain the benefits and functionality of your app and answer any questions. This is also an excellent way for members to get to know each other and foster a sense of community.
Even when adoption rates are high, you shouldn’t let the momentum drop. Users need to know about the app’s latest features and updates, which you can post on your community feed (also an excellent way to promote your events).
Reach out to members through all available channels, such as sending a regular email newsletter with educational information and tips for making the most of the app. You can also use mobile marketing, such as notifications and text alerts, as long as you don’t go overboard with it!
Although it’s harder to track user journeys on mobile devices, you can still get to know your members. Try sending out in-app surveys to learn what users want to achieve, and look at contact forms and comment sections. This way, you’ll get to understand their challenges before launching new features to address them, and you can provide them with info, such as alternatives to NetSuite.
As well as providing information about the app, you can use this knowledge to enhance the service you deliver. After getting to know the type of businesses they run from the coworking space, you could create a directory of useful articles in the app—maybe industry-specific guides such as how to create an electronic signature in Word.
Don’t just assume that people will continue to use your app in the same way as time goes on. It’s important to measure adoption rates (number of downloads after six months or percentage of members using the app) and metrics like monthly active users or key actions performed. Armed with these stats, you can look for ways to improve the customer experience.
You may face challenges in increasing the adoption of your coworking app. Still, with the right strategy in place, you can successfully educate your members on the benefits. Communication is key, whether promoting the app or explaining how to make the most of a new feature.
Ensure you offer incentives, deliver a great onboarding experience, and keep the support and education going. Monitor the metrics to determine if the strategy is working—and listen to user feedback. The more of them that sign up, the easier your life will be!
The article was written by Nick Shaw. Nick has been Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of Brightpearl, the number one retail-focused digital operations platform which encompasses sales and inventory management software, track inventory, accounting, logistics, CRM and more, since July 2019 and is responsible for EMEA Sales, Global Marketing and Alliances. Before joining Brightpearl, Nick was GM and Vice President of the EMEA Consumer business at Symantec and was responsible for a $500m revenue business. Nick has written for sites such as BigCommerce and Crowdfire. Here is Nick Shaw’s LinkedIn.