The recent launch of the Apple Watch has certainly generated a lot of buzz, but also put the spotlight on of the most important forms of consumer engagement (which I addressed briefly in my last blog post): the engagement of convenience. Convenience is often underwritten in consumer experience, but when brands make the lives of their customers easier, they reap the rewards.
One of the best examples of finding success by delivering consumers convenience is Uber. Using Uber is a faster, much simpler option than calling for or hailing a cab. Users are oblivious to what they’re paying for each ride but they don’t care about the cost because the experience is so good. In fact, the bill is almost back-of-mind.
The benefit of apps like Uber and wearables like the Apple Watch are that they elevate the convenience factor. From a marketing perspective, these mobile offerings also enable deeper engagement that drive loyalty by delivering relevance and value to the user (not just discounts).
While there’s a convenience that is inherent in mobile, delivering this convenience certainly comes with its fair share of challenges. For starters, retailers and brands are hesitant to add another touch point right now to mix, especially as so many are still trying to figure out what their mobile strategy should be. And the Apple Watch and similar technologies are still in many ways out there in the wild, with everyone guessing whether or not they will work and consumers will embrace them.
Yet, I urge brands and retailers to re-examine mobile, viewing it not through the lens of commerce but rather of engagement and access. To really break through, you need to:
1. Deploy the right underlying technology: in order to provide a more seamless and convenient experience, first you need a platform that ties together all of your customer data across every touch point in the backend so you can get to really know your customers, their likes and their preferences. Then, you can you to take action by delivering content that is valuable and relevant to each customer.
2. Leverage mobile infrastructure: consumers today are rarely without their mobile devices, providing you with an extremely effective engagement channel. Taking advantage of mobile infrastructure from beacons to geolocation to Wi-Fi will enable you to communicate and interact with consumers more effectively. Uber relies on geolocation for both the customer and the driver, who both benefit from knowing the exact location of the other.
3. Know your individual customer to deliver more convenience: Tying mobile infrastructure into an underlying platform that helps you get to know each customer enables you to better understand how you can make life easier for your customers. You can, for example, know when they’re in-store and their motivation for being there. With this information, you can take action. If they’re there to pick up, have their items ready to go and allow them to by-pass any lines (because no one likes to wait). Or, engage with them by sending a relevant, real-time message to their phone or watch, whether it’s highlighting a new product that they might like or notifying them of a special that’s going on that relates to their previous purchase history. Remember, convenience without relevant content is just noise.
By focusing on mobile as a channel to communicate through versus one to conduct commerce through, brands and retailers can deliver high quality experiences, time savings and other conveniences to drive loyalty and ultimately sales.
Just like with Uber, where I can easily communicate with willing drivers who are close to where I am. If I travel somewhere, I don’t even think about a cab. Because the experience is so much better with Uber, I just get in a car and go.