Your 2–3 Business Day Service Can Fit into an On-Demand Economy
The idea that I can pull out my iPhone, order a cab, lunch, and a new girlfriend within about 10 minutes is mind-boggling. Immediacy is no longer a convenience, but is now an expectation by the majority of young consumers.
However, you’re not always going to be able to provide instantaneous service. Maybe you’re a hand-made artwork shop, an insurance company, or even just 1,000 miles away from your average customer.
Here are some important qualities you can use to attract a modern consumer despite a preexisting obstacle.
Open any Business 101 text book and one of the first chapters is all about “transparency,” however, the effectiveness of executing a completely transparent approach is undervalued in the average business. Here’s what happens when you implement communication into your brand experience.
Of course, I can’t write an article about instant gratification without talking about Uber. However, this isn’t about how much time or money Uber can save you, because I’m here to argue that those qualities aren’t superior to the competition.
The average time it takes for me to order a city cab vs. an Uber is, in fact, negligible. The main point of differentiation is not actually how long it takes to get an Uber, but how much physical effort I’m willing to exert.
What really sets Uber apart from a traditional cab is the fact that one button calls a single driver, and that driver comes to me. All the while, the driver’s exact position is pushed to my phone. This subtle GPS tracking trick subconsciously makes me feel as though I’m saving time, even if I am not. It’s this complete communication about where all drivers are and how long it’s going to take for my driver to reach me that entices me to trust Uber more than I would trust a traditional taxi cab.
I could stand out on Diversey Parkway and hold out my hand, but I can never really know for sure how long it will take to get a cab, even if the time is about the same. With Uber, I know exactly where the driver is and how long it will take him/her to reach me.
So yes, Uber is an instantly gratifying service, but it’s time to my feet and cost per trip presents no clear advantage over the competition. The idea of a cab is about saving time inherent in itself.
Uber’s clear advantage is communication, not time.
Deliver an Experience
One of the most important takeaways you should understand is that just because you can’t deliver a product/service at the time of request/purchase doesn’t mean that you can’t deliver an experience. When a customer clicks “buy,” they are the single most engaged type of audience you will ever have. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with that individual.
My favorite “experience” brand is by far and away, Warby Parker. We’re not talking about the ease of ordering a pair of frames or their fantastic customer service that everyone raves about, we’re talking about the “Warby Parker experience.” The process of buying a pair of frames, start to finish.
One of the drawbacks to ordering glasses online is that I miss the opportunity to stand in front of a mirror and see how the frames fit my face like I would at a traditional brick and mortar store. Warby Parker addresses this obstacle by delivering five trial frames for free.
I have a few days to try each pair I picked out online to see which pair I like the best. Once I’ve chosen my favorite pair, I’ve actually spent more time making my decision. However, I don’t have a salesman breathing down my neck. While I’m delaying the time it takes to get the final frame in hand, subconsciously I am more comfortable with my purchasing decision. This comfort and space leads me to be happier, and more engaged with my purchase.
While I’m trying on a pair of glasses, I can (and do) participate in a conversation online with Warby Parker and its consumers using the hashtag #WarbyHomeTryOn. This user-generated content is overwhelmingly positive and uses its customers as a free marketing vehicle. People respond and converse about their favorite pairs of glasses. During this conversation, Warby Parker is actively participating with users on these channels.
Once I’ve chosen my pair, I mail back all of the frames and indicate which pair I want online. Warby Parker immediately sends a personal response to notify me that my glasses are on the way. All in all, I personally fell in love with my glasses so much that it became a symbol of my brand, and much of that stems from the comfortable, engaging, and relevant experience of buying from Warby parker.
It’s important to recognize that, as a society, we will always be looking for a way to do things faster, better, and cheaper. It is a basic element of human survival. However, I believe that the idea of time is overrated. It’s what you do with that time that is the most valuable asset of them all.