tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/user-experience-and-usability Latest User Experience and Usability content from Econsultancy 2017-07-21T09:39:19+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69260 2017-07-21T09:39:19+01:00 2017-07-21T09:39:19+01:00 Four ways hotels and accommodation sites can increase direct bookings Nikki Gilliland <p>Along with <a href="http://www.newsroom.barclays.com/r/3493/uk_holidaymakers__booking_direct__through_hotel_websites" target="_blank">these findings</a>, other research also suggests that certain hotels are experiencing a surge in direct bookings. Take Premier Inn, for instance, whose website accounted for 87% of all its bookings in 2016. That said, at other hotel chains, like Hilton, direct bookings are far lower as they struggle to compete with aggregator sites.</p> <p>So, what can we learn from Premier Inn? And how can both UK and international hotels increase their direct bookings? Here’s just four factors that could make a difference.</p> <h3>Mobile optimisation</h3> <p>Google’s 2016 Travel Trends report suggests that 60% of searches for travel information come from mobile. Meanwhile, conversion rates have grown 88% on mobile travel sites. So in order to capture some of this search interest – and draw users away from online travel agencies – hotels need to ensure a good mobile UX across all channels and throughout every step of the journey.</p> <p>This doesn't only mean in terms of the immediate booking process, either. </p> <p>Interestingly, hotel apps and mobile bookings are said to lead to greater levels of satisfaction compared to the same technology delivered by a third party or OTA. A survey from J.D. Power found that guests who book through an online travel agency or a mobile app not directly associated with a hotel are more likely to experience a problem and be less satisfied with their stay overall.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7599/Mobile_check_in.JPG" alt="" width="400" height="486"></p> <p>This suggests that a mobile strategy is not only important for first-time direct bookings, but to increase the likelihood of <em>repeat</em> direct bookings – as well as long-term loyalty. Features like mobile tickets and check-in can be hugely beneficial for increasing satisfaction and keeping consumers coming back.</p> <h3>Perks and benefits</h3> <p>In order to sway people away from the perceived cheaper and more flexible options provided by travel agents and aggregator sites, hotels and self-accommodation companies must provide clear incentives.</p> <p>This usually comes in the form of discounts and offers for direct bookings – alongside even greater incentives for joining loyalty programmes. We’ve recently seen many large hotel chains heavily promote this as part of marketing campaigns, specifically Hilton and its ‘Stop Clicking Around’ ads.</p> <p>As well as highlighting the benefits of being an HHonors member, the campaign also points consumers towards other perks such as free WiFi and arrival gifts.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/DsZkUAAAv5I?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>It is this added value that really sets direct bookings apart from OTAs. But interestingly, it appears to be smaller or independent hotels who are largely capitalising on this, using unique incentives to entice consumers to book direct.</p> <p>The small Hawaiian hotel chain, Aqua-Aston, offers a free $20 Starbucks gift card if guests book direct. Meanwhile, Hotel Amarano in California offers guests either a $25 credit to use at the hotel’s restaurants or to receive a room upgrade. These incentives are not particularly ground-breaking, but against a third-party site offering nothing much more than the standard cheapest tariff it's easy to see how it might improve conversions.</p> <p>That being said, incentives don’t always have to involve personal gain. Last year, the Omni Hotels group launched the ‘Say goodnight to hunger’ campaign, which saw the hotel donate to Feeding America for every stay booked directly through the brand’s website. Each donation would provide dinner for a family of four for an entire week.</p> <p>Not only did this clever strategy enable the hotel to increase the likelihood of direct bookings, but it also contributed to positive brand perception and a reputation as a company that cares about social good.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thank you for helping us make such an incredible impact in just one year. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SayGoodnightToHunger?src=hash">#SayGoodnightToHunger</a><a href="https://t.co/3Sqg5JdEiI">https://t.co/3Sqg5JdEiI</a> <a href="https://t.co/B2gXZaI9oL">pic.twitter.com/B2gXZaI9oL</a></p> — Omni Hotels (@OmniHotels) <a href="https://twitter.com/OmniHotels/status/877998060399321089">June 22, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Personalisation</h3> <p>One way hotels can enhance incentives is to add <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69207-how-six-travel-hospitality-brands-use-personalisation-to-enhance-the-customer-experience">personalisation</a>, or any elements that will help to build a direct relationship between the company and consumer. Again, this can be done through loyalty programs, such as HHonors members being able to share preferences in order to customise their hotel stay. However, when it comes to direct bookings, this type of personalisation is most effective early on in the customer journey.</p> <p>Data is a key enabler, of course, allowing hotels to track and monitor user behaviour. This means that if someone browses and abandons a site before booking, the hotel can re-target them with personalised and tailored messages. </p> <p>There is the argument that hotels should not dismiss OTAs entirely, as they can help to increase awareness and boost bookings (despite taking a commission). But often consumers tend to browse hotel websites in conjunction with OTAs. This perhaps means the focus should not always be on getting people to visit a site – but on keeping them there. Companies like HotelChamp use technology to do exactly this, using data to engage with potential guests and optimise sites accordingly. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Wondering what the advantages of direct bookings are compared to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OTAs?src=hash">#OTAs</a>? Read our latest blog! <a href="https://t.co/t40p02pQno">https://t.co/t40p02pQno</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bookdirect?src=hash">#bookdirect</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/hotels?src=hash">#hotels</a></p> — Hotelchamp (@Hotelchamp_com) <a href="https://twitter.com/Hotelchamp_com/status/883324839808954373">July 7, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Human interaction</h3> <p>A final reason that consumers might be swayed towards direct bookings (both on and offline) is any kind of human interaction. Unlike OTAs, which usually involve communication via digital channels, hotels can benefit from reaching out to customers via the telephone.</p> <p>Telephone communication remains desirable in the US, where 8% of people prefer to book their holidays over the phone versus 4% of other global travellers. Similarly, 15% of US consumers prefer to do it in person compared to 11% elsewhere. </p> <p>Hoteliers can capitalise on this through online customer service channels, making features like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68898-seven-retailers-that-use-live-chat-to-improve-customer-service/">live chat</a> highly visible on homepages. Not only does it offer a one-to-one connection to hotels (which is often absent on OTAs) but it also helps to dispel any queries or concerns which may lead to abandonment.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64395-google-click-to-call-used-by-more-than-40-of-mobile-searchers">Click-to-call</a> functionality on mobile is also key, helping to convert customers in the moment of browsing. This is because, in such a competitive market, an immediate answer could potentially mean the difference between a direct or abandoned booking.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66551-how-hotel-websites-can-improve-the-booking-experience">How hotel websites can improve the booking experience</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65964-why-do-people-abandon-online-travel-bookings">Why do people abandon online travel bookings?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/65940-10-essential-features-for-travel-websites">10 essential features for travel websites</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69236 2017-07-07T12:40:12+01:00 2017-07-07T12:40:12+01:00 10 superior digital marketing stats from this week Nikki Gilliland <p>On we go...</p> <h3>Mobile shopping ads presents growth opportunity for retailers</h3> <p>According to a new report by <a href="http://www.foundit.com/blog/mobile-shopping-search-retailers-biggest-opportunity-improve/" target="_blank">Foundit</a>, mobile clicks on Google Shopping ads represent the largest single source of visitors for online retailers, accounting for nearly 25% of all sessions across direct, paid and shopping search traffic.</p> <p>However, the report – which reviewed over 60m shopping sessions across leading retailers – also states that search is the worst channel for bounce rate, with users typically viewing just two and half pages before quitting.</p> <p>In terms of the difference in bounce rates between Google shopping on mobile and desktop, just 27% of sessions browse past the first page, compared with 38% on desktop. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7342/foundit.JPG" alt="" width="706" height="318"></p> <h3>TV sponsorship increases positive brand associations</h3> <p>According to a study by Thinkbox, brands that sponsor TV shows are able to improve brand health metrics – mainly thanks to the strong affinities viewers have with their favourite programs.</p> <p>Research found that there was a 53% increase in ‘personality fit’ between viewers of a TV show and the sponsoring brand when compared to non-viewers. In turn, viewers were far more likely to recommend the brand than those that didn’t watch the TV show. </p> <p>Meanwhile, when the sponsorship creative was a natural fit with the program, key brand health metrics for viewers were 5% higher than for non-viewers. </p> <h3>UK shoppers buy from just three online stores</h3> <p>According to a YouGov poll commissioned by Apptus, online fashion retailers are struggling to attract new and loyal customers.</p> <p>In a survey of over 1,500 online shoppers, 62% of people were found to have a core group of favourite online retail stores – a figure that rises to 68% for women.</p> <p>Interestingly, younger shoppers appear more likely to stick to a narrow selection of sites, with 78% of 18-24 year olds and 70% of 25-34s staying loyal to a select few retailers.</p> <p>In order to tempt them away from their favourites, 66% of shoppers said that other retailers should offer greater value for money, while 48% said they should make it easy to find products they are looking for. In contrast, just 4% pointed to ‘lifestyle content’ as a means of grabbing their attention and building loyalty.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7346/online_payments.jpg" alt="" width="718" height="487"></p> <h3>North Dakota named the best US state to start a business</h3> <p><a href="https://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-to-start-a-business/36934/" target="_blank">WalletHub</a> has compared 50 US states across 20 key indicators to determine where startup businesses are most likely to succeed.</p> <p>It found New Jersey to be the worst, mainly due to high office space and labour costs as well as inaccessible financing.</p> <p>On the flip side, North Dakota was ranked the best, seeing the highest average growth in small businesses. The state also has the most startups per 100,000 residents – three times more than West Virginia, the state with the fewest.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7341/Start-ups_US.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="311"></p> <h3>75% of users are searching on mobile more often due to voice technology</h3> <p>New research from Google shows that voice search is influencing user behaviour, with 75% of consumers saying that they now search on their mobiles more often because of the technology.  </p> <p>People who started using voice search in the last six months are said to be the most frequent users, with 42% now using it daily. In comparison, just 25% of people who started using voice search over four years ago use it as frequently.</p> <p>The research also found that both visual and text search remain popular, with 51% of respondents using the two interchangeably.</p> <h3>Cyber-attacks on UK businesses increase 52% in Q2</h3> <p>A new report by Beaming suggests that the number of cyber-attacks aimed at UK-based businesses increased by more than half in Q2 2017. This means that businesses saw almost 65,000 attacks in just three months – an increase of 52% from the previous quarter.</p> <p>68% of attacks targeted connected devices such as networked security cameras and building control systems. However, there was also a marked increase in attacks on company databases, with businesses experiencing an average of 105 attempts per day compared to just 14 in the first quarter.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7340/Cyber_attacks_UK.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="192"></p> <h3>Mobile traffic at an all-time high across Europe</h3> <p>A new <a href="https://www.slideshare.net/adobe/adi-2016-europe-best-of-the-best" target="_blank">report from Adobe</a> – which includes analysis of the top 20% of companies using Adobe Experience Cloud and a survey of over 5,000 consumers across Europe – suggests mobile traffic is increasing across Europe.</p> <p>It states that smartphones accounted for 31% of all European web visits in 2016 – an increase from 22% in 2015. In comparison, desktop accounted for 58% of browser traffic - down from 65% in 2015. For the top-performing companies, 41% of web traffic came from a smartphone in 2016, up from just 31% the previous year. </p> <p>Meanwhile, the report found that consumer expectations are driving mobile usage, with 57% preferring to use a smartphone over another device when completing tasks in 2016 – up from 51% in 2015.</p> <h3>Shoppers’ dual-screening habits present big opportunities for retailers</h3> <p>Data from eBay has revealed there was a huge spike in consumer spending during last summer’s sporting events, indicating the potential for retailers to tap into dual screening behaviour.</p> <p>On the final day of the Tour de France last year, searches for ‘Pinarello’ – the bike that Chris Froome rode – rose by 62% on eBay.co.uk. Meanwhile, searches for ‘cycling shorts’ and ‘road bike’ increased by 46% and 71% respectively.</p> <p>Similarly, in the two weeks of the Rio Olympic Games, searches for ‘running shoes’ rose by 66%, and interest in running watches jumped by 113%.</p> <h3>Uber gains more customers than any other US company in the past year</h3> <p>Despite the series of scandals that have plagued the company in the past year or so, Uber has made the largest customer gains since the first half of 2016. </p> <p>26% of all US millennials are said to have recently used the service, which has increased its <a href="http://www.brandindex.com/article/ride-sharing-brands-top-biggest-millennial-customer-gains-over-last-year" target="_blank">Adobe BrandIndex</a> ‘current customer score’ by 8.2 points.</p> <p>Other companies in the sharing economy have also grown, with Lyft – Uber’s biggest US rival – becoming the third biggest gainer, and Airbnb coming 12th in this list.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7343/uber.jpg" alt="" width="724" height="483"></p> <h3>Online consumers desire security over transaction speed</h3> <p><a href="https://mypinpad.com/consumer-trust-report/" target="_blank">New research</a> suggests that retailers who favour speed and convenience over security measures could be losing customer trust. This is because 67% of consumers surveyed said they are concerned about their online banking and shopping security, with one in four respondents being ‘very concerned’.</p> <p>In order to improve levels of trust, retailers must implement greater transparency around security practices, as well as increased security steps. </p> <p>40% of respondents said they would like to use cardholder PIN to authenticate online transactions, while 50% would like to use a combination of both PIN and biometrics. Only 2% of consumers believe transaction speed is more important than security.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69219 2017-07-07T11:40:00+01:00 2017-07-07T11:40:00+01:00 Why fintech disruption isn't just about the technology Patricio Robles <p>In simplest terms, fintech is short for "financial technology" but ask different people what it really means and chances are you'll get different answers.</p> <p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_technology">According to</a> Wikipedia, fintech "is an industry composed of companies that use new technology and innovation with available resources in order to compete in the marketplace of traditional financial institutions and intermediaries in the delivery of financial services."</p> <p>The Fintech Club at Wharton University <a href="https://medium.com/wharton-fintech/what-is-fintech-77d3d5a3e677">defines it</a> more simply as "an economic industry composed of companies that use technology to make financial systems more efficient."</p> <p>And Chris Skinner, chairman of the Financial Services Club, <a href="http://thefinanser.com/2015/01/ghgh.html/">posted on his blog</a> a definition he heard at a meeting: "fintech is the R&amp;D function of financial services in the digital age" that has "less to do with technology more to do with business model reinvention and customer-centric design."</p> <p>That might be the best definition of the three because as fintech's influence on the financial services industry grows, it's increasingly clear that fintech isn't just about technology. Rather, fintech is really a customer experience innovation movement that uses technology but isn't totally dependent on it.</p> <p>A good example of this can be seen in the lending space, which is one of the markets that has been most disrupted by fintech. On the technology side, firms are using new sources of data and underwriting models to analyze prospective borrowers and make lending decisions. In some cases, fintech lenders are using their technology to extend loans to individuals and businesses that wouldn't have been extended credit by old-school lenders. </p> <p>Many are also using their technology to make decisions much more quickly – sometimes near-instantaneously – eliminating the need for prospective borrowers to wait days or weeks for a lending decision.</p> <p>These advances in and of themselves can facilitate dramatic customer experience improvements, but they aren't simply related to behind-the-scenes technology.</p> <p>For instance, many fintech lenders have created user experiences that drastically simplify the loan application process. Instead of having to fill out a bunch of complex forms by hand, many upstart lenders offer <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wizard_(software)">wizard-based</a> online experiences that walk borrowers through the application process step-by-step.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7190/lendingclub.png" alt="" width="730" height="273"></p> <p>Many lenders even allow applicants to grant them access to their financial accounts so that they can automatically pull the data they need to make a decision, eliminating the need for applicants to gather a bunch of paperwork they might not have readily available and dramatically reducing the amount of time it takes to complete the loan application.</p> <p>Thanks to the combination of technology and thoughtful user experience, loan applications that could have taken days to complete before can now often be completed in minutes online.</p> <h3>A holistic concept of fintech</h3> <p>Put simply, financial services companies large and small, young and entrenched, would be wise to start thinking of fintech in broader, more holistic terms.</p> <p>Yes, there are markets within financial services for which the greatest fintech opportunities require significant technology innovation, but the biggest fintech success stories aren't just the result of technology innovation. Instead, they the product of technological innovation merged with customer experience innovation that delivers meaningful, superior experiences to consumers.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67919-five-fintech-start-ups-aiming-to-replace-traditional-banking/"><em>Five fintech start-ups aiming to replace traditional banking</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67202-what-s-the-future-for-big-banks-in-a-fintech-world/"><em>What's the future for big banks in a FinTech world?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69022-five-fintech-websites-with-crystal-clear-value-propositions/"><em>Five fintech websites with crystal clear value propositions</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69226 2017-07-06T10:43:30+01:00 2017-07-06T10:43:30+01:00 How Food52 successfully combines content and commerce Nikki Gilliland <p>So, how has it managed to create such dual success? Here’s an in-depth look into the publisher, and what others experimenting with commerce might be able to learn from it.</p> <h3>Fusing content and community</h3> <p>As former food editor of the New York Times, Food52’s CEO and co-founder, Amanda Hesser, undoubtedly knows a thing or two about food publishing. In 2009 she teamed up with freelance food writer and recipe tester, Merrill Stubbs, to create a food website aimed at 'home cooks'.</p> <p>More specifically, Food52 aims to reach an audience of home cooks who – alongside recipes – also care about food within a wider context, such as how it fits in with a modern lifestyle, its visual appeal, and how it makes people feel. </p> <p>In order to do this, instead of a straight-forward recipe hub or editorial website, Food52 uses a combination of professional articles and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67547-10-excellent-examples-of-user-generated-content-in-marketing-campaigns" target="_blank">user-generated content</a>. So, alongside feature articles, you’ll also find regular submissions from its 1m registered contributors, and even a site ‘hotline’ for people to find answers to any burning food-related questions.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7240/Food52_Hotline.JPG" alt="" width="580" height="423"></p> <p>It is the site’s highly-engaged community that first allowed Food52 to venture into commerce. When the site launched, it did so with the aim of crowdsourcing a cookbook based on user submissions. Since then, it has created a number of cookbooks in this way, with each one including a competition element (with recipes voted for by fellow readers). </p> <p>In doing so, it has been able to capitalise on the contributions of its enthusiastic audience, as well as foster a real sense of community online. Contests are a regular feature throughout the year, too, with users voting for various categories such as ‘best weeknight recipe’ and ‘best thanksgiving leftover recipe’. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7241/Recipe_contests.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="443"></p> <h3>A seamless experience</h3> <p>Alongside this sense of community, Food52’s dedication to creating a seamless user experience has enabled it to expand into ecommerce <em>without</em> alienating its audience. </p> <p>Instead of using content purely as a vehicle to drive sales it treats the two verticals equally. It aims to be the ultimate foodie destination, meaning that - whether the user’s aim is to find a lamb recipe or a carving knife – they will be able to find what they’re looking for somewhere on the site. </p> <p>Product recommendations (usually found at the bottom of recipes) feel natural rather than forced, with the publisher only selling items that fit in with the brand’s wider ethos.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7242/Product_recommendations.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="677"></p> <p>Similarly, regardless of whether Food52 is promoting a product or a recipe, its priority is to always provide the user with inspiration – and high quality across the board. This stretches to the site’s signature photography and design, too. </p> <p>Both the content and commerce verticals are photographed in the Food52 studio, which ensures consistency in what the publisher calls the ‘Food52 aesthetic’. This usually means beautifully understated and minimalistic photography, often with a vintage-inspired edge.</p> <p>Together with design, Food52 uses storytelling elements to naturally integrate retail, as well as to create its own ‘point of view’. In doing so, it does not necessarily aim to compete with large competitors, but to provide extra value for consumers. Unlike the purely functional style of Amazon, for instance, Food52 uses emotive and immersive elements to draw in the audience.</p> <p>Each merchant selling on the site has their own page, including detail such as where they’re from and their motivations.</p> <p>With a third of all products sold being exclusive or one-off designs – Food52’s curated approach is certainly part of its appeal. By promoting the handcrafted nature of items and the small scale of merchants selling on the site, it feels far more 'artisan' than a big brand ecommerce site.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7243/One_of_a_kind_products.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="500"></p> <p>This image is portrayed everywhere on the site – even extending to the FAQ page, where the first two questions focus on the publisher’s ‘food as lifestyle’ approach.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7244/FAQ.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="430"></p> <h3>Relevant and natural advertising</h3> <p>Food52’s online shop is not its only source of revenue – it also makes money through display advertising and sponsored content.</p> <p>However, it also treats this in the same way as it does shoppable items, ensuring that it is both relevant and valuable for users. Again, the publisher does this by putting as much of an emphasis on quality as it would its regular editorial features or recipes. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7245/Sponsored_content.JPG" alt="" width="640" height="459"></p> <p>There’s no obvious difference in quality between sponsored or non-sponsored content, which means that it could even pass by unnoticed. </p> <p>Food52’s CEO, Amanda Hesser, has previously said that the publisher decides whether or not it accepts a brand deal based on a single question – would it do it with or without an advertiser? If the answer is yes, then this clearly signifies a natural partnership, and one that the audience would want to hear about. So, even if brand involvement <em>is</em> obvious, Food52’s reputation for quality means that users are perhaps more than willing to accept it.</p> <h3>Strong social presence</h3> <p>Unsurprisingly, social media is another huge area of interest for advertisers, with sponsored content on Food52’s various channels often being part of the package. </p> <p>Food52 has partnered with a number of big brands including Annie’s Mac &amp; Cheese and Simply Organic Foods in the past. And just like branded content on the website, these social posts tend to be just as well received as regular ones, mainly due to the way they seamlessly blend in with the rest of the content on Food52’s channels.</p> <p>Instagram is one place where Food52 has particularly flourished – perhaps unsurprising considering that food is one of the most <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67856-four-delicious-examples-of-food-drink-brands-on-instagram/" target="_blank">popular topics on the platform</a>. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7246/Food52_Insta.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="418"></p> <p>That being said, other publishers show that the topic itself is not always enough. </p> <p>One of Food52’s biggest competitors, AllRecipes - which generates a huge amount of visitors on its main website - has a mere 280,000 followers on Instagram. Perhaps this can be put down to AllRecipes aiming to be a sort of social hub in its own right, however, it certainly highlights Food52’s success on the platform.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7247/AllRecipes.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="435"></p> <p>The publisher experiments with various types of social media content, capitalising on user-generated posts as well as other mediums like video and livestreaming. Interaction with followers is also another key to social success, with Food52 encouraging comments and replying to questions across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffood52%2Fvideos%2F10154761571104016%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=400" width="400" height="400"></iframe></p> <p>Let’s not forget its use of Pinterest either – especially how Food52 has even incorporated similar features from the discovery site into its own. Users can ‘like’ products and recipes to add them to new or existing ‘Collections’. In turn, this data also allows the publisher to discover what readers are looking for and enjoying, which it uses to inform future content and commerce sales. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7248/Collections.JPG" alt="" width="580" height="490"></p> <p>Using a combination of beautiful design, quality content, and focus on delivering value for its community, Food52 is a great example of how to fuse two very different verticals.</p> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66438-how-should-ecommerce-brands-be-using-content/" target="_blank">How should ecommerce brands be using content?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69026-why-online-publishers-are-launching-wedding-verticals/" target="_blank">Why online publishers are launching wedding verticals</a></em></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69058-how-millennial-entrepreneurs-are-disrupting-retail-and-ecommerce/" target="_blank"><em>How millennial entrepreneurs are disrupting retail and ecomm</em>erce</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3008 2017-06-30T11:33:00+01:00 2017-06-30T11:33:00+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/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: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: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>