For the average person, the rise of mobile has made things easier. Traffic warnings and subway updates reach you wherever you are. Taking a high-quality picture can be as easy as lifting your arm. And cashing a check no longer means searching out a physical bank branch–and if you DO want to find a bank, mobile makes that easier, too.
This kind of convenience is powerful, teaching customers to expect frictionless experiences from the brands they engage with regularly. Meeting that expectation can be a challenge, especially for companies holding onto old ways of doing business. But the benefits of providing that kind of crowd-pleasing experience can be big: customers who are convinced to engage consistently with your brand are significantly more likely to stick around.
These challenges and opportunities were the focus of a discussion earlier this month at the LTR conference in New York City. The panel, The Power of Human Habit, featured Lara Balazs, senior vice president and head of North America marketing at Visa, and Tim Holley, senior product manager for growth at Etsy, and was moderated by relationship expert Tamara McCleary.
Tamara McCleary at LTR
For Visa, addressing the changing landscape means finding ways to make the customer experience simpler, quicker, and more straightforward. The days of filling out pages of forms to buy something online are over, Balazs said. “We’ve found that people were actually opting not to make purchases” in situations where doing so was difficult. Visa responded by launching Visa Checkout, which simplifies the process by allowing customers to create a single login that simplifies checkouts across different devices and websites.
Convenience is also a major driver behind the recent spread of mobile-driven contactless payments. “You don’t walk down the street with your wallet [out] … but you do with your smartphone,” Balazs said. By creating “a wonderful, friction-free environment that’s incredibly safe,” contactless payments are leveraging convenience as a tool to encourage customers to make purchases and to deepen their engagement with brands that support the technology.
(l-r:) McCleary, Etsy’s Tim Holley, and Visa’s Lara Balazs
Brands that put in the work to make things easier for their customers are positioning themselves to benefit from the increased engagement that follows. For Etsy, removing barriers is in the company’s DNA–by giving craftspeople located all over the world a global audience for their products, they’ve made it possible for customers to find unique, memorable items that weren’t previously available to them. “For us, mobile has been a really compelling platform,” Etsy’s Tim Holley said, “since it’s so visual, so intimate and vivid.”
Recognizing the site’s popularity among people seeking holiday gifts for friends and family, Etsy recently launched its new Etsy ASAP pilot program in New York City, which prioritizes convenience by allowing buyers to purchase more than 5,000 items from Etsy’s app or website with same-day or next-day delivery. This near-instant gratification not only makes customers happy, it also demonstrates that they’re dealing with a brand that values their time and satisfaction, giving them a strong incentive to keep engaging.
Convenience and ease of use have become central parts of the mobile experience. Brands that make things easy for their customers are taking important steps to support their long-term success; brands that don’t, on the other hand, are putting their future at risk.