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Nestle nips unwanted mobile app sprawl in the bud

Nestle has consolidated its consumer-facing mobile app portfolio to add features to the most successful apps

Nestlé has identified that focusing time and money on fewer successful mobile apps rather than launching countless apps will increase take-up by consumers and make additional functionality viable.

The world has gone mobile app mad – even cats have mobile apps targeted at them – but large firms need to ensure that app numbers don’t escalate out of control if they are to generate valuable consumer interactions.

Nestlé is one multinational company that has nipped this in the bud. The food giant has reduced the number of mobile apps it offers to enable it to focus and improve on its most successful and popular apps.

Nestlé has many global consumer brands, and the success of mobile apps related to brands such as Nespresso could make it tempting to launch apps for every product. But Nestlé is currently consolidating its mobile app portfolio.

Luca Dell’Orletta, global mobile solutions manager at Nestlé, is focused on consumer apps. He told Computer Weekly that the number of apps Nestlé had was surprisingly high when he joined the company two-and-a-half years ago.

“It was extremely surprising for me when I started because there were about 230 mobile applications. I thought that was too many,” he said.

“We are now decreasing the number of mobile apps, but increasing focus where we see value and build upon that,” he added. Nestlé now has 150 customer-facing mobile apps across its main product categories, including coffee and infant products.

By increasing focus on its successful apps, Nestlé can improve engagement and add functionality to them.

The large user base of some apps has opened the company’s eyes to the opportunity to interact directly and personally with consumers. The most successful Nestlé mobile app is the one associated with its Nespresso brand, according to Dell’Orletta. It features an e-commerce platform that allows customers to buy capsules for the Nespresso machines, with a loyalty programme attached to it. There have been several million downloads over the past few years.

Nestlé is expanding the app to offer more services. The Nespresso app even has an internet of things (IoT) component with connected Nespresso machines. It communicates with the machines via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and the machine can send data to the cloud.

Dell’Orletta said the company was looking to this for other products. “This is a trend within Nestlé and we are working on several different connected machines.”

Nestle even has an app aimed at cat owners in relation to its Purina cat food brand. It features a game that lets cats attempt to catch fish on a screen. It has had more than five million downloads over the past few years, said Dell’Orletta. As with its successful Nespresso app, Nestlé wants to increase functionality.

“We did not think the app would be so successful – it was only originally a side project from Purina,” he said. Currently, the app is only a game, but there are opportunities to build on this and offer other services, said Dell’Orletta.

Due to its strategic focus on mobile apps, the company wants to control their development using its product know-how and understanding of customers.

Nestle’s mobile apps, as well as other digital platforms, are created in its global digital services hub in Barcelona where Dell’Orletta is based. This hub is where Nestlé’s global platforms are designed, built and operated, ranging from mobile activity to big data platforms.

Its global platforms are designed and built in-house, with some suppler involvement. “We do development in-house with our know-how and scale with suppliers from across the world,” he said.

Read more on Mobile apps and software

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