The Britton Digital Update—Week of January 23, 2017

Five minutes to get you up to speed on this week’s digital, business, social media, entertainment, and marketing news

It’s an amazing statistic: Ninety-two percent of online consumers don’t intend to buy during a first visit to your website. They might search for a product or compare prices, but, according to an Episerver report of over 1,100 U.S. consumers, they have no intention of making a purchase. Other findings from the study include how online consumers expect brands to know their purchase histories (43 percent), their personal interests (25 percent), and their demographics (20 percent). Basically, online consumers are looking for brands to use data to give them a smooth user experience. They are looking for brands to make content relevant and to help tell the story of how the brand can impact their lives. At Britton Marketing & Design Group, we often talk to clients about these very same things: user experience (UX), relevant content, and storytelling. In a world where 92 percent of online consumers don’t intend to make a purchase on their first visit, you’d better have reasons for them to come back.

Each week, we give you the latest digital news so you can be informed and use your time more efficiently. To keep you coming back, we hope to deliver a great UX, whether you are reading on your phone, your laptop, or even listening to a podcast (coming soon). Here’s what happened this week in digital news, with a UX theme.

Testing, Testing … One, Two, Three

According to Facebook’s latest figures, the company employs more than 15,724 people. It’s basically a small army (without the pushups). This happens to work out well for Mark Zuckerberg—since it seems like it would take a small army not only to run Facebook’s existing products but also to constantly develop and test new features to enhance its UX. Several of those new feature tests came to light in a very busy week for Facebook. Ireland was introduced to Facebook Stories, which is a rip-off of Instagram Stories, which itself was a rip-off of Snapchat (Instagram even admitted that). Much like its competitors’ features, Facebook Stories disappears after 24 hours and includes filters and stickers.

Another test is happening now in Austria and Thailand in which users of Facebook Messenger are seeing business ads on their home screen. Facebook is careful to point out that “no one will see an ad in a conversation without clicking on an ad experience on the Messenger home screen or starting a conversation with a brand—these test ads won’t originate in your conversations.” It is important to note that Facebook tests new features in different locations quite frequently, and not all features advance to global status. These, however, seem to be more of an “if” than a “when.”

In addition to new testing, Facebook updated its Trending Topics feature to no longer include personalization. Previously, you and I (if we were in the same region) could both see a different set of trending topics. Going forward, everyone in the same region will see the same trending topics. There is no word on if the 15,724 employees of Facebook are considered their own region. One thing is for sure: Facebook understands that the better the UX, the longer you will use Facebook and the more ads you will see (which means more money for, you guessed it, Facebook).

Easy Button 2.0

We all remember the Staples “That was easy!” commercials. Some of us may even have had a big red button on top of our desks that exclaimed the famous phrase when it was pressed. At a recent National Retail Federation convention, Staples announced a brilliant move that brings the Easy Button into 2017, with some help from IBM Watson.

Think of the new button like the Amazon Echo Dot. The button is voice-activated and “lets customers order the Staples products that they need via voice, text, email, messaging apps, or mobile app.” The same way you would ask Alexa to order you something from Amazon, you can ask the easy button to order you paper or pens. Thanks to IBM Watson’s machine-learning capabilities, it personalizes the experience and knows which pens, paper, or other supplies you prefer. Now it truly can be an “easy button” and make getting office supplies easier instead of just being a gimmick.

Stapes has plans to beta-test the technology soon in about 100 offices. A successful test could lead to increased order size and frequency, and I imagine a few customers exclaiming, “Wow, that really was easy!”

Just Do It—the Experience

Nike has long been known for not only its superior products but also for selling the experiences and emotions that go along with them. With the debut of Nike Miami, its newest retail experience in the heart of Miami’s shopping district, Nike puts the products, experiences, and services under one roof. It’s not just a shoe store (like Foot Locker). It’s a personalized immersive experience.

Whether you’re gearing up for your first yoga class, committing to a New Year’s resolution, or kicking the soccer ball around on our in-store pitch, Nike Miami will help you raise your game,” said Heidi O’Neill, Nike’s president of global direct to consumer. There is also a lounge with a women’s boutique featuring a treadmill, enhanced fitting rooms, and personal styling service. There is a dedicated service space to consult with Nike-certified store experts. In addition, there is an area called the Stands, “an in-store space where consumers can connect with one another and experience live in-store programming, including Nike+ Member Sessions.” In case you missed it, that’s a place where people can connect over sports and that includes exclusive content and access. That’s not Foot Locker and it’s certainly not Payless Shoes. Nike understands that if you want to compete for customers offline, you’d better bring your UX A game to brick-and-mortar, too.

Pay-as-You-Go Car Insurance?

Like many others, I’m a fan of disruptors. When Steve Jobs and Apple introduced the iPhone, it completely disrupted the mobile-phone industry and turned it on its head. We look at phones completely different thanks to Apple. A Scottish company called Cuvva is trying to do the same thing, but in the auto-insurance industry. It is trying to reach the European consumer who owns a car but rarely drives it. “Why pay the same price as a traveling salesman when your car is stationary?” is what Cuvva’s website asks. It has created a service that can give you (if you are a European driver, that is) temporary insurance. You pay a monthly service fee and then access an app to activate full insurance coverage when you are going to drive, and then you deactivate it when you aren’t. Basically, you are paying for insurance only when you are driving.

I’m not sure this could be pulled off in the United States, due to regulations, but it is a pretty interesting concept. And while I don’t think most big insurance companies would go this route, this idea does do something right: It focuses on fulfilling a need and creating an easy UX.

For the rest of the news this past week, here’s a compilation of the best news stories that we don’t have time to expound upon but that you should probably take notice of:

If you liked this, check out our previous Digital Update posts or the Digital Update on Flipboard.

You think you know Britton? Well, This Is Britton.

Photos: BMDG

Dave Goode

Dave Goode

My name is Dave B. Goode (yes, it is my real name). If it sounds like a radio name, it is—well, it was. I had a 22-year radio-broadcasting career as a brand manager and morning-show host. I’m an amateur photographer. I love to cook. I am obsessed with social media. I have come to the realization that Chia Pet seeds do not work on a human head and that it is OK to be bald.

Meet Dave Goode