Dear Longwood Gardens Leadership,
Digital technology has transformed the way we live, the way we communicate, and the way we encounter the world around us – a world in which we have access to products, services, and experiences on demand.(1) Mobile has made it easy to carry that access in the palm of our hand and there is a growing expectation of consumers to have a digital experience integrated into their interactions with their favorite brands. Mobile internet technology has disrupted the status quo.(2) 81% of adults in the US own a smartphone, up 46% from 2011.(3) The majority of households have 3 or more mobile phones and 79% of people ages 18 – 44 say that they have their smartphone on or near them 22 hours a day.(4)
In our new mobile world, the customer experience is changing and in order to stay relevant, brands must rethink the customer journey. Satisfied customers spend more and show deeper loyalty.(5) For Longwood Gardens, integrating digital technology to communicate and connect with visitors in the Gardens translates into repeat visitors and increased membership.
When visitors go to Longwood Gardens, they can get information from paper maps and event schedules, talking to staff members, or visiting longwoodgardens.org. The maps can be challenging to use when a breeze is blowing. When walking around exploring the Gardens, information about the displays or the plant species are not easily found or accessible if you don’t know where to look.
A mobile app will deepen and expand visitors’ knowledge of the Gardens. Taking into consideration visitor expectations and familiarity with mobile technology, the app will include features and functionality that will “elevate the extraordinary guest experience”. Features include:
- Seamless ticket & membership purchasing, Dining Reservation and Gift Shop shopping
- Interactive map that will allow users to easily navigate through the garden, get information on shows and events, and quickly find assistance if needed
- Plant scanner that allows visitors to use their devices camera to pull out additional information about specific flowers or plants.
- Augmented Reality game that will immerse the young and old in an educational learning experience leading them to explore the gardens
A mobile app will provide a personalized, interactive visitor experience that will complement the existing online presence of Longwood Gardens. The Longwood Gardens App will encourage repeat visits and add to the value that the Gardens and all that Longwood offers – from educational programs to performances and special events – brings when visitors spend the afternoon exploring the horticultural delight that is Longwood Gardens. The improved digital experience will attract, educate, and enhance the customer experience.
We believe that the Longwood Gardens App will appeal to all visitors to Longwood Gardens, both new and existing, and including families, horticulturists, students, and nature lovers. Families in particular, will find value in the app as it will assist in navigating the gardens while they are keeping the children occupied and interested. As children grow older, they are not as easily entertained and the AR technology based game the app provides will not only entertain them, but also keep their interest in the garden displays and provide education at the same time.
How the App will work for Longwood Gardens
A meaningful customer experience will encourage repeat visits from existing customers and first timers to come back (retain) and increase membership (build loyalty)
Revenue – Sponsors (local hotels, garden centers), Membership, Ticket sales, Event participation
How the App will work for the visitor.
Upon entering Longwood Gardens, Proximity-based marketing technology such as beacons will be used to remind and trigger the installation of the app on smartphones, iPads and other mobile devices. For those less savvy or have beacons blocked, a simple QR code on signage at the entrances would also provide quick and easy access. If this does not occur immediately upon entrance, additional reminders can be scattered among the garden providing subtle reminders regarding the potential for their experience to be enhanced if downloaded. The more highly integrated technology can be within the garden providing beneficial interaction opportunities, the greater the adoption.
Recommendations on how Longwood Gardens could market the app to their audience include:
- Receive special offers and discounts on “Longwood swag” or food while visiting, by downloading and registering within the app.
- Download the app and enter to win a free membership for 1 year.
- For Gold package, on the website, show the AR examples of interaction powered by the app, such as pictures of kids and parents using it while exploring the garden.
How BranchLab will work with Longwood Gardens
Longwood is assigned a dedicated customer success manager (CSM) to demonstrate the capabilities and features of the app within each Tier (Basic, Silver, Gold). The CSM will also facilitate further training and on-boarding support (train, guide, and assist) depending on the Tier the client has purchased for their app experience. CSM will assist in creating the dashboard for Gold Tier CMS & Analytics package. BranchLab’s CMS (content management system). Self Service dashboard created to provide the comprehensive overview of the app’s analytics, including but not limited to, stats, number of downloads, popular sections within the app, user location map info & e-commerce sales.) CSM will facilitate the process of linking the existing Longwood data into the app (via the BranchLab API) to synch their basic data in order to match and assign members with a unique ID.
How we will measure success
The app will capture standard metrics, such as downloads, installations/uninstallations, retention rate, daily /monthly active users, etc. That considered, success will be defined beyond capturing KPI’s, and measuring against industry standards. Success will be measured based on organizational goals. In this instance, the app provides a massive opportunity to target new audiences for Longwood Gardens and keep established customers coming back for more.
We hope you are willing to let us work with you to create the “extraordinary guest experience” that digital technology can bring to your visitors.
The BranchLab Team