Frustrated with your current retail customer experience? Don’t worry. It’s changing rapidly, and as consumers, we have a lot to look forward to.
Business As Usual Has Been Disrupted
Time and again, customers embrace brands that go beyond selling products and services to providing meaningful utility in their lives. Consider the disruptive offerings by companies like Uber, who transformed a functional task into an effortlessly enjoyable one, changing consumer behavior seemingly overnight. Every day, we read about more companies like Uber, who are upending traditionally well-ensconced business models—not by inventing the new, but by re-imagining the customer experience for a particular market segment, applying the many possibilities of emerging technology to significantly improve the value that the experience provides.
I recently spoke at a global hotel conference about connecting physical and digital experiences for users. My colleague, Justin Reilly, started off our presentation with great information on how storytelling affects the human brain. To tie into this great introduction, I asked my audience to imagine their website as a virtual hotel. I then began to paint a picture of the parallels between the two.
Every time I stand in front of a group of people to give a talk, I’m overcome with three distinct thoughts: 1) They have no idea what I’m about to say. 2) Find the person in the room who loves your talk the most. 3) And find the person who hates it.
I hear a lot of talk these days about UX (user experience) being a subset of CX (customer experience), because UX is traditionally only about creating digital products. Or I hear from the other side that UX means everything, and encompasses CX. But as the physical and digital worlds continue to merge in an ever more blended fashion, so too must UX and CX.
Qualitative research is possibly the least understood type of primary research at most companies. In fact, most companies have never performed it before. If you grew up in the user experience or service design disciplines, you will likely be familiar with qualitative research and in-the-field ethnographic studies.
“We do not currently support Apple Pay!!” According to numerous industry articles over this past weekend from the likes of Verge, Mashable, GigaOm, a number of retailers—Walmart, Gap, Best Buy, Old Navy, 7-Eleven, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Sam’s Club, Sears, Kmart, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Banana Republic, Stop & Shop, Wendy’s, and most major U.S. gas station chains—have dug their heels in. Collectively, these retailers have formed a joint venture (MCX), to build their own mobile payment app, called CurrentC, which is planned to launch in 2015. MCX has been working on a mobile payment solution since 2011, to avoid paying the 2-3% credit card transaction fees charged by the likes of Visa Inc.
"No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist."
As we work on refreshing the Macquarium brand, I have been reflecting on our roots, and where we are headed. Prospects often ask me what makes Macquarium different? My answer is a steadfast “our people, how we think, and the results we deliver for our clients”. Yes, we have methodologies, great case studies and awards, but it's employees, their talent, passion for the work they do, and client success that drive an agency’s success. It’s people that start companies, design products and services, buy those products and services, consume them, and essentially shape the brand. It’s people that spark innovation, create the culture, and harness the energy to do great things for clients. So, it’s a fitting time to salute the 22 year heritage Macquarium enjoys as a human-centered digital pioneer. It’s also fitting to share some excitement about where we are headed. In addition to our people, it’s about…