Zero-effort Convenience Has Become a Commodity

This a new phase, but I also believe that we are evolving towards a world where this ultimate, zero-effort convenience has become a commodity.

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  • In the past few years, I wrote quite a lot about effortless customer interfaces. I still strongly believe that if you want to be successful as a company, you must go for zero customer effort in every phase of the customer journey. And if you look back to the past decade, this is exactly how companies Uber, Airbnb, Domino’s and Amazon became a big hit because they simply excelled in customer convenience. Think of the Amazon Go stores, where you can just walk in and out with your products. Or Domino’s Zero-Click Ordering App relies on the consumer’s personalised profile to place an order without requiring a single click.

    A new phase

    But I also believe we are evolving towards a world where this ultimate, zero-effort convenience has become a commodity. Customers today believe that offering ultra-convenient services is the most normal thing in the world. It’s like a “basic” need, not a differentiator. And that means that if you are not convenient enough, you will lose customers to the competition which has invested in the matter.

    That means that we’re entering a brand new phase. What we are going to experience in the next ten years is an evolution from effortless interfaces to enhanced interfaces.

    When you think about Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of the metaverse and all the opportunities he sees there, it’s very clear that the next step will be convenience and entertainment. And convenience plus digital reality and three-dimensional opportunities. Think about all the new forms of entertainment that will grow out of this intersection. Think about all the new ways of holding business meetings. In all of these aspects and more – shopping, networking, learning – the metaverse will push us to develop a completely new, immersive and spatial way of thinking. Where effortless services are the most normal thing in the world and where making the entire package enhanced and cool will be the actual differentiator.

    A real-world metaverse

    You probably know that I’m a huge Disney fan. So when they announced that they filed for some patents related to metaverse technology and are getting together a dedicated metaverse team of senior employees, I got excited. They announced that they want to add a third dimension to their storytelling and believe that is the next great horizon for Disney and entertainment in general. What’s special about Disney’s patent for a “virtual-world simulator in a real-world venue” is that it’s not the VR-google experience that most people associate with the metaverse. It’s more of an augmented reality (AR) approach, but even there, it is slightly different.

    With AR tech, computer-generated images appear through a device, be it a smartphone or a pair of augmented glasses. Instead, Disney developed a system similar to a movie projector to project images on a real surface. The result is that it offers an experience that feels much more real and tangible than looking at it through a screen. Also, there’s no need for a virtual reality headset, augmented reality glasses or goggles, which are also always an asset in pandemic times (and more practical and affordable).

    Disney dreams about creating theme parks where you can add digital experiences to everything you see and hear. Just think about how they could change Disney’s world if it’s populated with all kinds of digital but very real-looking characters. If kids could meet Mickey digitally so that they don’t have to wait in line to take a picture with the physical version. Think about how that could reinvent waiting lines, one of the last points of friction that Disney still needs to solve. Just imagine how the metaverse could change the experience of having to wait 30 minutes or even an hour for a ride.

    I truly believe that this will be the next phase of interfaces, where we will reinvent the entire experience for the customer: moving beyond convenience towards enhancement.


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