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Tim Peter

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November 20, 2019

Amazon Go, Instant Gratification, and the Boring Future of Business (Thinks Out Loud Episode 265)

November 20, 2019 | By | No Comments

Amazon Go, Instant Gratification, and the Boring Future of Business: Picture of Amazon Go storeLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


Amazon Go, Instant Gratification, and the Boring Future of Business (Thinks Out Loud Episode 265) — Headlines and Show Notes

Amazon uses its Amazon Go stores to provide the shopping experience of the future. Swipe your phone when you enter, pick up your things, and simply walk out. No lines. No scanning products. Nothing. It's cool. It's also surprisingly… boring. Yes, it provides instant gratification. But it's an experience that's so invisible as to be, ultimately, uninteresting.

What is interesting though is how Amazon Go — and competing options as they come down the pike — will shape expectations for customer experience for every business. Your customers will expect instant gratification. They'll expect seamless experiences. They'll demand that their interactions with you become invisible. Or, the reverse:, much more interesting.

How can your company cope? How do you create these kinds of experiences? The latest episode of Thinks Out Loud takes a look at Amazon Go, instant gratification, and the boring future of business for you. And even better, offers answers for these questions for you.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you:

Amazon Go, Instant Gratification, and the Boring Future of Business (Thinks Out Loud Episode 265) — Relevant Links:

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 16m 11s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes, the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Amazon Go, Instant Gratification, and the Boring Future of Business (Thinks Out Loud Episode 265) — Transcript

Well, hello again, everyone and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter. And this is episode 265 of the big show. Thank you so much for tuning in. I know I say this every time but I really appreciate it. I wouldn't do the show if you didn't listen, so thanks so much for doing so.

I have a really cool, I think we've got a really cool show today. I think it's a neat topic. I finally got an opportunity to visit an Amazon Go store. They're popping up in a couple of places around the country and around the world. There's a few on the west coast, there are now a couple in New York City. And what's interesting, I talked about this a long time ago, and how this is the future of commerce and the future of e-commerce. And I have to say that I was right, and also, I was wrong.

Now, I want to start with, as you might imagine, I want to start with the fact where I was right. 🙂

What I'd said in a podcast episode, gosh, almost three years ago now, I said this shows how e-commerce will work in the future. And I think that's right. Now that I finally got the opportunity to actually visit one of these stores, it absolutely shows how things will work in the future. The thing about it, though, is what it shows is that it's going to be incredibly boring. And hear me out, hear me out on this because this is really important. There's a really critical point here that I want to make but hang with me for a minute till I get there.

Let's start with all the things that Amazon Go does wrong. So first, you have to download the app, which isn't a big deal, but you can't actually get in the store unless you have the app. Then I ran into a very particular problem that is probably distinct to me, in that they couldn't tie my Amazon account to the correct credit card. And that meant I couldn't get into the store. So the first time I went to the store, I was not able to get in. Nothing that I did, or the very courteous clerk who worked there tried, convinced Amazon that I was able to pay. And that meant that I couldn't come into the shop. The net result was that it was not in Amazon Go, it was Amazon Go away. I wouldn't call it a poor experience. There was no experience at all. But it certainly had a negative brand experience for me. It didn't make me real happy with Amazon. And their website did a terrible job of helping me understand the problem.

So, once I got to my hotel and I was able to pull out my laptop and figure out what was going on on the website, I was able to fix the issue. But it absolutely contributes to criticisms that people have had about how Amazon Go might limit access to low-income consumers or those without credit cards or those without smartphones.

So as bullish as I may be on mobile payments, which anybody who's listened to the show for a long time knows, and a more cashless society generally, certainly, some sort of recourse has to exist for people without those options. At which point, you're shutting out an entire segment of the population. That's bad for business, obviously. And also, it's just plain wrong. People should be able to transact with you if they have the ability to, regardless of whether or not they have a smartphone or a credit card. There should be some recourse. I don't know what the right answer is there, but there should be some solution.

Anyway, I want to get to the broader point at the same time. And for those of you who are listening who are like, "Well, I'm in B2B and none of this is going to apply," hang with me because this is really going to apply to you too. So, once I figured out the problem with my card and I configured the app to use it, I went back to the store. I pulled up the 3D barcode on the app, scanned the check-in and walked in. And as advertised, it's a really simple process. It's so simple, in fact, that it's scarcely registered for me what I had just done because it was kind of invisible. The store, meh, it was fine. It contains the same mix of shelf-stable and short-term refrigerated goods, like pre-wrapped sandwiches or microwave meals or sushi that you'd find in any small-footprint city center bodega. It's got razor blades, it's got deodorant, it's got pantyhose. If I didn't know I was in an Amazon Go, I could easily have mistaken it for a particularly classy gas station convenience store.

And let's be fair, that's probably more a compliment to gas station convenience stores than a criticism of Amazon. At the same time, it's not an unfair criticism. The store was just like any other store you ever used. So anyway, I grabbed a sandwich, I grabbed a diet Coke, I grabbed a Snickers bar, we all have our vices, and then I simply walked out of the store. It worked exactly as advertised. There was no muss, there was no fuss.

But this is the point. The point is, we live in a society where people expect instant gratification, and I got it. And what happens when you get instant gratification is, it becomes invisible.

This wasn't so much a great experience as it didn't even register what I'd just done. It was like getting out of an Uber. When you get out of an Uber, you don't notice anything because nothing happens. The receipt shows up in your app right after you leave and is accurate, right? Which is what happens with Uber, what happens with Amazon Go. It was completely fine, completely invisible, and completely boring. It worked but in the least visible way possible. And this is what I want to make as the broader point. Instant gratification is what your customers are going to expect, they're starting to expect. They see it today with Uber. Now we're starting to see it with Amazon Go. We will see it with other services, other products.

Think about what it used to be like to check out of a hotel versus what it's like today. It just ceases to exist. And that's actually cool on one level, but it means that you're going to have to work harder to differentiate yourself on customer experience. Because the experience of payment, the experience of shopping, the experience of interacting with you, customers will expect to be invisible. I kind of equated this to automatic sliding doors, right? If you remember the original Star Trek or The Jetsons, right? Sliding doors were this big deal, oh my gosh, you just walk and the doors open. When's the last time you thought about a sliding door anywhere? They just exist everywhere, they're invisible. And that's a thing that technology does generally, is it becomes invisible over time, and that's what we're going to see here.

Now, let's talk about the broader implications of this. It means that you have to provide those invisible experiences because visible gets in the way of instant gratification. Visible gets in the way of customer expectation. So it's not that you have to be invisible to give people a good experience. It's not that you have to do these things to give people a good experience. It's that if you are visible, by definition, it's going to be a bad experience unless you specifically do something to make it a good experience. And that's going to be true regardless of whether people are doing B2C or B2B or anything along the way. Because that's the world in which your customers live in. Jean-Yves Gonin on Twitter was talking about how B2B buyers are B2C consumers. And as e-commerce experiences explode… Due to e-commerce experiences' explosive growth, their expectations change, right? This was something that PwC and Salesforce and Mike Quindazzi said at Dreamforce, and it's exactly right.

We know that 65% of B2B buyers prefer to conduct their research online. We know that 37% of small businesses B2B respondents and 31% of enterprise businesses say that they conduct their business online completely. Lori Wizdo at Forrester has been saying something similar for years, noting that on average, 74% of business buyers told Forrester they conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase. Clearly, in B2C, the numbers are equally large, if not much, much larger. And so, you have to create great experiences. When I say "customer experience is queen, what does that mean?" this is what I'm talking about.

And if I can bring in one last point about this, this is where artificial intelligence is going to play a big role because it's going to help you understand, how do we make our experiences invisible? You have to be creative to say, "And if it is visible, how do we make it not painful?" But the AI should be able to help you understand, here's our pain points. Here are places where we can streamline the experience more effectively, and do so in a cost-effective manner, do so in a way that we can scale easily.

There's a really great article on QSR magazine, quick-service restaurants, where Starbucks talks about why AI is a differentiator for the future. And it has to do with predictive analytics, and it has to do with better understanding the customer, and it has to do with making those experiences invisible, improving instant gratification for their customers.

So the big idea behind all of this is that Amazon Go is the future of e-commerce, the future of commerce generally. And the future is boring because it's not going to be visible. It's going to be the things that are visible create problems unless you explicitly take action to make them not problems for your customers. So you need to think about, how do we take the visible and either make it better or make it invisible for our customers at every step along their journey? Do we have the right data and do we have the right analytics that help us understand where those pain points exist? And do we have a creative team who can help us figure out what to do when we encounter those places where we are more visible than we should be and not in a good way?

Because this is the world your customers live in. This is the reality that they're going to expect. Instant gratification builds on itself, that your customers are going to expect to get things easily, painlessly, seamlessly. And if they don't, they're going to go find somebody else who does help them. Because you can't have instant gratification if it isn't instant and if you're not gratified. You can help your customers solve for that or they'll find somebody who will.

Now, looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week. But I want to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode, as well as an archive of all our past episodes, by going to TimPeter.com/podcast. Again, that's TimPeter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 265. While you're there, you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find to have Thinks Out Loud delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single week. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcast or Stitcher Radio or whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. You can find us on all the finest podcast services anywhere in the world. Just do a search for Tim Peter Thinks, Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud, or Thinks Out Loud. We should show up for any of those. While you're there, I'd also very much appreciate it if you could provide us a positive rating and review. That gives other listeners a window into the show and helps them understand that's something they'd like to listen to too. It makes it easier for people to find us and it would mean a ton to me.

You can also find Thinks Out Loud on Facebook by going to facebook.com/TimPeterAssociates. You can find me on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter. And of course, you can email me by sending an email to podcast@timpeter.com. Again, that's podcast@timpeter.com.

I'd like to thank our sponsor. Thinks Out Loud is brought to you by SoloSegment. SoloSegment focuses on AI-driven content discovery and site search analytics to unlock revenue for your business. You can learn more about how to improve your content, increase your customer satisfaction, and make your search smarter, by going to solosegment.com.

With that, I want to say thanks so much for tuning in. I very much appreciate it. I hope you have a great rest of the week, a wonderful weekend, and I'll look forward to speaking with you here on Thinks Out Loud next time. Until then, please be well, be safe and as ever, take care, everybody.

Tim Peter

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February 16, 2018

8 Excellent Insights Into AI and the Changing Customer Journey: E-commerce Link Digest

February 16, 2018 | By | No Comments

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8 Excellent Insights Into Ai and the Changing Customer Journey: Customer using VR goggles to explore a virtual worldHey, Big Thinkers. We’re going to skip all the setup today and simply show you this list of 8 excellent insights into AI and the changing customer journey. Enjoy:

  1. It’s clear that technology plays a crucial role in shaping customer behavior. And that’s why MarketingProfs leads us off with a great infographic that asks what new technologies do consumers really want? Good stuff.
  2. While we’re looking at technologies that will change customer behaviors and expectations, don’t miss this recent episode of our e-commerce and digital strategy podcast, Thinks Out Loud, that asked will this be the year of AI in digital marketing? Spoiler alert: The answer is yes. But give a listen to the whole thing to find out why that matters for your business.
  3. Marketing Insider Group adds their voice to the chorus singing AI’s praises with this explanation of how AI will make marketing more personalized in 2018 . Well worth your time.
  4. @MarTechExec said on Twitter, “Here’s the irony: as much as the hype has overstated what AI might do for marketing in the next 12-24 months, the reality of how AI is already working in marketing today is often under-recognized” while linking to a fantastic article at Chiefmartec.com about artificial intelligence as one of the 5 disruptions to marketing this year.
  5. Meanwhile, MarTech Advisor outline four use cases of machine learning in marketing that you’ll probably want to know about.
  6. On a similar note, we’d rounded up 11 outstanding insights into AI and digital marketing along with a list of 7 ways you can use AI in B2B sales and marketing that are definitely worth your time.
  7. Of course, with all these changes brought about by major shifts in technology and customer behaviors, you might wonder how you can keep up. Fortunately, Mark Schaefer and Tom Webster’s near-perfect podcast recently tackled the new marketing career and asked, “What do you need to do to remain relevant?” Our own podcast looked at the problem not long ago and produced an episode titled, “How to Keep Up With Technology as a Marketer: The Quick and Dirty Guide.”
  8. Finally, let’s round out our list of 8 excellent insights into AI and the changing customer journey with two recent podcast episodes that explore 6 proven digital marketing trends and offer the following advice, deal with it: digital makes marketing easier for everyone, which makes marketing harder for everyone

Have a great weekend, everyone. We’ll catch you back here next week!

If you’re looking to learn even more about how changing customer behavior will shape your marketing going forward, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

Tim Peter

By

February 9, 2018

10 Posts Connecting AI and Customer Experience: E-commerce Link Digest

February 9, 2018 | By | No Comments

Looking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


10 Posts Connecting AI and Customer Experience: Using a mobile phone to understand products in store

Hey, Big Thinkers! Crazy week, so I hope you don’t mind if we skip the setup and get right to this list of 10 posts connecting AI and customer experience. Enjoy:

  1. Kicking things off, Scott Monty wrote a fantastic piece for Brand Quarterly all about reclaiming humanity in business. Really good stuff.
  2. Scott’s piece was part of the inspiration behind a recent episode of Thinks Out Loud, our e-commerce and digital strategy podcast, called “Want to Beat the Machines? Don’t Be a Machine.” Be sure to give it a listen when you get a moment.
  3. Marketing Insider Group takes a great look at how AI will make marketing more personalized in 2018.
  4. Digital Trends adds to the discussions saying, don’t be fooled by sci-fi stories — AI for good is on the rise.
  5. Search Engine Watch looks at artificial intelligence and machine learning and asks, “What are the opportunities for search marketers?”
  6. We’ve also rounded-up a set of 11 outstanding insights into AI and digital marketing in the E-commerce Link Digest series and asked ”Will This Be The Year of AI in Digital Marketing?” in a recent episode of Thinks Out Loud.
  7. Retail Dive explains why Amazon Go is more like Amazon ‘Uh oh’ for other retailers. More importantly, it raises the bar for what customers will expect from everyone over time.
  8. On a highly-related note, Mark de Bruijn has an amazing piece all about providing a seamless customer experience titled, “I want it all, I want it now” that you must see.
  9. Another great Retail Dive joint shows how Amazon’s Alexa mobile app has finally found its voice, adding full Alexa capabilities to your mobile phone. Cool.
  10. And, finally, let’s wrap up this look at 10 posts connecting AI and customer experience with a set of 6 Proven Digital Marketing Trends (The Best of Thinks Out Loud). Give it a listen when you get a chance.

Have a great weekend, Big Thinkers. Catch you back here next week!

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

Tim Peter

By

January 18, 2018

5 Top Digital Trends for 2018 (Thinks Out Loud Episode 210)

January 18, 2018 | By | No Comments

Looking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


5 Top Digital Trends for 2018 (Thinks Out Loud Episode 210): Company employees reviewing top digital trends

5 Top Digital Trends for 2018 (Thinks Out Loud Episode 210) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

You might also enjoy these past posts:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 15m 38s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Tim Peter

By

July 14, 2017

8 Killer Posts Connecting Content, E-commerce, and Customer Experience: E-commerce Link Digest

July 14, 2017 | By | No Comments

Looking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


Customers checking out 8 killer posts connecting content, e-commerce, and customer experienceHey, Big Thinkers! Hope you’ve had an amazing week and are ready for a great weekend ahead. We’ve rounded-up an amazing set of 8 killer posts connecting content, e-commerce, and customer experience. And I hope you do too. Enjoy:

  1. Leading off, we’ve got “A Dozen Don’t-Miss Digital Strategy Posts” from the E-commerce Link Digest series for you to explore.
  2. A key part of that digital strategy? Connecting content and customer experience. That’s why we say, “Content is King, Customer Experience is Queen.”
  3. We also asked the key question, “Customer Experience is Queen? What Does That Mean?” so you don’t have to. Check it out to see what it’s all about.
  4. Of course, it’s not just us. Brand Quarterly reports on “Generation UX,” and explains why customers now expect great experience everywhere they go.
  5. McKinsey & Company also offers a near-perfect primer on how to connect customer experience and digital with “The CEO Guide to Customer Experience.” Great stuff. I highlighted this link once before in our round-up of “10 Posts Showing How the C-Suite Views Customer Experience,” but it’s well-worth another look.
  6. Building on that theme, We Are Social looks at “How Brands Can Make Social Commerce Work.” The key quote highlights how “Photo-centric platforms like Instagram and Pinterest offer attractive options here, allowing brands to showcase a lifestyle and build up their brand story.” In other words, selling the entire customer experience in a manner consistent with your customer’s expectations on his or her favorite platform.
  7. Given this shift, it’s fair to ask, “Is There a Future for Marketing?” as the fine folks over at Marketing Tech News. They also claim, “The change will come quicker than we think.” I agree, but would argue it’s already here, further emphasizing why we’ve got to create great experiences everywhere our customer connect with our brands.
  8. Finally, a past post asked, “Will E-commerce Kill Retail?” In a word: No. At least not if you do it right. So be sure to check out the whole post to see how to do just that.

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

  • 7 Must-See Posts Highlighting How to Market Your Hotel in the Future: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest
  • 6 Stellar Insights into Personalization for Hotel Marketing: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest
  • In a mobile-only world will airlines charge for web bookings?
  • Hospitality Digital Marketing and Distribution: Is it Time to Give Up?