The three phases of Iterative native app development


This is the second in a three-part series on the three phases of native app development. You can read more about the Foundational phase, and stay tuned to hear what’s possible in the Advanced phase.

Launching a native app is a complex project that requires a relatively substantial commitment in terms of both strategic vision and resource investment. The good news is that it isn’t something that has to be done all in one fell swoop. In fact, native app development naturally lends itself to an iterative, phased process.

This is reassuring for companies that want to move into the native app space, but are more comfortable doing it one step at a time. The first article in this series provided an overview of the Foundational stage of native app development, which focuses on crafting a strong strategy and then building an initial app within the framework of that strategy.

Once you have built your core app, you’re almost sure to start thinking about ways to expand and deepen the customer experience. After all, native apps are an unparalleled way to deliver a truly personalized and customer-centric experience using the iOS and Android platform features that today’s technology-savvy consumers already love. And those enriched customer experiences help drive critical improvements in key metrics including AOV, ARPU, and LTV.

If you’ve already started your journey into the world of native apps, and you’re ready to take things a little further, here is an excerpt from our recent POV, Unlocking Customer Loyalty with Native Apps. Here, we cover the Enhanced stage of native app development, which provides brands with an opportunity to engage customers more frequently and with a greater range of functionality.


Second-phase features and functionality tend to focus on creating a more personalized, customized, and concierge-like experience. At this level, users have more ways to define the value they want from the app while the app is able to anticipate what users want.

 The Enhanced category of features includes things that help create that two-way conversation with the customer, increase frequency of interactions, and further streamline transactions to capitalize on the power of the fluid commerce experience.

At this stage, in-app push notifications along with text and email integrations deliver relevant content that drives engagement. Apps might also take advantage of more refined location-based context, or implement a frictionless buying flow that deep links a user from a text message /in-app message or email directly to a product page and then processes the purchase through a one-tap mobile payment. The possibilities are nearly endless.

Enhanced Element Example 1:

Six Flags: True Mapping and Centralized Passes — Everything Visitors Need in One Place

Due to technical limitations, the first Foundational stage of the Six Flags app lacked much of the advanced functionality that guests were clamoring for – namely in-app maps. In the enhanced version of their app, Six Flags implemented true mapping functionality with custom maps created to match the traditional, cartoon-style park maps. These digital maps were stored in the app, allowing users to get offline search and turn-by-turn directions to anywhere in the park. In addition, the app gave users the ability to save all their seasonal and daily park passes, “fast pass” options, and dining passes offline in the app, greatly increasing convenience, speed, and ease.

Enhanced Element Example 2:

B&H: Daily Deals — Creating Urgency and Providing Immediate Access

After wowing customers and winning awards with the outstanding product visualization in their initial app, B&H evolved their app offering with  the ability to offer limited-time sale offers via in-app notifications and promotional content featured prominently on the app’s home screen. The deadline for each deal and available quantity were also featured, to create a sense of urgency. And then, of course, purchases of Deal Zone items could be made easily and quickly through the app. B&H also implemented a complementary feature that gave users the ability to opt in for sale notifications on products they had saved to their favorites.

Enhanced Element Example 3:

Costco: Fully Integrated Shopping Lists — Capturing Every Coupon

Based on insights gained from feedback in the App Store and customer interest, Costco added more robust shopping list features to future iterations of the app. This enables the app to serve up available deals in an organic way–offering suggestions as a user adds items to their  shopping list and then allowing users to add those on-sale items directly to their shopping list. This makes it easier for customers to take advantage of great offers and helps Costo surface new deals and products relevant to their customer.

It sounds cliche, but the potential of native apps really is—practically speaking—almost limitless. Tapping into that potential is all about looking at your brand experience from the customer’s perspective, and then using the vast array of technology and tools at your fingertips to create a native app that lives up to consumers’ expectations … and then some.

These days, a responsive website is just the price of admission. If you really want to engage people where they live—on their mobile devices—you need to create an experience that’s designed for that space. Download the full Unlocking Customer Loyalty with Native Apps POV to learn more about what your customers really want, get an insider’s opinion on what it really takes to succeed with a native app, and read more inspiring stories about how savvy brands are using native apps to level up their customer relationships in a big way.