What Can Digital Businesses Learn From The Big Disruptors? 2

What Can Digital Businesses Learn From The Big Disruptors?

In recent years we’ve not only seen some major transformations in the way we shop online – but also how we go about our daily lives. From zipping from one place to another via an Uber to staying in people’s homes via Airbnb and getting food delivered to our front door via sites like Hungry House. All these brands are digital at their core. Fast, easy and instant digital service offerings have made our lives much easier.

Whether you’re on board with these disruptive companies (we know some of them have had a lot of bad press, ahem, Uber), they’re here to stay. And there are a lot of customer and user experience lessons we can learn from their innovations. Companies like Netflix and Amazon have found a way to solve existing customer experience issues.

They’ve given customers instant access to what they want, when they want. Everything you could ever want is just a click away, and some sites serve up the goods on a platter in a much quicker, more effective way. So what exactly are they doing? How have these new giants managed to obtain such loyal audiences in a digital age?

Every second counts

If you create good experience why would someone think about going elsewhere? Save the customer their most important asset, which is their time. What do these sites have in common? They all make our lives easier by speeding up tasks that originally taken more time and offering instant gratification. The more friction you can remove from someone’s time commitment, the better the experience the happier the customer.

‘Today’s consumer is demanding yet curious, fussy but impatient. Like a toddler, basically.’ Campaignlive.co.uk

Amazon offers its customers next day delivery, Netflix has given people instant access to TV series and films, and Uber lets you order a cab from your smartphone. When it comes to user experience online, it’s fair to say every second counts. People have limited patients these days, and won’t tolerate sluggish, unresponsive apps or websites.

Leverage the right technology

Right now it’s crucial that companies carefully consider which technology to adopt. Sure, there are loads of exciting options, but that doesn’t mean you should jump on the bandwagon – unless it’s right for your business.

But what these big disruptors have all done is utilise smart technology that streamlines processes and delivers a user experience that’s a cut above the rest. But when it comes to technology and user experience, you can’t have one without the other. When it first launched, Airbnb’s UX was pretty poor. The concept was there, but they had to make big changes to make their platform more user-friendly, and that’s a huge contributor to their success.

“Design is taken very seriously here,” says Alex Schleifer, VP of design. “It’s on the same level as product management or marketing.”

With virtual reality and AI on the horizon, many companies are fighting to be the first to get on board. But when it comes to technology it’s not a one size fits all approach, you have to go with what works best for your business and your audience.

Limited obstacles and friction

Again, kind of related to time because obstacles slow down users, but they also leave people feeling irritated. When someone uses your site or app, you want them to feel like they reached their goal easily, and leave your site feeling content. Pinpoint any potentially moments where there might be friction, and think, could there be a better way? The more friction you can remove from someone’s time commitment, the better the experience the happier the customer.

‘At Airbnb, we’re reducing the friction for Hosts to list and manage their spaces as well as for Guests to book them. By creating a frictionless online experience, we’re enabling people to experience a different kind of friction that offers something much more meaningful— the friction inherent to travel.’ Steve Selzer

Automated where possible

By 2020, 85 percent of our interactions with brands are expected to occur through digital channels. Yet another thing these brands all do is offer seemingly humanless experiences, at least to a point. You can book an Airbnb without speaking to a human, you don’t even have to meet the host. Netflix is all done online, no need to call up like you would with Sky or BT, or have to wait for installation.

You sign up, pay your monthly subscription and you’re good to go, you can start streaming your favourite shows right away. It is of course true that in some instances there’s a requirement for human contact, but if you can automate the majority of the user journey without any major stumbling blocks, you’re doing something right.

Don’t be afraid to go against the grain

And finally, perhaps the most important point. The main thing websites can learn from these businesses is not to be afraid of challenging industry norms. These brands did, and they proved that there is a better way to do things. Because, in reality, we’re constantly improving things, so there will always be a better way.

Take Amazon for example, they’re not content with disrupting worldwide delivery, they’re now also trying to nab a piece of the live sports pie, along with Facebook. It’s not surprising Amazon.com, Inc. is on track to reach $1 trillion in market capitalization by 2022, according to a sum-of-the-parts analysis from Jefferies analyst Brent Thill.

Uber is also expanding into food delivery with its new service Uber Eats, which will deliver food in 100 new cities. They’re constantly disrupting and now the food delivery industry has to up its customer service game to compete with them.

Don’t be so cautious that you avoid trying new things and innovative ways of delivering an online service to your customers. If you work with a smart UX agency like us, you can utilise our knowledge and user testing to ensure any changes are likely to make the right impact. We help to empower businesses in a digital world.Contact us today for more information.

Andrew Machin
Andrew Machin

With over 25 years’ experience in UX and digital strategy, Andrew has helped many national and global brands such as John Lewis, Harley Davidson, Johnson & Johnson, and Interflora create exceptional digital product experiences.

Through the success of such projects Andrew has received high-profile accolades that span innovation, strategy, and design, such as the Dadi Grand Prix Award and the Digital Impact Award for Innovation.

This experience has led to Andrew judging digital design awards, been featured in .net magazine, lecturing at Leeds university, and speaking at seminars and conferences across the UK.

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