Why doesn't your customer care about the channel?

Image courtesy of MIKI Yoshihito

We expect a good experience. 

How many devices to do you use on a regular basis?

  • Personal smartphone
  • Work smartphone
  • Home laptop/desktop
  • Work laptop/desktop
  • Tablet
  • Wearable

The range depends. I am what would be considered an ‘Always Connected Consumer’ since my latest smartphone upgrade, I regularly only use two - the average is estimated to be around seven per person.

In the US there are reports that consumers are increasingly finding their smartphones a financial burden and are more often aware of data limits and other constraints around their mobile devices.

The problem has arisen because people’s habits have changed after they’ve chosen their data plans, more companies are adapting to mobile devices and data providers have upped their speeds! But why then don’t people care about the channel?

A few years ago there began to be a heavy push toward mobile optimization. The idea in many cases was to optimize the content for mobile devices so that people on mobile devices could navigate quickly to information which was contextually-aware of their needs on a smaller device and while potentially looking for information with more immediacy (store location and hours) versus a visitor on a desktop that might be more apt to browse. But this has changed in some ways, because we’ve become increasingly mobile.

Do these stats surprise you?

  • 2% of smartphone owners have used their phone in the past year to look up information about a health condition.
  • 57% have used their phone to do online banking.
  • 44% have used their phone to look up real estate listings or other information about a place to live.
  • 43% to look up information about a job.
  • 40% to look up government services or information.
  • 30% to take a class or get educational content.
  • 18% to submit a job application.

Source: US Smartphone Use 2015

February 2016 it seems that retailers both domestic and global have been announcing bleak results. The market has been shifting, driven by companies that understand that consumers don’t care about the channel, they care about the EXPERIENCE.

The winners have made the shopping experience faster with 1-click shopping, repeat orders, more convenient shipping – all driven of course by the ability to conveniently shop from almost anywhere via a rather small screen. And they've removed barriers between channels.

Four examples: 

  1. Grocery shopping online: I used to favor my laptop for buying groceries because of navigation and speed, especially if I forgot something which used to require navigating through the checkout process again. Now I just need to click “Add to latest order” and I get a confirmation email.
  2. Selling used items: Like many people I've taken advantage of the opportunity to sell items instead of leaving them around to waste or pitching them in the trash. But there’s a big challenge. When I sell items I get convenient updates via SMS but to process an order I need to be on a desktop or squint and squeeze to view the desktop site on my mobile which doesn't work well. And the last step of the process for the buyer, which is shipping, isn't digital-friendly.
  3. Real Estate: Buying, selling, and renting are time-consuming endeavors. The best sites let you browse and search and continue your journey from any device.
  4. Listening to music: I pay a premium for Spotify and I can listen to my favorite playlists online or offline, on mobile, tablet, laptop for a personal experience or as the unseen DJ of my party!

The mindsets which make channels irrelevant to consumers:

  • I’m the buyer/consumer I don’t want to change my habits to fit you
  • I’m busy, when I decide to buy/consume I want to do it immediately
  • If I can’t complete the transaction/process on my device NOW, I probably never will
  • Google and social media will help me find alternatives FAST
  • I like convenience, I like  to be able to anything from anywhere

Does this sound familiar?

People don’t care about channels. But they remember experiences!