On Mobile by Swrve is a series of interviews with mobile leaders from across the world. In the second part of this series I spoke to Adam Warburton, Head of Mobile at Travelex, after his presentation “Supercharging Engagement In An Unengaging Category” at Mobile Moments London.

Ross Hamer: What does a mobile moment mean to you?

Adam Warburton: A mobile moment could be defined as a moment in time where you’ve captured and held a user's attention. At a recent Forrester conference I heard it defined as the time it takes from a set of traffic lights to turn from red to green… now obviously I wouldn't encourage anyone to use a phone while driving(!), but this captures the essence that the mobile moment is a micro-moment, a moment when a user picks up their phone and you’ve got their attention. This time is precious, and it’s vital it is well utilised.

RH: What is your big mobile prediction for 2017?

AW: I think we'll begin to see mobile apps gradually make way for more web apps. Whilst the number of apps submitted to the store continues to grow, we know that the App Store can be a graveyard for a lot of companies - rarely utilised, rarely downloaded apps. An alarming number of apps are never even downloaded, which is reflective of two things; it’s easier than ever to build a mobile app, and that it’s harder than ever to build a great, value-adding, unique mobile app.

Ultimately in 2017, given the advances in web technology we might see a shift from apps, but I don't think it will be a fundamental shift for everybody. I think apps that customers are incredibly engaged with, Facebook et al, along with games, will maintain their momentum via apps, but ultimately for brands like Travelex it will be about delivering great experiences via mobile web without the barrier to entry that apps present. I don’t expect this will be an instant shift, more a gradual swing back towards web.

RH: What is the hardest thing you've had to overcome recently as a mobile leader?

AW: When you think about all of the interesting stuff you can do for customers, the hardest thing is prioritising and being ruthless with your priorities. When a Travelex customer opens up their Supercard app, there are ten things that we'd love to talk to them about, and we know that five of those things customers would also love to talk about. Realistically though, we need to prioritise and present only one or two messages. It’s about finding the sweet spot between customer value and business value.

Apps that fail are the apps that try to go for all five messages in different ways. You open the app and stare at it and can't figure out what you want to do and so you close it down. The hardest thing is the ruthless prioritisation of features and content, and making sure that what the customer wants is to the fore and is easily understood and accessible.

RH: How have you built mobile relationships and driven engagement with Supercard?

AW: For us Supercard was always less about the card product and more about an app that had a card as an add-on. And we tried to position it that way. Supercard doesn't have a website; you can only apply for the Supercard via the app, and you can only manage your Supercard via the app. The app is central to the entire proposition, so for us building engagement was all about making sure the app is front and centre and then building the experiences around the phases that a customer goes through while travelling. We've broken that down into four distinct phases: 1) registration, when you are thinking about going away, 2) activation, which is pre-trip preparation 3) in-trip, when you’re away and want quick access to your transactions, and 4) post-trip, when you’re reviewing your spending. So for Travelex, it’s important to consider the context when building mobile relationships; at various phases the customer has different expectations from their relationship with us.

RH: What does success on mobile look like to you?

Success for our products is multifaceted, but simplistically it’s about driving user acquisition, and more interestingly about driving shorter, but more frequent, sessions. It's about not necessarily holding a customer inside our app for five minutes. I'd much rather have ten sessions of ten seconds than one session of five minutes. It's about removing friction. If we get their time in app down, that’s normally a good indicator that we’re reducing friction. For us and other retail apps it's not necessarily about how long you can keep the customer in the app for, it's about the retentive pattern you can build with them. For me, that is the key to success.


To find out more about Swrve, check out our 2017 Mobile Success Kit.