So the new black in digital is ‘convenience tech‘, and the new Apple Watch is looking to become a poster-child in convenience tech for today’s ‘convenience economy’.
It’s far more convenient to interact with many apps – from payment, to notifications and directions – without hauling out your phone. It seems a such as small thing, but time and effort – the two core dimensions of convenience – matter, and the Apple Watch is designed to save you both. Like the popular on-demand mobile taxi service Uber, the Apple Watch buys you time and saves you effort.
So how could your brand harness ‘convenience tech’ to help buy people time and save them effort in today’s emerging ‘convenience economy’ where time and effort are more precious and more scarce than money?
The first thing we need to do is unpack the meaning of convenience. Conveniently ;-) , there has been a good deal of research – marketing and psychological – on this subject. Of course, the concept of convenience in marketing is hardly new – the idea that successful marketing involves minimising time and effort costs to buyers was introduced as far back as 1923 in a Harvard Business Review article. But of the three big ‘consumer cost’ buckets – money, time and effort – marketing has overwhelmingly focused on money – price paid – in the consumer value exchange. Nevertheless, time and effort costs (convenience costs) matter too, and in today’s fast and busy economy, consumers are often willing to pay a price premium if you can reduce time and effort costs by enhancing convenience.
Moreover we know that convenience is multi-dimensional in terms of where it can add value, and research has identified fives type of convenience value that brands can offer throughout the consumer journey (see here for validation).
- Decision Convenience – Making it fast and easy to choose
- Access Convenience – Making it fast and easy to acquire
- Transaction Convenience – Making it fast and easy to pay
- Benefit Convenience – Making it fast and easy to enjoy/use
- Post-Benefit Convenience – Making it fast and easy to service/re-purchase
The breakdown of convenience makes explicit the benefits that convenience tech can deliver – and therefore provides a starting point for adding convenience value – and charging a premium. But in addition to this physical or task-related convenience value, there is also ‘mental convenience’ – how fast and easy is it from an emotional (affective) or thinking (cognitive) perspective? Some experiences are mentally inconvenient insofar as they take time and effort to process emotionally or cognitively. From a psychology perspective – the goal of convenience tech is not only in reducing the behavioural load, but also the mental load.
- Affective Convenience – making it emotionally fast and easy
- Behavioural Convenience – making is behaviourally fast and easy
- Cognitive Convenience – making it cognitively (thinking) fast and easy
Together these ‘ABC’ dimensions – affective (emotional), behavioural and cognitive – of personal convenience combined with key convenience points in the consumer journey we have a strategic framework for delivering convenience tech – a Convenience Value Matrix (click to enlarge/download).
So give the Consumer Value Matrix a whirl to see how you can future-proof your business with convenience tech for the ‘convenience economy’ and become the Apple Watch of your sector!
Whilst Uber, the disruptive on-demand mobile taxi service, gets bounced from court to court in Germany – today it’s been banned again, before undoubtedly being unbanned, again – the rest of the world is progressing quite nicely with Uberfication (transforming the web into on-demand mobile services).
Take for example Thomas Pink, the popular London shirt tailor and retailer – their pretty brochureware and traditional e-commerce website has just been ‘uberfied’ into an on-demand mobile service that will deliver your shirt to your office – or wherever you and your mobile phone are located – in 90 minutes. Useful for meetings when you need that fresh shirt.
Is this the beginning of the mainstream uberfication of retail? We’ve already seen disruptors offering on-demand mobile shopping services in the form of showrooming apps (Amazon), and retailers such as Amazon and Sephora offering on-demand mobile shopping information services – through augmented reality. And even Uber itself is getting in on the act rolling out its UberFRESH shopping delivery service.
Uberfication is a mindset thing – it starts with the on-demand mobile service value proposition. Help me. Here. Now. In other words, Uberfication starts at the point of need – wherever a and whenever, and then builds an on-demand mobile service for that point of need to, well, service that need. Isn’t it time you began mapping need-points in time and space that your brand could monetise through an on-demand mobile service?
Here’s a short deck for brands looking to learn from The Ice Bucket Challenge - a form of ‘conspicuous compassion‘ – that like conspicuous consumption is all about ‘impression management’ – how we manage our public image through self-presentation.
The central idea that I’ve been working on for a while is that brands are missing a trick by focusing uniquely on the emotional value and the functional value they are delivering. The big opportunity for us is to deliver ‘display value’ – helping people with their innate need to display their positive traits. Comments welcome.
Okay, so why has the charity Ice Bucket Challenge* become the viral sensation of Summer 2014, recruiting over 20 million views and a million participants including celebrity pop, screen and sports stars – Lady Gaga, LeBron James, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Oprah Winfrey?
The Ice Bucket Challenge is basically video chain mail – you receive a video, make your own version of it, and pass it on. And the psychology of chain mail is instructive. Chain mail is all about incentives, minimum believability and low costs
- Incentives – we are motivated by positive promises (like getting rich) and negative threats (like getting bad luck)
- Minimum Believability – we don’t need to fully believe the promise/threat – but we need to believe it could possibly be true
- Low Costs – the cost of participation (time, effort) should be low enough to make the ‘possible’ outcome worth the investment
So how does chain mail psychology play out in the Ice Bucket Challenge? In a word (or two) - Impression Management.
Impression Management is the term psychologists use for how we manage our public image through self-presentation – consciously and unconsciously
The Ice Bucket Challenge and Impression Management
- Positive Incentive – Participate and you’ll enhance the impression others have of you (celebrity association, ‘good’ charitable person), Don’t participate and you’ll have the negative incentive (disincentive) of damaging your public image (kill-joy, ‘bad’ uncharitable person)
- Minimum Believability – celebrities, professionals in managing their public image are doing it, so it must work!)
- Low Costs – it’s Summer and it’s water, and we all have smartphones
So if you want to create a craze, remember it’s all about impression management, and you’ll need to set up an incentive structure, create minimum believability and minimise costs for participation. Add some celebrity sparkle – and you have the blueprint for a viral hit!
*If you haven’t received the Ice Bucket Challenge yet, here’s a quick refresher. You’ll get an online challenge from a friend or acquaintance, and within 24hrs you’ll have to post a video of yourself pouring a bucket of ice water on your head and challenge others to do the same – and then make a donation to a charity – ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in the US and Macmillan Cancer Support/Motor Neurone Disease in the UK, Digital celebs who have participated so far include Tim Cook, Bill Gates, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos.
Uber, the on-demand ‘driver for hire’ mobile service (ODMS) has become the poster-child for digital disruption and ‘convenience tech’.
Uber, bank rolled by Google, is disrupting (destroying) traditional taxi services by delivering more ‘value’ (mostly convenience value) to ‘value-maximising’ consumers through a smart mix of ‘regulatory hacking’ and technology.
And so digital innovators are seeking to ‘uberfy’ the world with convenient on-demand mobile services that digitally and conveniently match demand with supply. Tap your phone, get service. It’s that simple.
Some will flourish, most will fail – (based we think, on the degree that current alternatives are actually inconvenient and offer poor value).
So here’s an evolving master-list of Uber-style services that match on-demand requests with real-time supply… (please message me, or add more in comments – and I’ll update the list)
The Uberfication of Everything: Directory / Master-list
- Uber for Liquor Delivery: Saucey, Drizly, Minibar…
- Uber for Cannabis Delivery: Eaze, Canary…
- Uber for Errands: TaskRabbit…
- Uber for Odd Jobs: GladlyDo
- Uber for Hotel Rooms: HotelTonight
- Uber for Beauty Services: Swan, Stylebee, StyleSeat, Manicube
- Uber for Home Cleaning: Handybook, Homejoy
- Uber for Car Repairs: YourMechanic
- Uber for Babysitting: Urban Sitter…
- Uber for Pizza Delivery: Push for Pizza…
- Uber for Medical Equipment: Cohealo
- Uber for Quiet Spaces: Breather
- Uber for Vet (Home Visit): VetPronto
- Uber for Dog Sitters: DogVacay
- Uber for in-home Massage: Massage, UnwindMe, Zeel, Soothe
- Uber for Doctor House-call: Medicast, Pager
- Uber for Doctor (Remote) Consultation: Doctor on Demand, dvisit
- Uber for Courier Deliveries: Deliv, Postmates, Shyp
- Uber for locksmiths: KeyMe, KeysDuplicated
- Uber for Childcare/School Run: KangaDo…
- Uber for Dry Cleaning/Laundry: Cleanly, Dashlocker, Washio, Flycleaners
- Uber for Hotel Dry Cleaning: Oliom
- Uber for Mobile Repairs iCracked
- Uber for Removals: Moveline
- Uber for Lawnmowing: Lawnstarter, Plowz&Mowz…
- Uber for Restaurant Home Delivery: Seamless
- Uber for Taxis: Lyft…
- Uber for Home Maintenance RatedPeople, HouseCall, RedBeacon
- Uber for Home Decoration: PaintZen
- Uber for Home Deliveries: Anyvan, Doorman, Instacart, UberRUSH
- Uber for Dog Walking: Wortheem Swifto, Urban Leash, Trottr
- Uber for Private Jets: BlackJet
- Uber for City Parking: ParkingPanda, MonkeyParking, SpotHero…
- Uber for Language Tuition: Cambli
- Uber for Storage [Valet]: Caddy, MakeSafe, Boxbee
- Uber for Bodyguards: Bannerman…