Welcome back! In my last post, I focused on how retailers can create new levels of convenience through finding the patterns in data. But, that is only one of the elements retailers must enable to enhance the customer journey. To truly facilitate new levels of convenience for our customers, we must also allow our customers to experience their journey without the intrusion of technology and processes, in other words, we must make technology and processes appear invisible to the journey.
The Internet of Things is really the breeding ground to make this happen. Sensors can be imbedded into almost anything, making that every item “smart” and able to “talk” to other smart items. These sensors create an ecosystem of technology that delivers ubiquitous and pervasive computing, making the environment adapt to you and your patterns. For example, in my previous blog I imagined a world where my coffee was just waiting for me at the coffee shop. To make that a reality, the technology sensors in my mobile device (for example, phone, wearable, car) would automatically and invisibly kick off the chain of events that ordered my coffee, yet it would appear to happen magically. The GPS technology on my device could alert the coffee shop that I was arriving and my digital wallet could pay for the coffee.
If you put the right platforms and systems in place, the technology works so seamlessly that the customer just focuses on their experience.
As Arthur C Clarke stated, “Any sufficiently advancement in technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Have you ever been on a trip where your flight was super delayed, traffic was horrible, and you just wanted to get into your hotel room and relax? Yet, upon arrival at the hotel there is a long line of people waiting to just tell the hotel they are there, and get a keycard to open the room. Again, this is all unnecessary friction in the customer journey.
What if all of that friction could be removed and you could walk past that long line at the hotel front desk and go directly to a room of your choosing and relax?
That’s exactly what Dell and Hilton are doing. Together we’ve created an infrastructure for Hilton to develop mobile APIs so they could build an app that allows over 40 million Hilton Honors members to automatically check in, select a room, and have a digital room key sent to their mobile device; enabling the guest to get to their rooms faster and friction-free. Hilton now has one common operating platform that mobile developers can use worldwide to nimbly introduce exciting apps like this for their customers.
Dell is also on this journey removing friction from Dell.com by making technology more invisible and seamless to use.
Bitcoin is a big player in the digital wallet space and we were hearing from our customers that they wanted the option to use bitcoin when buying Dell products. So, last summer we enabled US customers to make purchases on Dell.com with Bitcoin and have since expanded the payment option to the UK and Canada. US customers now also have the option to pay with Bitcoin via a mobile device. At first many said it would just be the consumer market using Bitcoin, but our biggest order was over $50k for a highly configured PowerEdge server made by a small to middle market company.
So as you can see, if the technology is invisible and removes friction allowing the customer to focus on the experience, you increase customer loyalty and dependence on the brand. What great experience have you had where technology falls to the background letting you enjoy your retail experience? Let me know in the comments below!
Be sure to join me again next month as I conclude this blog series by focusing on Connecting to the universal network to truly make a friction free customer experience.