Switzerland – CHRONEXT, a luxury watch platform, has enlisted the services of content management system provider Storyblok to help enhance customer experience by developing an iOS mobile app that allows their marketers and developers to construct customised user journeys.

Realising that their content system was purely web-based, CHRONEXT decided to use Storyblok and was able to build their mobile app prototype in just 7 weeks. Since its launch, app session times have tripled from 2 minutes on their website to 5 minutes on their mobile application.

Other aspects that influenced CHRONEXT’s decision to choose StoryBlok included the fact that it is a headless CMS that allows them to provide omni channel user experiences, the ease of use for developers and marketers with comprehensive user management tools, and the ability to serve as a centralised hub for all content.

Speaking on the developments, Emanuel Schleussinger, CTO at CHRONEXT, said, “Storyblok opened possibilities for our marketing team to easily update product pages, create new campaigns and promotions for different markets, and engage with our customers.”

Cameron Crosby, team lead of website & digital innovation at CHRONEXT, also added, “With Storyblok, content teams can simply drag, drop, and update specific component pieces that make up a product detail page in our application within seconds, without having to redeploy the application to the App Store. Changes are reflected on user’s screens instantly without disrupting their purchase session.”

Meanwhile, Dominik Angerer, co-founder and CEO of Storyblok, commented, “CHRONEXT is a great example of a brand that understands the omnichannel benefits and possibilities of a headless CMS and uses that knowledge to build better customer experiences. They now have a centralised content hub that can grow with them as they expand.”

Singapore – The popular dating app Bumble has surpassed the $2b milestone in terms of the amount of user spending across App Store and Google Play installs globally, according to the latest data from data.ai.

According to the data, Bumble was the second most downloaded dating app worldwide in the last 12 months ending June 2023, ranking behind Tinder and Hinge, but steaming ahead of counterparts like Happn and Bumble Inc.’s Badoo.

Moreover, revenue also tracked highest in the US, totaling $400m over the last 12 months, followed this time by the UK at $54m.

“Dating and matchmaking are now mobile-native habits. Finding friends is a natural extension of this behavior. The launch of Bumble for Friends is a testament to the success of Bumble and expands their offerings to a new cohort of users. The app also has the added benefit that a successful match increases stickiness and usage,” data.ai said in a press statement.

It should be noted that Bumble recently launched its new spinoff app called ‘Bumble for Friends’. The new app, a spinoff of the main app’s ‘friend mode’, focuses on genuine friendship connections in the user’s local area with an emphasis on meeting up in real life.  

“Conversely, dating apps are designed to be deleted: the more successful the matches, the more likely users delete or abandon the app. In this case, Bumble has created a value proposition that can follow you throughout your life stages and relationship statuses,” data.ai also added.

Singapore – The latest joint data from measurement and analytics suite Adjust and mobile data analytics provider data.ai revealed that in-app spending amongst Japanese users for this year’s first quarter has ballooned up to $4.65 billion–an increase of 13% compared to the previous quarter. The data also notes that this expending is expected to exceed $17.7 billion in spend this year.

In terms of mobile gaming, Japan is making a slow but steady comeback in 2023 with 12% and 6% increases in installs and sessions, respectively, from Q4 2022 to Q1 2023. In Q1 2023, Japanese mobile gamers increased their spending on gaming apps significantly, with a 13% increase over Q4 2022. Puzzle games are extremely popular in Japan, accounting for 19% of all gaming sessions.

Meanwhile, Japan’s progression toward a cashless society continues with digital payment apps capturing 77% of install share and sessions increasing 7% in Q1 2023 compared to Q4 2022. Meanwhile, crypto apps have exploded in popularity with significant growth in both installs and sessions, with a captive audience leading to a day 1 retention rate of 28% in Q1 2023. Overall fintech app sessions increased by 17% in Q1 2023 compared to Q4 2022.

Lastly, e-commerce apps have showcased remarkable resilience, with deal discovery apps growing 24% YoY in 2022 and another 11% in Q1 2023 compared to Q4 2022. Notably, marketplace apps achieved an impressive day 1 retention rate of 28% in Q1 2023, highlighting their strong appeal and user engagement. Although there was a dip in installs of e-commerce apps in general, sessions increased 5% YoY in 2022.

Toby Torii, territory director for Japan at data.ai, said, “As the industry continues to grow and user behavior shifts, building strong partnerships, leveraging innovative technologies and staying ahead of industry trends are key factors for unlocking tremendous growth opportunities. With the right approach, mobile marketers can take their campaigns to the next level and capitalize on this exciting market’s enormous potential.”

In addition, connected TV (CTV) is already a large part of mobile users’ journey. Currently, 70% of Japanese TV viewers have a CTV device, and CTV and OTT devices are expected to be owned by 30 million Japanese households by the end of 2023. This presents a wealth of opportunities for advertisers to reach new and engaged audiences, and to drive users from CTV apps to mobile devices or back to CTV apps themselves. 

Gijsbert Pols, director of connected TV and new channels at Adjust, said, “CTV campaigns are set to become a fixture in app marketers’ user acquisition strategies, and early movers in Japanese CTV advertising stand to benefit greatly. CTV offers better ad quality, a more captivated audience, precise targeting for users interests, measurement and optimization for engagement rates, impressions and click-through rates.”

Singapore – Multi-currency e-wallet YouTrip has announced its ‘YouTrip 2.0’ revamp, which includes a refreshed look and feel to its signature card and mobile app interface. 

The improved app now features an even more intuitive interface where users can easily manage their expenses, enjoy favourable exchange rates for over 150 currencies and other YouTrip perks within one integrated platform.

Moreover, users are also greeted with a new card design – a modernised upgrade from the initial launched five years ago. The new card accents a transparent window that symbolises the limitless possibilities YouTrip users can experience with their trusted travel payment companion. 

Under ‘YouTrip 2.0’, users will now receive a complimentary virtual card immediately upon application’s approval. This allows new users to enjoy rates for all online payments without having to wait for the arrival of their physical card.

Caecilia Chu, CEO and co-founder of YouTrip, said, “With the increasing adoption and reliance on digital wallet, users’ needs and expectations have also evolved over the years. YouTrip 2.0 is part of the company’s agile and iterative approach to product development and improvement based on user feedback, and market trends and preferences as we embark on our fifth year with the Singapore market.”

She added, “Equipped with enhanced security features, the improved app and modernised physical card is part of YouTrip’s ongoing efforts to build a secure, borderless multi-currency e-wallet that promises the best rates, all day.”

Singapore – Popular hotel and integrated resorts Marina Bay Sands has rolled out new features in its mobile app in order to improve guest experience. Some of the features include allowing mobile check-ins and the launch of digital keycards for hotel guests.

These new services kick off a significant programme under the integrated resort’s customer service roadmap to elevate the end-to-end digital experience across all touchpoints of the guest journey. These new functionalities and many more features are now available on Marina Bay Sands’ mobile application for both Android and Apple users.

Upon making a reservation with the hotel, guests can use the Marina Bay Sands mobile app to log in with a membership ID and carry out steps to complete the check-in process. First users must scan a government-issued identity document, then take a selfie photo to verify identity via facial recognition technology, followed by confirming personal details, and lastly activate digital keys for room and lift access upon arrival at the hotel.

In addition to mobile check-in and digital key access, guests can request in-room amenities and order in-room dining through the app. At the end of their stay, guests can also verify their room bill and check out, without having to queue at the lobby or drop off physical keycards. 

For Paul Town, chief operating officer at Marina Bay Sands, the aim of the new mobile app features is to not only transform the conventional check-in experience, but to also allow guests to truly maximise their time and start discovering the property from the moment they arrive. He also adds that they have big plans for their digital offerings and are investing heavily to enhance the overall customer journey across even more touchpoints.

“Marina Bay Sands has always embraced technology in our constant pursuit to enhance service standards and convenience for our guests. Regarded as a breakthrough for a standalone hotel of our scale in Singapore, our new mobile offerings will enable an effortless end-to-end guest experience to create new value for our customers. These innovations will also enable our team members to take on higher-value tasks such as rendering more personal service to our guests,” Town said.

Singapore – Cloud communications provider Vonage has announced an artificial intelligence (AI) acceleration suite to aid in the development of applications that deliver smarter solutions to drive business productivity and better experiences and engagements.

The new AI suite allows businesses and developers to deploy omnichannel customer journeys that use the power of AI and customer data to incorporate intelligence and automation into their customer experience applications.

For Vonage, the need for new and intelligent applications is accelerating as organisations look to enhance digital engagement for every stakeholder–which includes the customer, agent, and employee–to address each unique use case. They have also noted the rise of a new community of non-developers or so-called ‘citizen developers’, who are looking to create applications with real-time communications and seamless digital experiences.

Vonage’s suite solutions can be used together, flexibly in different combinations, or individually according to application needs. In addition, developers extend use cases and build specialised applications on top of other solutions with open access to Vonage communications APIs for voice, video, SMS and messaging.

Savinay Berry, EVP for product and engineering at Vonage, said that to meet evolving customer needs – and demand – for better ways to connect across channels of choice, enterprises today are looking for solutions that speed and simplify the development of intelligent, AI-powered customer experience applications.

“Vonage AI Acceleration Suite enables businesses to create better outcomes and enhance productivity with AI processing and programmable solutions that are essential for developers and non-developers alike to meet this growing demand for simpler and faster methods of application development to create a better overall customer journey,” Berry said.

Singapore – Digital adtech company PubMatic has recently launched a new playbook which lays out strategies for mobile app publishers in the Asia-Pacific region on how to capture increased brand spend.

Titled ‘ The Brand Opportunity Playbook’, the new PubMatic playbook explains benefits of leveraging brand spend for mobile app publishers in APAC and identifies key challenges publishers must solve in order to capture spend.

Publishers can find insights into the opportunities and challenges presented by increased brand advertising interest in mobile app, including an overview of the trends driving in-app advertising and brand spend, key challenges and opportunities for app publishers today, among others.

“Mobile in-app has long been associated with delivering short-term performance goals, however as more consumers migrate onto apps, brand advertisers are increasingly embracing the channel to deliver long-term business goals, including brand objectives,” PubMatic said in a press statement.

Meanwhile, Lashanne Phang, senior director for mobile at PubMatic, said, “Digital brand ads do what traditional advertising was built to do – be memorable, change opinions, and stay with users long after they see the ad. Unlike direct response or performance ads, brand ads require no action from the user, which means publishers can benefit from ad revenue without users having to navigate away from their app.”

Phang added, “But to access global brand demand, it is important for publishers understand brand advertisers’ expectations and to work with an SSP partner that has strong relationships and access to key media buyers in the desired markets.”

Pakistan – Technology company Uber is discontinuing its ride-hailing services in five Pakistani cities namely Karachi, Islamabad, Multan, Faisalabad and Peshawar.

According to a report by Reuters, the exit is a move by Uber to reduce market overlap between the U.S. firm and its Middle East unit Careem.

However, Uber will still remain in the city of Lahore, where Uber is aiming at launching new products.

Former Uber drivers that are from the five cities can switch to Careem, a Dubai-based company purchased by Uber for US$3.1b in 2019 to dominate the ride-hailing markets in the Middle East and Pakistan.

“We know this is a difficult time for the teams who have worked incredibly hard to build this business over the past few years. We greatly appreciate everyone’s contributions and our priority is to minimise the impact to our employees, drivers, riders, and Hero partners who use the Uber app during this change in Karachi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Multan and Peshawar,” the company said in a statement.

Uber first entered into Pakistan in 2016 as part of a US$250m push to expand into the Middle East and North Africa. Uber had also recently offloaded its food delivery services to Zomato, a local rival, and sold its shares in the company recently at an assumed unrealized loss of US$707m.

India – Tech giant Google is in hot water recently, as it is being asked by Indian authorities and the central bank to put stringent measures in place against illegal digital lending applications uploaded on Google’s Play Store, according to an exclusive report from Reuters.

According to the report, Google and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have been meeting in the past few months to urge tougher checks and balances that can help in weeding out such apps.

Multiple local regulators have long pushed Indian lenders to have stricter checking on new lending app players. Some of the ‘red flags’ for illegal lender apps include charging excessive interest rates and fees or in recovery practices which are not authorised by the central bank or violate money laundering and other government guidelines.

A Google spokesperson said, “We have removed over 2,000 personal loan apps targeting India from the Play Store for violation of the Play policy requirements. We will continue to engage with law enforcement agencies and industry bodies to help address this issue.”

While India’s central bank requires that any lending apps listed on app stores be backed by regulated entities, it is up to Google to enforce this and monitor compliance. The tech giant has also been asked to look at curtailing the rise of such apps via other distribution channels such as websites and other means of downloads.

Singapore – Logistics company J&T Express in Singapore has announced its latest update to its flagship mobile app – J&T Singapore App – to offer international delivery to Malaysia, with more destinations to be added gradually. This new feature comes on top of the app’s existing domestic delivery service.

The new app update comes alongside the launch of J&T Express’ new web-based intelligent transport management system, known as JMS, to drive greater operational efficiency

The J&T Singapore App aims to provide a simple and convenient way for everyone – from individuals to small business owners and e-commerce sellers – to access competitively priced delivery services. This is part of J&T Express’ strategic expansion into the consumer market to diversify its offerings and meet growing consumer demand for both domestic and international delivery.

To kickstart the launch of J&T Singapore App’s international delivery feature, J&T Express Singapore is offering a discounted price for shipments to West Malaysia starting from S$4.30–exclusive to prevailing charges–from now till 31 August 2022.

Alice Yeung, sales and marketing director of J&T Express Singapore, said, “The enhancement of the J&T Singapore App and launch of JMS are a testament to our commitment to investing in new technologies and advancing our offerings to reach wider audiences.” 

She added, “As a tech-driven e-commerce logistics company, we are always seeking innovative ways to improve the customer journey and optimise every key touchpoint, from upgrading our back-end operational system to strengthening the user experience with more delivery options.”