The Future of Our UX Expectations

How often do you let other people use your phone? Or your tablet?

In the past, (but not that long ago), my family used to have a single computer that we all shared. My wife, kids and I used it for everything: doing homework, watching videos, catching up on work, etc. Then we each got our own laptops and cell phones and quickly afterwards our cell phones became smart phones, tablets, and other mobiles. Nowadays, we all have our own devices and it’s rare that my family members use my laptop or phone and vice versa. Our devices aren’t communal anymore – they are personal - and for many of us working in the online space, and especially in user experience, it’s a game-changer.

eCommerce is getting personal

Roughly 60% of the global population now use smartphones, a figure which rises up to roughly 80% in some of the tech-heavy countries around the world.1 Technology is getting more personal and by extension, so is eCommerce.

Consumers are shopping and interacting with money in ways that never existed before. When this is combined with digital personalization, digital tracking technology and advances in financial technology, powerful opportunities arise for both businesses and consumers who want to connect in new ways.

It’s already possible to create personal accounts with certain supermarkets, order groceries online, and confirm your order and delivery with a thumbprint. The entire process can happen within minutes on your mobile, and because of the nature the service, the more often you use it, the more customized it becomes with relevant suggestions and personalized information.

Now imagine a future world where grocery stores can identify your shopping habits with such precision, that they anticipate when you will run out of items in your home and remind you via a message with a “click and buy” option without you even leaving the app. Already today, Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service enables your connected devices to monitor usage of basic staples and automatically order them for you before you run out.2 Soon this type of transaction will become commonplace in the household, and it’s not even too far ahead in the future.

We are already getting close, thanks to some technological advancements:  

  • Personalization - new technologies and the increased usage of what we’ve got have led to a world where mobile devices can be used as an extension of the individual. Biometrics, such as thumbprints, iris scanning and even Apple’s enhanced facial recognition, all offer authentication possibilities that make purchasing much quicker and easier.
  • Digital marketing and tracking technologies – companies can now gain a deeper understanding of their customers’ preferences and online behaviors, to build stronger relationships with consumers. The purpose here is not to become “big brother” conglomerates, but to become a better partner by pinpointing what people actually want and develop more personalized offers, incentives and loyalty programs. This in turn, will likely increase brand engagement, drive more mobile transactions and lead to higher conversion rates.3
  • Social apps and social commerce – social apps have led to dramatically increased usage on mobile devices, especially for millennials. This opens up new channels for brands to engage with their customers via social commerce, and we’re just at the starting. As social commerce grows, so will new opportunities for personalized purchases and interactions.

Consumer expectations keep evolving

Shopping, whether online or in-store, is evolving and people are no longer limited to a single touchpoint for the entire journey. More and more, consumers are using a combination of devices in their path to purchase, even when they make their final purchase in a physical store.  In fact, a study done prior to last year’s December holiday season showed that nearly 100% of millennial shoppers checked prices or compared merchandise on their smartphones before making in-store purchases. This is also happening more in reverse: people are looking at items in-store and then purchasing online.4

Going back to our expectations for the future, imagine that you buy something online from your favorite brand, but it doesn’t fit so you have to return it. In today’s world, you would either mail it or go a store, stand in line and deal with the hassle of returning it at the checkout. In the future, you might be automatically identified when you enter the store and your phone could send you a notification with the location of the same item in a different size. Maybe your watch will send you suggestions with other items you might try on. Or perhaps you will place your thumb to the fitting room mirror and the item will be automatically purchased and sent to your home. Just imagine how retail and eCommerce will change as new devices and technology develop – the possibilities are endless. The bottom line is that brands need to be anywhere and everywhere their customers are and facilitate easy journeys across all touchpoints. On- and offline borders are blending and are rapidly changing consumers’ expectations of a good shopping experience. A smooth and consistent journey as we move closer to a true omni-channel world, can be a big differentiator.

 

Nothing happens without trust

As I alluded to before, all of this this requires trust. Retailers can now truly get to know their customers and create individualized purchasing journeys but none of this is possible without a strong sense of trust between the customer and the company. How would you feel about getting messages with details of your recent online purchases from a company you don’t know, trying to convince you to buy their products? Most people would call that spam, or worse, feel a sense of invasion into their privacy. On the other hand, personalized messages that come from trusted companies are often welcomed and those brands enjoy increased customer advocacy.

Establishing trust, especially when using location-based marketing and social commerce, is critical. The same goes for online payments and is perhaps even more pronounced. People need to feel secure and confident that their personal boundaries won’t be crossed or their personal information misused.

Companies that create safe and trustworthy environments when asking for an online payment are much more likely to convert the sale than companies that don’t. This includes small but meaningful details such as offering recognizable payment products, using branded URLs and activating familiar security measures, to reduce friction and build confidence in the process.

In fact, mobile money is actually quite safe compared to other payment methods. Three quarters of global consumers would be willing to use mobile money if they were assured that they are covered in the event of fraud. Educating consumers, cultivating trust and building a sense of security is vital for increasing conversion and overall loyalty.

Connect to future UX expectations

With so much opportunity to personalize the UX, use more sophisticated authentication methods, and create deeper relationships with customers, it’s surprising that so many online shopping carts are still regularly abandoned and account for such huge losses. Mobile conversion, in general, is low. As prevalent as mobile devices are, many online shoppers don’t complete their transactions, often because they experience friction or hesitation and decide to abandon their journey. In fact, only 37% of all transactions occur when customers browse across multiple devices, and only 31% these of transactions are actually completed on a mobile device. But every challenge creates a world of opportunity for forward-thinking brands.

The trend towards mobile shopping is strong. The more customers use mobile devices to make purchases, the more comfortable they become placing larger orders and the more likely they are to become repeat customers. Additionally, orders made with one or more mobile device have shorter time-to-next-order than PC-only orders. What this means is that as consumers adopt mCommerce more, their purchasing behaviors will grow stronger.

Although abandoned carts are still fairly common, potentially 60% of those lost mobile sales globally could be recovered by merchants who make it easier for customers at the checkout stage . This includes offering local payment methods and currencies, being transparent about shipping costs and delivery times and even including personalized messages and offers to recognized customers.

Opportunities to expand mobile commerce abounds, especially as consumers become more assured of safety and buying experiences become more seamless. Brands can play a significant role in accelerating this through education and engagement, which also will increase community loyalty.

The journey matters more than many brands realize. Just think about your own experiences and interactions. Undoubtedly, your favorite companies are those that offer you great products and services and an excellent experience. As consumers, we are naturally inclined to interact more with companies we recognize and trust. Offering a smooth and engaging UX journey across all touchpoints – existing ones and future ones – is a powerful opportunity for businesses who want to connect with their customers’ expectations.

To learn more about the importance of UX in the online customer journey, download your free copy of Rik’s latest white paper:

Download your free copy of “Connect to Future UX Expectations”

Rik van ‘t Hof, Director of Front-End Product Management, Ingenico ePayments

With over 15 years of experience in the FinTech industry, Rik van 't Hof has extensive knowledge on payments, eCommerce technology and customer journeys around the world. In his current role within the Ingenico Retail Business Unit, Rik is both Director of Front-End Product Management and the Tribe Lead on User Experience and Technology. Rik has worked for Ingenico and its predecessor, GlobalCollect since 2004, helping to truly shape the company’s product and services portfolio, in roles including Director of Product Management and Vice President of Product Development. Prior to joining GlobalCollect, he worked on eCommerce initiatives for the Dutch bank Rabobank, first as consultant and subsequently as product manager. Rik is studied at the Technical University of Delft and he currently lives in Nieuw-Vennep with his wife and two kids.