The arc of human behaviour bends invariably and inevitably towards convenience.
Find a way to make things more convenient for people, and the world is your oyster. This is the key tenet that the most successful companies in the world have made their mantra.
The formula is simple: Identify something (or a group of things) that a large number of people need or want, make those things easier to obtain, minimise the attendant stress/work involved in obtaining those things, and watch the consumers of the world flock gradually your way. As long as you stay ahead of the curve and make sure that none of your competitors become more convenient than you are, you can then live a long and lucrative life.
The formula works.
Just ask Netflix, Apple, Amazon. Uber, Google, or any big box retail store: when dealing with human beings, convenience is king.
But, in the digital world, where just about anything can be obtained with a few clicks of the mouse and a few lines of text, what does "convenience" really mean?
Defining “Convenience”: The Adimo Dictionary
Webster’s dictionary defines convenience as:
1: fitness or suitability for performing an action or fulfilling a requirement
2: something (as an appliance, device, or service) conducive to comfort or ease
In the world of digital marketing the formula is basically the same: marketing should offer a service/product that a consumer wants or needs, and allow that consumer to obtain that service/product as easily and painlessly as possible.
Right person, right ad, right time (how convenient!)
As it currently manifests, digital marketing has made great strides toward meeting the first half of the formula outlined above (offering a service/product that a consumer wants or needs). Consumer purchase behaviour data collection/analysis and the large-scale tracking of online activities have provided the data to optimise the relevance of the marketing online users see on a daily basis.
Buy a flight to Rome and you’ll probably be treated to digital display ads and marketing emails offering you hotels in Rome, discounted meals in Rome, and Italian auto rental companies within minutes of making your booking.
It is this convenient (if a bit creepy) “relevance” system that has kept adtech companies humming along for the better part of a decade.
But then the convenience formula inexplicably falls apart.
The journey to purchase (how inconvenient!)
Once you have placed the right ad in front of the right consumer at the right time, and that consumer decides they want what you are offering, what happens next?
There is no one answer to this question.
In many cases, the consumer is simply redirected to a company’s website, where they must then begin the process of purchasing the product or service which caught their eye mere seconds ago. Depending on the product/brand involved, they may then be required to:
- give personal information
- locate the desired product within the company’s website
- provide credit card details
- provide delivery information
- fill out any number of e-forms
Convenience has just taken several steps in the wrong direction.
The end result? Abandoned carts/baskets, lost sales, lost revenue, and, in many cases, an annoyed consumer who will not return.
Which is a shame.
In a perfect convenience scenario, a couple of clicks of the mouse would complete the entire process, the customer’s online experience is interrupted for only a very short time (if at all), and everyone walks away feeling good about the transaction which has just taken place.
Congratulations! Your new customer has made a mental note (consciously or subconsciously) of the high level of convenience involved with making purchases with your brand, and they will now be more likely return to purchase from you again in the future.
We have the technology
If the “perfect convenience scenario” outlined above sounds to good to be true, you should know that it isn’t.
The journey to purchase can be streamlined. Any form of online advertising can be made shoppable, and many already are. Convenient online purchases are a reality.
Online customer experience can (and must) be improved.
Brands which provide a superior customer experience will be more successful than those which do not.
Indeed, the arc of human behaviour bends, invariably and inevitably, towards convenience.
And it is through convenience that modern brands will win customers and create brand loyalty.