tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/user-experience-and-usability Latest User Experience and Usability content from Econsultancy 2017-06-20T15:24:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69185 2017-06-20T15:24:00+01:00 2017-06-20T15:24:00+01:00 Low cost IoT will redefine the consumer purchase path Karl Havard <p>There's two main factors, which are driving this change:</p> <ul> <li>The cost of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors is dropping faster than predicted.</li> <li>The form factor that IoT sensors can take is now flexible and adaptable.</li> </ul> <h3>The cost</h3> <p>In 2014, Goldman Sachs researched the cost of IoT sensors to predict the level at which even the simplest of things would become connected. i.e. when the internet would tip the existing balance towards the 'Physical Web'.</p> <p>As you can see, three years ago they predicted the cost of a sensor would be around the $0.50 mark today; a modest drop from the actual sensor cost at the time the report was published. It's right to highlight that the cost does depend upon a number of sensor criteria, including battery life, chosen communications protocol, memory size, scale of production and what is being 'sensed' from location through movement, weight, light, sound and even air quality detection. </p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/6869/atlas_bjsmcfal_2x-blog-flyer.png" alt="Goldman Sachs Cost of IoT Sensor Forecast" width="470" height="264"></p> <p>But since this forecast, and like a lot of other forecasts, it has proven not to be as accurate as originally thought. Technology and the ability to produce such sensors has moved forward dramatically and we are now seeing the costs drop a lot quicker than expected.</p> <p>For the simplest of things, sensors can now be produced for &lt;$0.10 and this is dropping further. This is a price point that means even the most basic of 'things' can become connected. However, we must keep in mind that because technology now allows us to create smart products, we must ensure, from a customer experience (CX) perspective, they have to serve a purpose and offer value to the person using them.</p> <h3>Form factor</h3> <p>The other element to compliment the low cost is the physical form a sensor can now take. The restriction of rigid and chunky printed circuit boards has gone, and IoT sensors can now be printed on very thin, flexible and transparent substrate.</p> <p>Yes, printed; batteries, memory, comm's etc. Because of this and the low cost, we can now imagine (or soon, experience) a world where a simple label on a consumer product can become smart.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6901/printed_circuit_boards.jpg" alt="printed sensor" width="470" height="417"></p> <p><em>A printed sensor</em></p> <p>By the way, this is not some futurist talk and PowerPoint slide from a conference. This is based upon practical prototyping across a number of active projects from coffee cups, bottles, nappies, packaging....even bras! The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64723-10-implications-of-amazonfresh-and-amazon-dash/">Amazon Dash button</a> has become obsolete already (but Amazon knows this). However, as exciting (or not) as a connected thing sounds, the impact of this is far reaching, and will potentially catch many businesses on the back foot. This is not just about the 'physical'.</p> <h3>Key Considerations</h3> <p>The physical smart product or package is just the enabler. It records and transmits data, which, of course, needs storing and securing somewhere. Such data (and it's real-time) needs to serve a purpose to both the consumer and the business. It has to offer tangible benefit, easy to visualise, interact with and be integrated with other systems that support the connected consumer eco-system.</p> <p><strong>For the consumer</strong>, however, the value should offer one or more from the list below:</p> <ul> <li>Give people time back - remove unnecessary mundane tasks. why should I have to write lists or pick my favourites?</li> <li>Offer true convenience - make life easier. I no longer want to queue, I'd rather brands queue up to serve me.</li> <li>Ensure the control lies with the consumer - the ability to opt in and opt out. My data must be protected and I give the brand permission to use it to benefit me.</li> <li>Offer real personalisation - that is unique to each consumer. I'll give the brand the 15 minute delivery slot, and want my products tailored to my needs, on my terms.</li> </ul> <p>And this is where the <a title="ZMOT" href="https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-resources/2012-zmot-handbook/">Zero Moment of Truth</a>, <a title="McKinsey Loyalty Loop" href="http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/the-consumer-decision-journey">The Loyalty Loop</a> and the path to purchase will change. M2M (machine-to-machine) communications, will make it a seamless customer experience to repurchase. It <em>could</em> happen automatically. It is technically feasibly for IoT sensors to communicate with Amazon Alexa or Google Home, for automated 'add to shopping basket'.</p> <p><strong>For the consumer goods company and retailer</strong>, the implications are significant:</p> <ul> <li>Product sales to subscription services - is the business geared up to be able to serve the consumer in this way? I'll subscribe to beer, and it's the job of my chosen brand to keep my fridge stocked up.</li> <li>Supply chain and fulfilment - the data is now there to 'light up' the supply chain in real-time. The ability to manage this based upon consumer demand.</li> <li>Systems &amp; infrastructure - does the business have the necessary systems in place to manage the personal data effectively? Is this the time to migrate to the Cloud and dump those legacy, on premise systems?</li> <li>Cyber security &amp; GDPR - is the business ready for the legislation that kicks in in less than 12 months time? Is it geared up to cater for a cyber attack?</li> <li>Business design - existing operating models will need to change.</li> <li>People, culture &amp; expertise - does the business have the mindset, skills and environment to adapt and adopt to this change?</li> <li>Consumer research and product trials - this just got a whole lot easier and more accurate. Real-time, action based data on adoption and usage can inform development decisions and provide significant cost savings.</li> </ul> <p>The Law of Disruption shows that technology is the outright leader in driving change, which is then followed by social and business change. Not all technology has the subsequent knock on affect, however, in this instance, I think we will see its impact...and not too far into the future either.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/6889/law_of_disruption-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="The Law of Disruption" width="470" height="353"></p> <p><em><strong>For more on IoT, read:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/a-marketer-s-guide-to-the-internet-of-things/">A marketer's guide to the internet of things</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68878-10-examples-of-the-internet-of-things-in-healthcare/">10 examples of the internet of things in heathcare</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68612-how-the-internet-of-things-will-fundamentally-change-marketing/">How the internet of things will fundamentally change marketing</a></li> </ul> <p><em><strong>And if you're interested in talking all things customer experience, check out this year's <a href="https://goo.gl/nJMlTI">Festival of Marketing</a> in London.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:RoundtableEvent/880 2017-06-06T16:00:46+01:00 2017-06-06T16:00:46+01:00 Ecommerce User Experience <p>This roundtable discussion will give attendees the chance to share their key challenges, headaches, and success stories around ecommerce and user experience. It provides an opportunity to learn from industry peers, with the aim of providing inspiration for your own UX efforts.</p> <p>Talking points will largely be decided by attendees on the day, but could include:</p> <p>• UX is now a trendy term but how well does the c-suite understand human-centred design? Is there sponsorship at the right level?</p> <p>• Data driven marketing –Google is doing more to tie up online and offline behavior, is this changing your approach to targeting?</p> <p>• What is AI? From chatbots to personalization – where is AI being implemented and where is its future?</p> <p>• Approaches to user research and testing: What is best practice?</p> <p>• Who is getting it right? From content to delivery.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69143 2017-06-02T12:33:26+01:00 2017-06-02T12:33:26+01:00 10 intriguing digital marketing stats from this week Nikki Gilliland <h3>71% of Brits think voice will be used in daily tasks in 10 years</h3> <p>According a consumer survey by Wiraya and YouGov, 71% of consumers think voice will be used for one or more daily tasks by 2027, while 26% of Brits already interact with day-to-day technology using voice activation.</p> <p>Helen Mirren was voted the voice people would most want to hear on automated calls, closely followed by Ewan McGregor, and then Tom Hardy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6516/Voice.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="421"></p> <h3>C-Suite executives rank customer experience as top priority</h3> <p>Calabrio has <a href="http://learn.calabrio.com/dl-customer-experience-era-intl/" target="_blank">released a report</a> that reveals customer experience is now a top priority for US and UK business executives – ranked above sales and revenue as a primary concern for 2017.</p> <p>52% of senior leaders now view customer experience as the most important way of differentiating their brand. Further findings suggest it’s not that easy, however, with the biggest obstacles being achieving a single customer view and integrating customer data.</p> <p>29% of C-Suite execs are still unsure of the number of devices customers are using to complete a purchase, and only one in three believe that customers are connecting with brands using more than two devices.</p> <h3>Only half of consumers know how to block ads on mobile</h3> <p>Despite more than 80% of the people surveyed owning a mobile device, just 15% of them block ads on their mobile devices, compared to 68% blocking ads on their laptops.</p> <p>This is according to a <a href="http://insight.globalwebindex.net/mobile-ad-blocking-2017" target="_blank">GlobalWebIndex study</a>, which delved into the reasons why the US and EU are way behind Asia when it comes to the uptake of mobile ad blocking. </p> <p>Results show that users are unaware they can block ads on mobile devices, with just 48% of device owners currently aware of the possibility. It’s clear that many are still frustrated with online advertising, as one in three mobile users feel they see too many ads when browsing, and almost 50% have a desire to block all ads on their mobile devices.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6510/mobile_ad_blocking.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="420"></p> <h3>70% of audiences want social media companies to tackle fake news</h3> <p>Research by the7stars has revealed that just 20% of UK news audiences feel confident that the news they are reading is real, and 70% want social media companies to take more responsibility for tackling fake news.</p> <p>In a survey of 1,000 Brits, 45% said that it’s difficult to understand what is fake news and what isn’t. Just 7% said they felt Facebook and Twitter are doing enough to protect them from fake news.</p> <p>Only 10% of respondents said they trust news shared by friends on social media, with 45% saying they would not trust a shared news article.</p> <h3>Champions League engages more fans on social than FA Cup</h3> <p>Ahead of this year’s Champions League Final, Adobe has revealed how fans have been engaging with football's biggest competitions on social media.</p> <p>Taking into account over 27.8m mentions of the Champions League and FA Cup, stats show that the Champions League has been dominating, garnering over 22m social mentions – an average of 2.4m mentions a month. </p> <p>In contrast, the FA Cup generated just over 5.8m social mentions during its tournament phase, with an average of almost 900,000 mentions a month.</p> <p>This appears to be due to the Champions League’s international presence, with 84% of mentions coming from outside of the UK, compared to 63% coming from abroad for the FA Cup.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UCLfinal?src=hash">#UCLfinal</a> Festival in Cardiff Bay:</p> <p>Sunshine ✅<br>Floating pitch ✅<br>Ultimate Champions Match ✅</p> <p>Details: <a href="https://t.co/WPHOv0QOZb">https://t.co/WPHOv0QOZb</a> <a href="https://t.co/OnycoUM95S">pic.twitter.com/OnycoUM95S</a></p> — Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) <a href="https://twitter.com/ChampionsLeague/status/870292999967842304">June 1, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Biggest UK mortgage companies are delivering poor online experience</h3> <p>According to <a href="http://dock9.com/latest/press-release-uk-mortgage-giants-failing-customers-online-says-research" target="_blank">new research</a> by Dock9, three of the UK’s biggest mortgage providers are ranked worst in terms of online customer experience.</p> <p>In a study of the best and worst online experiences for 19 major mortgage intermediaries, high street and specialist lenders – Santander, Nationwide, and Natwest finished bottom of the pile. Barclays, Lloyds, and TSB were ranked top.</p> <p>Overall, it found 53% of companies are failing to design websites fully suited to mobile and tablet devices. 65% are only partially or not responsive at all, meaning customers have a much longer journey than necessary. </p> <h3>72% of marketers fail GDPR consent test </h3> <p>A test conducted by <a href="https://uk.mailjet.com/blog/guide/gdpr-research-report/" target="_blank">Mailjet</a> found that 72% of UK marketers either cannot answer, or incorrectly list the necessary conditions to meet GDPR requirements for ‘opt-in’ consent.</p> <p>With less than a year to go, just 17% of respondents have taken all of the recommended steps towards GDPR compliance. The reason could be that many marketers wrongly believe that the fine for non-compliance is €5.2m, when it is in fact €20m, or 4% of their global revenue.</p> <p>This is not the only area of confusion - 64% also assume GDPR means they must ensure individuals are able to opt-out easily, while 32% of UK marketing professionals believe they will be able to automate processing of location data without ‘opt-in consent’.</p> <p>For a handy breakdown of the GDPR, head on over to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69119-gdpr-needn-t-be-a-bombshell-for-customer-focused-marketers/" target="_blank">Ben's article</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6511/GDPR.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="394"></p> <h3>90% of UK consumers have unsubscribed from retail communications in the past year</h3> <p>New research by Engage Hub has revealed that 90% of UK consumers have unsubscribed from communications from retailers in the past 12 months, with 46% saying it is due to an onslaught of messages from brands.</p> <p>In a survey of over 1,500 consumers, one third of respondents said they were unhappy with the frequency of offers or updates they receive. 24% say they receive something at least once a day, while 15% say they receive even more.</p> <p>Alongside the frequency of communication - irrelevancy is also a problem. 24% of respondents said they have unsubscribed from a retailer due the messages being highly irrelevant to them.</p> <h3>Stock in UK supermarkets declines 5.7%</h3> <p>A study by <a href="https://www.iriworldwide.com/en-GB/insights/Publications/Launching-a-new-product" target="_blank">IRIR</a> has found a 5.7% decline in the amount of products UK supermarkets are stocking in stores. From February 2016 to February 2017, there was an average of 930 fewer products available to shoppers in their local supermarket.</p> <p>During the same period, there was a decline of 8.4% in new branded items, with sales of new products also down by 6.5%. </p> <p>As well as fewer branded products being launched, supermarkets are also struggling to gain sufficient distribution, with only one in every seven new products achieving more than 75% distribution across the major UK supermarkets.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6509/distribution.JPG" alt="" width="738" height="388"></p> <h3>Budgets for experiential marketing predicted to rise</h3> <p>According to <a href="https://www.freeman.com/news/press-releases/new-research-from-freeman-and-ssi-confirms-brand-experiences-matter-to-marketers-and-theyre-willing-to-pay-for-them" target="_blank">Freeman</a>, one in three global marketers expect to allocate up to half of their budget to experiential marketing in the next three years. </p> <p>In a survey of over 1,000 CMOs in the US, Europe, and Asia, 59% of respondents agree that brand experiences have the ability to create stronger relationships with audiences. As a result, 51% say they plan to spend between a fifth and a half of their budget on experiential in the next three years.</p> <p>Currently, 42% of marketers in Asia are using sensory interaction as a means of creating personalised experiences, compared to 28% in the US and just 13% in Europe. 31% of Asian companies are using virtual reality, compared to just 7%-9% elsewhere.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3008 2017-05-30T12:55:00+01:00 2017-05-30T12:55:00+01:00 Internet Statistics Compendium Econsultancy <p>Econsultancy’s <strong>Internet Statistics Compendium</strong> is a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media. </p> <p><strong>The compendium is available as 11 main reports (in addition to two sector-specific reports, B2B and Healthcare &amp; Pharma) across the following topics:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/advertising-media-statistics">Advertising</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/content-statistics">Content</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics">Customer Experience</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/web-analytics-statistics">Data and Analytics</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/demographics-technology-adoption">Demographics and Technology Adoption</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/ecommerce-statistics">Ecommerce</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/email-ecrm-statistics">Email and eCRM</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-statistics">Mobile</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/search-marketing-statistics">Search</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-statistics">Social</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/strategy-and-operations-statistics">Strategy and Operations</a></strong></li> </ul> <p>Updated monthly, each document is a comprehensive compilation of internet statistics and digital market research with data, facts, charts and figures. The reports have been collated from information available to the public, which we have aggregated together in one place to help you quickly find the internet statistics you need - a huge time-saver for presentations and reports.</p> <p>There are all sorts of internet statistics which you can slot into your next presentation, report or client pitch.</p> <p><strong>Sector-specific data and reports are also available:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B</a><br></strong></li> <li><strong><strong><a title="Financial Services and Insurance Internet Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/financial-services-and-insurance-internet-statistics-compendium/">Financial Services and Insurance</a></strong></strong></li> <li> <strong><a title="Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals Internet Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/healthcare-and-pharmaceuticals-internet-statistics-compendium/">Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals</a></strong><strong> </strong> </li> <li><strong><a title="Retail Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/retail-statistics-compendium/" target="_self">Retail</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a title="Travel Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/travel-statistics-compendium/" target="_self">Travel</a></strong></li> </ul> <p><strong>Regions covered in each document (where data is available) are:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Global</strong></li> <li><strong>UK</strong></li> <li><strong>North America</strong></li> <li><strong>Asia</strong></li> <li><strong>Australia and New Zealand</strong></li> <li><strong>Europe</strong></li> <li><strong>Latin America</strong></li> <li><strong>MENA</strong></li> </ul> <p>A sample of the Internet Statistics Compendium is available for free, with various statistics included and a full table of contents, to show you what you're missing.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69118 2017-05-30T12:02:00+01:00 2017-05-30T12:02:00+01:00 14 reasons businesses are failing at user-centred design Ben Davis <h3>The reality of UX and design</h3> <p>Through many conversations with marketing teams and UX professionals, I have seen common challenges for UX and design. See how many you recognise.</p> <h3><strong>1. No head of design</strong></h3> <p>Design should be equal partner with technology and business, and to do this it needs to have a body at the top table. Without a head of design reporting into the CEO, unless a company has a culture of defacto user advocacy, it is that much harder to organise in a way that promotes user-centred design.</p> <p>Even for companies that are not bringing a product to market, building effective services necessitates <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68503-what-is-design-thinking/">design thinking</a> – or the question of 'what do our customers need and desire?' GE's chief experience officer, Greg Petroff, summed up this triangle of design, tech and business <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/GrowConf/2-greg-petroff">in 2013</a> in the chart below.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1634/design_slide.png" alt="design tech business at GE" width="500"></p> <h3><strong>2. No understanding of UX across the business or of what roles are needed</strong></h3> <p>The debate about UX and design is similar to the broader debate about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">digital transformation</a>. There is still a lack of understanding across many businesses, often at c-suite level, about what good UX entails.</p> <p>How many CEOs and CFOs understand what service design is, and what resources proper user research requires? How many CEOs and CFOs understand the disadvantages of waterfall project management, the complexity of multichannel customer journeys, and the desire of consumers for transparency and control?</p> <h3><strong>3. No involvement of UX or design professionals at project conception</strong></h3> <p>A familiar refrain from many UX specialists and designers. The brief is passed down to them after being created by someone perhaps outside of the digital team and is consequently not fit for purpose. The job of UX specialists is then to make the best of a fudge.</p> <p>Getting UX and design involved at the project brief stage, whether it be a marketing campaign or new product creation, will help to mitigate for ill-thought out user needs.</p> <h3><strong>4. UX and design teams are trying to work in an agile manner, when the rest of the business is working waterfall</strong></h3> <p>Another problem of no sponsorship for design rears its head in the differences in ways of working between design teams and the rest of the organisation. When UX and design teams are trying to adopt agile methodology in order to prototype, test and iterate, this puts them at odds with development teams working with heavily detailed briefs and waterfall methodology. </p> <p>Design teams are therefore forced to compromise on their principles. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6407/wfall.jpg" alt="waterfall" width="615"></p> <h3>5. Too much focus on delivery, which means UX teams do not have the proper time to do their jobs</h3> <p>A consequence of waterfall perhaps, or simply misunderstanding of the UX function – businesses are often focused on delivery to the detriment of user-centred design.</p> <h3>6. A siloed digital team, which sits separately and often downstream from marketing</h3> <p>A common challenge of digital transformation is the siloed digital team, sitting separately from marketing, and this is a familiar refrain amongst UX and design teams.</p> <p>The effect of a siloed team is disjointed processes and digital services seen as an afterthought or follow-on, rather than an integral part of the whole.</p> <h3>7. Design is seen as a service</h3> <p>Far too often the extent of UX and design in a digital context is 2-5 specialists employed within the digital team. Effectively these specialists represent UX and design as a service.</p> <p>When design is seen as a service, it is used ad-hoc and off the shelf, in a way that is antithetical to the concept of user-centred design.</p> <p><a href="http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/resources/report/leading-business-design">The Design Council is clear</a> in its description of three levels of design within the organisation. The most immature is 'design as a service', next is <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67420-what-is-service-design-who-uses-it/">service design</a> teams that are equal with marketing and contribute from the beginning of product or service design, and the holy grail is strategic design, where design shapes business strategy.</p> <h3>8. Old design guidelines, made for print, with little or no consistency</h3> <p>How often have you seen this? Design guidelines, originally shaped for print, not updated properly, not adopted properly, and with colleagues wondering how design consistency can be achieved.</p> <p>It is no coincidence that many organisations with designers at the top table also have public design guidelines. Aviva and Co-op are cases in point.</p> <p>Just look at the<a href="http://coop-design-manual.herokuapp.com/"> Co-op design manual</a> and you'll find design principles, content guidelines, assets, prototyping kits, pattern libraries, accessibility standards, supported devices, examples, and archived versions of the manual.</p> <h3>9. Broken user journeys that are well known but not fixed</h3> <p>A consequence more than a reason, but something worth mentioning. Broken user experiences and customer journeys are fairly common and serve as an indictment of the understanding of UX within business.</p> <p>Where they exist, they may do so for some time as waterfall processes preclude teams from iterating.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6410/heath.png" alt="heath robinson" width="400"></p> <p><em>Too many journeys resemble a Heath Robinson</em></p> <h3>10. Agencies kowtow to unknowledgable clients</h3> <p>More agencies need to stand up to clients and resist taking on briefs that fail to meet user needs. </p> <h3>11. Stakeholders only trust stats or first-hand experience</h3> <p>Marketers and UX professionals often bemoan the difficulty of convincing stakeholders of the validity of their arguments. This struggle shows a lack of trust in user design, which comes from a lack of education, but also a focus on numbers rather than a focus on first-hand insight.</p> <p>Where managers may be used to looking at analytics and reports, they need to see user research first hand and understand the impact of design decisions on the user journey. </p> <h3>12. A lack of workforce diversity</h3> <p>Design works best with a diverse team in terms of age, ethnicity, background and gender. Where organisations are failing to recruit a diverse workforce, insight into user needs is reduced.</p> <h3>13. UX teams are not working together across the business</h3> <p>Again a product of having no design leadership. UX professionals may work separately in separate parts of the business, but to no central purpose. This means they are not particularly consistent or efficient. The next step for these organisations should perhaps be some consolidated centre of design (the internal consultancy). </p> <h3>14. Managers want shiny new things</h3> <p>We've all been there when a manager decides they want <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68732-what-makes-a-good-chatbot-ux/">a chatbot</a>, or an Alexa skill, or animation on the website when it is either not desired by users, not needed, or not a business priority.</p> <p>This is a yet another symptom of lack of education or understanding of the process of human-centred design.</p> <h3>A reminder that design is a competitive advantage</h3> <p>The chart below from the Design Management Institute (DMI) shows how design-centric organisations have prospered over a period in which digital technology has matured.</p> <p>Though the data here only runs to 2013, and one might argue that the definition of 'design-centric' includes some ambiguity (it is based on a set of six criteria from the DMI), the chart is nevertheless compelling.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1336/dmi.jpg" alt="design-centric success" width="615"></p> <p>A layman can point to changes in several industries that show how human-centred design is coming to the fore. For some less competitive sectors, this change is more recent than in others. </p> <ul> <li>Government is having to bring lots of service online, with the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68795-uk-government-publishes-digital-transformation-strategy-2017-2020/">UK's Government Digital Service</a> a particularly fine example of digital transformation and efficient service design.</li> <li>Utilities companies are moving comms, onboarding and billing online, representing a challenge for organisations so focused on CRM and direct mail.</li> <li>Telcos have had to increase transparency and provide users with all their account information at the click of a button.</li> <li>Professional services have moved from a business that revolved around reputations and referred business (face to face), to one that relies on information architecture and search. </li> </ul> <p>And even in seemingly more innovative sectors, the challenges for incumbents keep coming. Fintech sets new standards for banking, pureplays do so for multichannel retailers, and online-only services have already massively changed travel and real estate. The list goes on.</p> <p>User-centred design has been the catalyst for these changes, as consumers demand transparency, control, ease, security, and even fun. As digital becomes less of a relevant word over the next decade, design will still stand proud as a differentiator.</p> <p><em><strong>UX and design training from Econsultancy:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/usability-user-experience/">Usability and User Experience</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/lean-ux-and-agile-design/">Lean UX and Agile Design</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69101 2017-05-23T14:42:00+01:00 2017-05-23T14:42:00+01:00 Why increasingly efficient UX might not always be a good thing Nick Hammond <p>"Efficiency is at the heart of progress. Yet just as too much of a good thing (travel, say) can yield a bad (congestion), so excessive ease in transactions can generate costs, known in the jargon as a “facile externality”, such that less efficiency would actually be more efficient. In academic circles…. the notion is well established that innovations which eliminate too much hassle could do society harm."</p> <p>The article continues, stating that "a few companies have recognised the benefits of restoring friction. Research into “the Ikea effect”, named in honour of those happy hours spent with an Allen key, a Billy bookcase and a rising hatred of Sweden, shows that people put extra value on things when they devote their own labour to them."</p> <p>It is important to mention at this point, that the above Economist article came out on 1st April and the mention of the UN’s “Don’t Nudge—Tell” office (DoNuT) rather gave the game away, with regards to the article’s seriousness. Although the idea of a tax on efficiency is good fun and makes for a great April Fool, this piece got me thinking. I see a grain of truth here, whether intended or not, and you will see below examples that support this view. </p> <p>In the pursuit of efficiency, the purchasing process is being made progressively easier. Amazon’s 1-click ordering makes it easier for people to buy stuff.  But not easy enough for some organisations - witness the advent of ‘zero-click’ ordering. Dominos have pioneered <a href="https://www.dominos.com.au/inside-dominos/technology/zeroclick" target="_blank">“zero-click” pizza-buying</a>, simply open the app and, after ten seconds, it automatically places a pre-set order. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6350/zero_click.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="347"></p> <p>Dangerously for brands, a focus on efficiency threatens to short circuit the importance of branding, and brand values, with the customer. The nature of speed is utilitarian and is therefore unreliable and indefensible as a brand USP. Fine if you are the fastest but not so good if you get overtaken. </p> <p>Let’s consider how overt speed, efficiency and ease of access, can be a problem within specific categories.</p> <h4>Content distribution</h4> <p>As content providers increasingly distribute via major technology platforms, the value of the brand and the content becomes reduced. Stories are taken out of context, often edited down and sometimes re-distributed unbranded. Established media brands may have few other options to reach their audience, but it does their brand equity no good in the long term. </p> <h4>Location based taxi Apps</h4> <p>On a recent trip to Austin, despite the lack of Uber in the city, I found there were five or six different location based taxi apps to choose from. The differences between them were marginal, apart from the odd technical glitch, and it was easy to register and swap between services. In this instance, the efficiency of the delivery mechanisms and the resultant commoditisation of the products, worked against the opportunity for brand differentiation.</p> <h4>Online food order and delivery services</h4> <p>As with the taxi apps, brands such as Deliveroo, Just Eat and HungryHouse are similar in terms of product and delivery. Therefore, a major consideration becomes that of velocity – who can deliver sustenance the fastest.</p> <p>To counter this, companies like these are seeking to build personalities in order to forge connections with consumers. As with soft drinks, beer and online betting, there is little differentiation in this market so the relative importance of brand equity becomes greater.</p> <h3>Positive friction</h3> <p>On the other side of the coin, there are instances where deliberate friction can have a positive effect. A good example in the banking sector is Monzo. Monzo's ‘<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68756-prudent-ux-for-banking-monzo-designs-positive-friction/" target="_blank">positive friction</a>’ design approach includes options such as late-night spending reviews, and spending and top-up limits. </p> <p>In the healthcare category, an example of positive friction is the redesign of Tylenol (pain reliever) pill packaging. By switching from bottles to blister packaging, Tylenol related suicides declined 43%, with accidental poisonings significantly shrinking too. The reason for this was simple, in the original bottle packaging, a person could open the cap and ingest more than enough pills to overdose in one swift movement.</p> <p>In the new blister packaging, by decreasing the number of pills in the pack and forcing the person to individually pop each one out of its casing, enough minor friction was created to drastically bring down suicide numbers. This was all achieved without hindering the experience for those using the pills for medical reasons.</p> <p>Positive friction is being utilised across a range of business categories and environments. Even the most transactional businesses, for example travel and ticketing sites, employ techniques to encourage users to stay connected longer. Ticket booking sites such as Viagogo engineer deliberately delayed loading pages (artificial friction) to indicate the ‘popularity’ of an event and increase anticipation, pressure to purchase. Airlines encourage app downloads, which can then be used to surface additional information, such as flight updates or upcoming travel offers.</p> <p>Major digital channels encourage users to stay on their sites as long as possible. Facebook could make the process of posting quicker, but that would do them no favours as they encourage longer dwell time for users to interact with advertising.</p> <h3>In the workplace</h3> <p>Positive friction is increasingly used in workplace design to encourage interaction and the modern equivalent of the ‘water cooler moment’. Google’s latest London offices are a good example. This <a href="http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/does-your-office-create-positive-friction-8953942.html" target="_blank">from The Evening Standard</a>:</p> <p>‘Google’s sparkling new £1 billion headquarters in King’s Cross will have a climbing wall, rooftop pool and indoor football pitch but it’s short of one thing — offices. This is because Google wants to encourage something called positive friction — that’s bumping into your colleagues, but not the ones you know. Think Big Bang theory for working. Great things come from collisions.’ </p> <h3>Bots and automation</h3> <p>On the negative side, technology is having an effect as well. Technology is bringing greater efficiency which, alongside the introduction of automation and bots in the decision-making process, raises serious ethical questions.</p> <p>In a recent article <a href="http://www.brandlearning.com/views-ideas/marketing-capability/the-future-and-eternal-truth-of-marketing-trust/" target="_blank">on trust</a>, I discussed the relationship between brand and consumer, and the transparency with which it is conducted, which risks being further confused by the growing influence of bots. ‘Choice architecture’ is changing with the rise of automation, robotics and AI. Bots will refine choices presented, and even make choices on behalf of consumers. Some argue that the intervention of bots will mean that matters of ethics, which are nuanced and not binary decisions, will get side-lined.</p> <p>'In any event, the reality is that this will place even more responsibility on the brand to uphold ethics. Bots may ignore these in the moment of choice, but ultimately, any brand that cannot meet the requirement for transparent ethics, will risk a consumer backlash.’  </p> <p>Venturebeat.com strikes <a href="https://venturebeat.com/2017/04/03/3-challenges-of-developing-bots-for-immersive-environments/" target="_blank">a more serious note</a> on the negative effects of efficiency than The Economist, quoting Airbnb’s Steve Selzer and his view that immediacy and the absence of friction are creating a less tolerant, less self-aware world. 'This is why designers of intelligent, immersive experiences need to build in meaningful friction, encouraging reflection and awareness of the actions themselves as well as their consequences.'</p> <p>A separate article from Chatbots Magazine does hint at an upside to chatbots though, saying that <a href="https://chatbotsmagazine.com/humans-are-saying-thanks-to-bots-why-i-believe-this-peculiar-interaction-is-important-ac5066481e57" target="_blank">people seem to say 'thank you'</a>, although there is no logical reaason to do so, which may mean some technology is promoting good behaviour.</p> <h3>Virtual realities</h3> <p>The advent of other realities, augmented and virtual, in tandem with reduced friction, may also cause problems. This also from Venturebeat – ‘…reflection is even more important in immersive environments, where you don’t so much “watch” or “use” experiences as really “live” through them. VR experiences are perceived by the brain as actually happening to the user, so their transformative potential — toward self-development or rapture — is quite powerful.’</p> <p>For brands, the question of how to provide the right amount of friction to unlock reflection but not to hamper experience is critical in building a world that, in addition to doing things, thinks about what it is doing.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69022 2017-05-04T09:57:00+01:00 2017-05-04T09:57:00+01:00 Five fintech websites with crystal clear value propositions Ben Davis <p>So, when you look at the website of a digital-only bank, there is usually a very clear value proposition, with little obfuscation and jargon, one main message and no complex muddle of products.</p> <p>I've rounded up five financial services websites with crystal clear value propositions, to see what incumbents can learn.</p> <h3>1. N26</h3> <p>In case the homepage pictured below leaves you in any doubt, N26 is a mobile bank. The tagline, "Run your entire financial life from your phone", is about as clear as it gets, and N26 makes sure that the calls-to-action on the page ('open bank account') emphasise the ease with which consumers can sign up.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5711/n26_mobile.jpg" alt="n26" width="615" height="317"></p> <p>The straightforward language is continued on the bank account product page. "You'll never have to visit a bank again" – this takes what for some consumers is a negative of online banks (lack of branches) and spins it as a positive for the more mobile-savvy consumer who never wants to stand in a queue.</p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5712/n26_one_account.jpg" alt="n26 " width="615" height="316"></p> <p>N26's homepage is matter of fact in stating the benefits of its accounts. There's little fluffy copy - "Open an account in under 8 minutes, withdraw from any ATM....get realtime push notifications with every transaction."</p> <p>Note that for all of the companies included on this list, images of the mobile interface are a vital part of marketing to their potential consumers. The interface is the product, just as much as the pricing details. Note, too, the lack of lifestyle images of smiling families that one typically sees on incumbent bank websites (<a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5740/barclays.jpg">here's an image of the Barclays homepage</a> above the fold at time of writing). Objects are captured to show the bank's place within a busy lifestyle (sun hat, passport, keys), but it is the product that inspires trust, not a persona.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5729/n26_features.jpg" alt="n26" width="615" height="335"></p> <p>The '8-minute' proposition is rammed home again when the user clicks to open an account, a nice touch to chivvy the user along.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5728/n26_signup.jpg" alt="n26" width="600" height="185"></p> <h3>2. Trov</h3> <p>Trov offers on-demand insurance. Here's an instance where images of people are appropriate, with the guitar-playing beach bum a strong indication that this insurance product is not as stuffy as all the others, and befits a roaming lifestyle.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5730/trov.jpg" alt="trov" width="615" height="336"></p> <p>Illustrations are used effectively. The message format is second nature to younger demographics and its inclusion here is a powerful indicator of a product that works on their terms.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5699/trov_claims.jpg" alt="trov website" width="300"></p> <p>Clicking the 'How it works' button in the top menu gives a very simple light box which demonstrates key features of the app. Once again, this is a very obvious example of a company selling the experience over and above its pricing.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5649/trov_slide_2.jpg" alt="trov" width="600"> </p> <h3>3. Acorns</h3> <p>Acorns is a micro-investment platform. The website is particularly good at communicating what the app does. That starts with some confident copywriting – 'Automatically invest life's spare change', followed by the assertion that 'anyone can grow wealth'.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5701/acorn_life_spare_change.jpg" alt="acorn" width="615" height="339"></p> <p>Acorns is very good at explaining how the app works, breaking the process down into three steps. The screenshot below shows the advantage that such focused apps enjoy over competition that provides multiple bespoke services – Acorns is able to distill down its proposition. Clarity is one step away from transparency, giving the consumer confidence. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5702/acorns_connect.jpg" alt="investing" width="615" height="342"></p> <p>Security is one marketing message that new fintech players have to convey, where incumbents can perhaps rely on their reputation as safe places for your money. Acorns' website addresses this issue, stating its 'serious security' credentials, including its membership of the SIPC.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5703/acorns_security.jpg" alt="security acorn" width="615" height="327"></p> <p>The $1/month pricing is attractive, offering little barrier to virgin investors, and the Acorns website lists exactly what such a modest fee gets you.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5704/acorns__1.jpg" alt="acorn" width="615" height="334"></p> <p>Lastly, I was impressed by the educational content on the Acorns website, designed to make sure its target customers do not feel out of their depth. There's a particularly good <a href="https://youtu.be/zWftVEaTNJg">explainer video</a> (clickable, too) and an FAQ-style section with some very simple questions answered, such as 'what is an ETF?'</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5700/what_acorns.jpg" alt="acorns content for beginners" width="450"> </p> <h3>4. ClearScore</h3> <p>ClearScore is one fintech company that is synonymous with clarity and great UX. Its homepage is probably the best and clearest value proposition in the sector.</p> <p>ClearScore uses the language of enfranchisement – 'your credit score <em><strong>should</strong></em> be free'. And powerfully declares 'Just free. Forever'. This proposition had a big effect on the competition, which followed suit in offering a free score.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5742/clearscore_home.jpg" alt="clearscore" width="615" height="307"></p> <p>Compare ClearScore to incumbent Experian, which looks pretty similar but notably includes much more information to try to assert its trustworthiness and functionality. ClearScore lives up to its name with a website that appears to exist simply to show the consumer their credit score, which is exactly what they want.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5743/experian.jpg" alt="experian" width="615" height="339"></p> <p>ClearScore even dares to declare its credit report beautiful. Again, the company is appealing to the part of the consumer that is fed up with wading through financial guff.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5647/clearscore_beautiful.jpg" alt="clearscore" width="800" height="392"></p> <p>The brand tries to be as transparent as possible when it comes to data, spam and risk-free score checking. These values are important to consumers who don't want their score or their inbox to be compromised simply because they are seeking information in order to improve their situation.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5646/clearscore_safe_hands.jpg" alt="clearscore" width="800" height="314"></p> <p>Testimonials offer further assurance.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5725/clearscore_testimonial.jpg" alt="clearscore" width="615" height="325"></p> <h3>5. Stash</h3> <p>Stash is another investment platform, like Acorns, which promotes small investments and low fees. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5723/stash_confidence.jpg" alt="stash" width="615" height="225"></p> <p>Stash uses similar messaging to Acorns but has a bit more emphasis on empowerment, rather than the ease/low risk which Acorns promotes. Stash appeals to a 'new generation' of investors and talks about its 'mission' to give everyone access to financial opportunities.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5706/stash_nw_gen.jpg" alt="new gen stash" width="615" height="333"></p> <p>Furthermore, Stash promotes investment portfolios that mean something to the investor.</p> <p>The 'invest in what matters' line is backed up with visuals that represent a range of ETFs, each with their own snappy title (see 'delicious dividends' further below).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5707/stash_what_matters.jpg" alt="stash" width="615" height="338"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5710/stash_port_2.jpg" alt="stash etf" width="615" height="318"></p> <p>An investment calculator with a slider helps small investors to project the success of their funds over the next 20 years – a powerful motivator to start today. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5708/stash_calc.jpg" alt="stash calc" width="615" height="311"> </p> <h3>In summary...</h3> <p>There are some obvious tropes used by these websites, each of which boils down to a focus on UX and transparency. Bold copywriting without too much detail, beautiful shots of the app interface, and calls-to-action to start today are all common place. </p> <p>It's not hard to see how, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68981-could-established-financial-services-firms-lose-a-quarter-of-their-revenue-to-fintechs/">according to a new study</a> conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, established financial services firms could lose 24% of their revenue to fintechs in the next three to five years. As my colleague <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68981-could-established-financial-services-firms-lose-a-quarter-of-their-revenue-to-fintechs/">Patricio Robles points out</a>, fintech startups 'largely don't have to worry about large legacy systems, and their priorities aren't pulled in a million different directions because they don't have a million different lines of business.' This is evident on their websites.</p> <p>Incumbents are fighting back though, with mobile functionality and online services given more elbow room on the homepages of big banks, for instance. As <a href="https://thefinancialbrand.com/64990/digital-banking-fintech-challenger-growth-trends/">reported by The Financial Brand</a>, the incumbents are still in a very good position considering the 'stickiness' of customers in financial services, particularly banking.</p> <blockquote> <p>Challenger banks in the UK face an uninspiring average annual population growth rate (less than 1% over the last five years), and despite efforts to simplify the switching process, the Current Account Switch Service program has seen only 3 million accounts change hands since inception, roughly just 1.1% per year.</p> </blockquote> <p>One thing is for sure, though, those that do switch to new banks, insurers and the like can be fiercely loyal to those companies they see as tech and customer service pioneers. <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68866-monzo-outage-is-it-possible-to-fail-in-a-good-way/">The 2017 Monzo outage</a> proved that even in the face of failure, honesty and simplicity are strong brand characteristics.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69050 2017-05-03T14:20:46+01:00 2017-05-03T14:20:46+01:00 How fintech brokerage firm Robinhood built a billion dollar business Patricio Robles <h3>Target young investors with a mobile-first (and still mobile-only) offering</h3> <p>Robinhood launched with an iOS app. It has since added an Android app, but does not offer a web-based trading platform. And compared to the apps offered by other brokerage firms, the interfaces of the Robinhood apps are very, very simple.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5841/robinhood2.png" alt="" width="250"></p> <p>Some early critics of the company questioned this, as older and more sophisticated investors are more likely to demand that their brokerage firms provide them with advanced trading tools across desktop and mobile devices.</p> <p>But Robinhood isn't targeting these investors, at least not yet. Instead, the company bet on a market that many brokerages have shunned: young investors.</p> <h3>Lower the price of trading...to $0</h3> <p>While discount brokerages have been around for years and large brokerages have significantly reduced their fees for trading, Robinhood has lured customers with trading fees that are hard to beat: the upstart brokerage firm doesn't charge its customers fees to buy stock, and only passes on to them nominal fees levied by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority when they sell shares.</p> <p>Instead of charging customers for their trades, Robinhood earns revenue from broker-dealers, who offer it rebates for directing trades to them. Broker-dealers offer these rebates to other brokerages, but Robinhood decided that instead of treating this revenue as icing on the cake of trading fees, it would treat this revenue as its cake. </p> <p>This is the origin of the name Robinhood. As the company explains on its website, "electronic trading firms pay effectively nothing to place trades on the market. On the other hand, everyday investors were taxed up to $10 per trade. [Robinhood founders Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt] realized it was time to bring this advantage to everyone."</p> <h3>Offer additional features through a subscription</h3> <p>Cleverly, Robinhood now also makes money by selling a Gold subscription, which allows customers to borrow up to double the dollar value of their account to trade on margin, access pre and after-hours trading, avoid the company's three-day deposit waiting period, and access proceeds from a stock sale immediately.</p> <p>The subscription fee for Robinhood Gold is based on the value of a customer's account, and ranges from $6/month to $200/month.</p> <p>Other brokerages commonly offer all their customers access to features only available to Robinhood customers who purchase a Gold subscription at no additional cost, but given that many young investors just starting out won't need these features, and those that do are probably comfortable with the idea of paying for additional features through a subscription service, launching a brokerage subscription service made perfect sense for Robinhood.</p> <h3>Is it built to last?</h3> <p>Despite Robinhood's ability to grow an upstart financial services firm like an internet company, questions remain about its long-term prospects. Stock markets in the US have experienced one of the longest bull market runs ever after rebounding from steep losses in the Great Recession of 2008. They currently sit at near all-time highs. That has brought retail investors, including the young retail investors Robinhood is targeting, into the market. But there's an old saying, "everybody's a genius in a bull market."</p> <p>A comment from Robinhood co-founder Bhatt is certainly eye opening. "What we're saying is if you just start investing in stocks you've heard of, you'll be outperforming cash, or what you'd be doing with that money, like spending it on Amazon, on Netflix, on cat socks," he <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/26/robincorn/">told TechCrunch</a>.</p> <p>But the notion that "investing in stocks you've heard of" is a sure-fire money-maker is only bound to support critics' arguments that the stock markets are in a bubble and unsustainable. If and when a significant downturn occurs, Robinhood's fortunes could change drastically, especially since it targets younger users who likely have less experience and lower account balances. To boot, those investors appear to be <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/the-top-stocks-millennials-are-buying-robinhood-data-2017-4">heavily concentrated in tech stocks</a>.</p> <p>A glimpse of what could happen came on Tuesday when shares of chipmaker AMD, the most popular stock among millennial investors on Robinhood, <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/millennial-investors-are-getting-smoked-on-amd-2017-5">fell nearly 25%</a> after the company revealed that it expects its second-quarter gross margins to decrease, spooking the market. </p> <p>There are also questions about Robinhood's Gold subscription. One of its biggest features – margin trading – is risky and critics <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2017/0123/Before-using-investment-apps-consider-these-drawbacks">suggest</a> that by encouraging young investors who are more likely to be using Robinhood to learn the ropes to trade on margin, Robinhood is inviting disaster because, for example, those investors might not understand the implications of margin calls, which could quickly wipe out their accounts.</p> <p>For now, however, Robinhood is proving that even in competitive, commoditized markets like brokerage services, fintech upstarts are capable of taking business away from incumbents and expanding the pie by bringing new customers into financial services markets that they haven't exactly been welcomed into previously. And in Robinhood's case, investors believe the value of that exceeds $1bn.</p> <p><em><strong>For more on this topic, see Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/2017-digital-trends-in-financial-services-and-insurance/">2017 Digital Trends in Financial Services and Insurance Report</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69051 2017-05-03T14:17:53+01:00 2017-05-03T14:17:53+01:00 Will Amazon's Echo Look help grow the market for voice-based intelligent personal assistants? Patricio Robles <p>Owners can also feed the photos they take to Style Check, an Amazon service that offers up fashion recommendations. Using machine-learning technology and human feedback, Style Check compares two photos and lets an individual know which one has the better outfit.</p> <p>According to Amazon, Style Check takes into consideration "fit, color, styling, seasons and current trends".</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/5843/eh-kk-image-574x602-2x._cb529298494_-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="493"></p> <p>The Echo Look's camera is depth-sensing and the device features LED lighting. Its hardware adds computer vision-based background blur.</p> <p>But the Echo Look is more than a camera. As its name suggests, the Echo Look is, like Amazon's Echo and Echo Dot devices, a voice-controlled device that integrates all of the capabilities of Amazon's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68786-amazon-alexa-brands-must-be-careful-before-rushing-in/">Alexa intelligent personal assistant</a>. </p> <h3>Will privacy concerns doom the Echo Look's prospects? </h3> <p>Many articles about the Echo Look point out the privacy implications of the device. The presence of a camera is an obvious source of concern as webcams on laptops have been hijacked and used to secretly make recordings. And the fact that the photos users take with the Echo Look will be uploaded to Amazon's cloud only adds to the concern.</p> <p>But if the growth of speaker devices like the Echo is any indication (one report estimates that sales through such devices <a href="http://www.networkworld.com/article/3127729/home-tech/amazon-echo-and-its-competitors-will-be-a-21-billion-market-by-2020.html">will hit $2.1bn</a> within the next four years), it seems that large numbers of consumers are willing to live with the privacy risks if they perceive that the value they are receiving in return outweighs those privacy risks.</p> <h3>What is Amazon really up to?</h3> <p>Some observers are scratching their heads at the Echo Look given its fashion focus. But Amazon's interest in fashion isn't really hard to understand. While Amazon has its hands in just about every nook and cranny of the retail market, apparel is a multi-trillion dollar business. The global market for womenswear alone is worth over a half a trillion dollars annually.</p> <p>If Look takes off, it could become a source of valuable data that Amazon can use to further fuel its progress in apparel markets. As TechCrunch's Natasha Lomas pointed out, even a decade ago, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/29/how-echo-look-could-feed-amazons-big-data-fueled-fashion-ambitions/">observed</a>, "In order to be a $200bn company we've got to learn how to sell clothes and food."</p> <p>Amazon appears to be well on its way to figuring out how to sell clothes and has been investing heavily in apparel. In fact, according to research firm Cowen Company, Amazon now has a third more apparel buyers than Target, and slightly more than Walmart. The online retail giant has opened its own fashion photography studios and extended <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67769-the-rise-of-amazon-s-private-labels-shows-the-perils-of-not-owning-your-data-customers/">its private label efforts</a> into <a href="http://wwd.com/business-news/retail/amazon-quietly-rolls-out-private-label-fashions-10364187/">fashion</a>.</p> <p>By Cowen Company's estimates, these investments will help Amazon capture 14% of the US apparel market by 2020, <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-20/cowen-amazon-will-be-the-number-one-u-s-clothing-retailer-very-soon">making it the largest domestic apparel retailer</a>.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, Amazon says that Echo Look "helps you discover new brands and styles inspired by your lookbook," indicating that Amazon will be putting to immediate use the data it collects through Echo Look devices to make personalized recommendations that can drive apparel sales.</p> <p>But Amazon Echo Look isn't just about Amazon's efforts to dominate fashion retail. Taking a step back, the Echo Look is the type of offering that could help Amazon convince even more consumers to put voice-based intelligent assistant devices into their homes. </p> <p>While voice-based devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home are gaining traction, there are obviously still large segments of the consumer population that don't yet see enough value in these devices so as to be compelled to buy them. By bringing its voice interface Alexa to consumers through a fashion-focused device, Amazon has arguably created a Trojan horse, as consumers who purchase the Echo Look for the fashion-centric functionality can be introduced to all of the benefits of Alexa. </p> <p>That makes the Look a win-win for Amazon and highlights how other companies could develop their own Trojan horses to bring their intelligent personal assistants to a broader market. </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69037 2017-05-02T14:22:35+01:00 2017-05-02T14:22:35+01:00 Four digital commerce lessons from fashion retailer Bonobos Bart Mroz <p dir="ltr">Many upstart ecommerce brands have great products and great ideas. But winning market share is no walk in the park. To win in the world of ecommerce, digital execution has to be flawless, and there has to be something distinctive that keeps customers coming back to buy.</p> <p dir="ltr">The site’s user interface is probably the top make-or-break factor, but there are other keys to success as well. </p> <p dir="ltr">One young brand that has impressed me since its debut a few years ago is Bonobos, a men’s apparel brand that has grown from zero to $100m of revenue in just one decade. Since it started back in 2007, Bonobos has been doing a lot of things right and pioneering strategies that have proven to be effective.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">1. Design product pages strategically</h3> <p dir="ltr">Each product page on Bonobos' website has a clean, elegant design – on both desktop and mobile versions. With <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-25/smartphones-overtake-computers-as-top-e-commerce-traffic-source">45%</a> of ecommerce traffic now taking place through mobile, it’s non-negotiable to design product pages to be mobile-friendly.</p> <p dir="ltr">Each pair of pants is professionally photographed, and, even on a small screen, Bonobos has made it easy to navigate and toggle between different colors. The product info is prominently displayed, with links to a fit guide and FAQs nearby.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5805/bonobos_homepage.png" alt="" width="700" height="414"></p> <p dir="ltr">When the customer is ready to buy, the website allows the customer to enter shipping and billing information all on the same page, meaning they can complete a purchase in just a couple clicks. </p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5806/bonobos_mobile_site.jpg" alt="" width="200">  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5807/bonobos_mobile_site_2.jpg" alt="" width="200"></p> <p dir="ltr">This is important, because many ecommerce websites require that same information to be entered over the course of multiple different page loads, making it more likely that the customer will abandon the cart and the company will lose the sale.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">2. Play to your strengths and do one thing really well</h3> <p dir="ltr">Bonobos got its start because one of the founders, Brian Spaley, had a knack for tailoring men’s pants and creating a comfortable waistline. The concept was unique, and it ended up being the company’s main value proposition.</p> <p dir="ltr">The takeaway for aspiring ecommerce brands is that it pays to start by doing one thing really well.</p> <p dir="ltr">Today, Bonobos sells all sorts of men’s apparel, including shirts, shoes, ties, jackets, and more. But if it had started producing all of that back in 2007, the company might never have taken off like it did. Bonobos did one thing really well and built a brand around it. That simplicity informs the whole brand, and it even helps simplify customer service too.</p> <p dir="ltr">Besides, whenever you are ready to scale your product offering, it’s a lot easier to convince people to buy your shirt when they’re already loyal customers of your pants. Invest early in creating a handful of flagship products that will attract and retain a cult-like following. You can always build out from there.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">3. Leverage customer service as an opportunity for customer experience </h3> <p dir="ltr">Bonobos has also excelled in the area of customer experience, specifically customer service. It’s rooted in an entirely different philosophy about what customer service can achieve for the company.</p> <p dir="ltr">Whenever a customer has an issue with a Bonobos order, there’s no 1-800 number that sends customer calls to a contracted offshore call center where agents might not even be familiar with the product.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rather, customers interact through phone, email, or even chat with highly knowledgeable in-country staff — Bonobos calls them “Ninjas” — who expertly and meticulously handle each customer. The idea is that customer service isn’t an operational expense, but rather a business investment.</p> <p dir="ltr">So instead of being a nuisance, customer service issues are a second opportunity to engage customers in a highly positive experience with the the brand. </p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5808/bonobos_customer_service.png" alt="" width="200"></p> <h3 dir="ltr">4. Use stores as touchpoints for product discovery and customer experience</h3> <p dir="ltr">Unlike traditional companies, whose business model focused on attracting as many customers as possible into a physical store and later shifted to include online buying options, Bonobos and other upstart brands are native to the online environment.</p> <p dir="ltr">But Bonobos recognized early on that the convenience of online shopping wasn’t enough to win business. Many customers still want to feel, see, and try on products as well as receive individualized attention from a Bonobos staff member.</p> <p dir="ltr">So in 2012, Bonobos opened the first Guideshop, where customers can experience products in-person instead of just through a screen. The Guideshops function as an uncrowded service hub where customers make appointments, return any past purchases, try on new items, and complete purchases, which then get shipped directly to their homes.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the ecommerce era, we can expect to see more brands take this “reversed” approach, which mitigates a lot of fixed costs (particularly the cost of renting and maintaining a storefront) early on, when companies are more focused on hiring staff, developing initial supply chains and operations management, and overseeing product manufacturers.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5809/bonobos_shop.png" alt="" width="650" height="418"></p> <h3 dir="ltr">A retailer for the new age of retail</h3> <p dir="ltr">In the world of retail, few things have had as democratizing an effect as ecommerce. The old status quo has been turned on its head, and a new age of discovering and buying new products is finally upon us.</p> <p dir="ltr">For aspiring ecommerce entrepreneurs, building a company is a long, hard journey, but now is still a good time to get into the space. Look to companies like Bonobos that are pioneering new business strategies and making waves by designing environments — both digital and physical — that make shopping a delight.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68893-four-digital-priorities-for-retailers-in-2017/"><em>Four digital priorities for retailers in 2017</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68216-six-iconic-retailers-and-their-digital-transformation-journeys/"><em>Six iconic retailers and their digital transformation journeys</em></a></li> </ul>