Tuesday 26 April 2016

What do customers really want..? Is the web now dead..?!

I'm discussing on Thursday at the NEC as part of a panel at IRX (Internet Retailing Expo) the topic: "what customers want?" And it's had me thinking...

We all know data wise what customers (for retail) want, countless surveys and research articles have shown its:

  • Cheapest price.
  • Best quality.
  • "Free" shipping.
  • Loyalty bonuses.
  • As convenient as possible.

But.. What do they *really* want..? I think and this is where I'm focusing is that it's actually a subtle play on the last one of these - "convenient"...

I've felt for a while that the web while not dead by any means is losing its priority for customers. Yes it's huge and growing at a phenomenal rate however is it what people need - it's over 20 years old it's hardly now "new" although the technology is evolving it's still key that customers have to consciously go and engage with it, interact with it - it's not something that can just happen it requires effort.

This is where I think we are missing what customers really want. They want their shopping to just happen. They don't want to have to interact now in reality. People are very time poor, technology has driven us to value every second and maximise even our "toilet time" to multi task and there are whole schools of thought about how do we now best invade even that most personal if moments - how do we monetise even those seconds to drive sales...

We need to STOP. And think as a customer which we all are. What do we really want. It's convenience it's shopping that happens for us. Why do I need to go to a website (or load an app) to do my shopping if it could happen for me. If the price of something drops let me set a rule and just order it for me, use my saved card and deliver it. If a shirt isn't in my size give me a code I can scan that will automatically order and deliver it to me - make it really easy for me.

If it's sunny, order burgers and sausage for the BBQ I will have, if my mum is coming to stay order some extra milk and that cereal she likes.

To meet what customers really want the web needs to change to the point where we don't need to interact with it at all - it just does it for us instead. Some may find this a bit scary - not from a technology perspective but - from the "big brother is watching you" angle as a lot of companies will use the data they gave about us in a more predictive way. I think this is a good thing, why not let them if it makes it more convenient for me.

The web then changes to being a much more "fun" place we go for other things, then it needs to focus on the surprise and delight to inspire the new upsell purchases but the boring bits get stripped away.

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