This article is a continuation of a 5 Part series on what is required to create amazing online experiences. If you have not seen the previous articles, you can read Part 1 by clicking here.
Principle #9 Design experiences for intent driven “micro-moments”
“Micro moments”, is a term used by Google to describe a consumer’s moment of high intent and need for engagement.
In today’s world where consumers are in complete control and bombarded with various stimuli throughout the day, it is nearly impossible to predict where the intent has come from and when it starts.
This makes the world of the retailer more complicated and is why use of demographics as a proxy for people is not an effective approach for designing experiences.
For example, take a look at this simple example:
Susanne is a happily married mother of 2, who drives a 4-wheel drive (never takes it off-road), works part time and lives in a large city suburb.
To capitalise on this “micro moment” principle, a Beauty retailer would be better positioned to focus on when Susanne runs out of eyeliner and goes online searching for “eyeliner” products.
- Be relevant.
- Deliver value at the right time (Sephora example),
- Speak her language,
- Be easy to deal with,
- Be visible in the right places
If this can be achieved, this retailer has the opportunity to acquire a new customer.
The reason for the demographic construction in the first place is to help retailers predict intent. By designing for intent, retailers can skip the use of a proxy and deliver relevant experiences.
Forbes calls Google’s “micro moments” a “game changer” for CMO’s and goes on to say:
If you aren’t competing for attention where its focused, you are not competing to win.
Micro-moments are not replacing persona development, its revolutionising it.
Still not convinced?
- 31% of mobile searchers of video games are men ages 18 to 34
- 56% of sporting goods searchers on mobile are female
- 45% of home improvement searchers on mobile are women
- 40% of all baby product purchasers live in households without children
To translate the statistics above, if a baby supplies retailer was building online experiences for mothers, they miss out on 40% of their target market. If they targeted micro moments such as “newborn baby gifts” they reach a far greater and more qualified audience.
Takeaway. Design online experiences for intent driven moments.
Principle #10 Be iterative (Continuous Improvement)
Never approach the online experience design process thinking it’s a “one –off”.
The iterative continuous improvement discipline comes in 2 parts:
Data mining, insight gathering and hypothesis creation. This is the part everyone talks about and is crucial. Over time, with the right foundation in place, data-driven decision-making becomes the norm.Iterative and agile development programming. This is the part no one talks about.
Technology is the enabler for everything and needs to continually evolve and align to the needs of the retailer (which are also the needs of the customer).
The inability to become agile in a development context is one of the largest barriers to retailer evolution globally.
This from Econsultancy’s 2015 Technology for eCommerce report (300 top UK and US retailers surveyed):
"What are the main barriers preventing you from growing your eCommerce business as fast as you would like?:
- Lack of budget/resources - 51%
- Siloed organisation and lack of coordination - 29%
- IT Blockages - 29%Too many systems and technologies - 25%
- Lack of strategy - 24%
- Poor technology - 20%
- Lack of technological understanding - 19%
- Lack of senior buy-in - 19%
Of the top eight, four issues relate to technology. All the issues listed above come from poor technology vendor relationships, inflexible technology, and/or outdated technology. These issues are the common characteristics of retailers who are slow in their digital evolution.
An example of this in action is Target.comwho is planning to spend $1.8 billion in technology in 2016/2017. The first time in the retailer's history it is spending more on technology than on bricks and mortar improvements.
The investment will focus on improving customer experiences as well as what they call "the unsexy but essential parts of Target's operations".
A second question asked in the Econsultancy report… “How many phases does it typically take to implement a new eCommerce technology?":
- 1 Phase - 4%
- 2 Phases - 28%
- 3 Phases - 26%
- More than 3 phases - 42%
The more successful retailers understand, technology needs to be iterative in nature and evolve when the business needs to evolve as in the case of Target.
The customer circle at the beginning of the report is a circle for a reason. Consumers continously adapt and evolve, meaning retailers must do the same, and at the same pace.
Being burdened with legacy technology will transform the “retailer’s circle” into a square very quickly making a retailer’s capability to keep up near impossible.
Takeaway. Data becomes the foundation for future decision making and partner with an eCommerce technology vendor who shares the same iterative development philosophy.