Watch the War Between Friction and Reward Play Out
This article was originally published June 1st, 2018
Getting a clean and clear message across is a challenging thing for a tech startup if, like us, you’re creating a new category. A metric like ours has never existed before, so we often have to include a preamble to explain what’s changed in the world to make us necessary. So the advert below from iZettle comes as a helpful boost because it almost literally shows the war between low-friction and high-reward.
I can bang on about friction and reward as much as I like but only the first part of that is generally recognised by retailers. Friction is on everyone’s lips because it makes sense, to the point where the prevailing logic for many is that reducing friction is the only way to stay alive in the new reality. That’s cobblers but it’s pervasive and attractive cobblers because friction is easier to define and deal with.
Reward is all those things that a customer gets from choosing to fulfil their shopping mission in a particular way; harder to define but crazy powerful. Sometimes, for sure, the only reward a customer wants is the lowest price and reliable fulfilment of a low friction transaction, that’s where Amazon excels but what we’re seeing is that it’s boring retailers with little reward that are the ones collapsing, not specifically the high-friction retailers.
Now, the protagonist’s bakery here might be doomed anyway, certainly she could do with maybe making up less perishable stock but it’s the exaggerated point being made that explodes home. iZettle are doing that championing of the little guy thing which is noble and everything but what I see is the triumph of human-scale retail and of the sort of values that we’re seeing customers, right across demographics, react very strongly to; authenticity, craft, artisanal value, warmth and meaningful engagement. That is where reward lives.