The digital economy.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Digital quality in times of growing competition
Goodbye App X , Hello App Y
Digital properties are the number one gateway to today’s brands. Due to the fast-paced nature of the consumer lifestyle, mobile apps, and websites both on mobile and desktop are almost the only way a large percentage of consumers interact with companies. The digital economy has become a highly competitive paving in recent years: more and more companies compete with an increasing number of services for the attention of the user. For brands this means that the digital experiences they provide must meet the always-high expectations of their users. The experience must be bug-free and enjoyable – not only the first time, but every time. If not, users will switch to a competitor with a single click.
There is one thing that all companies should keep at the forefront of their minds: users are generally not loyal to brands, and they are willing to switch to the competition in a matter of seconds, and with zero switching cost. The app atmosphere is saturated by competition, which means that any brand and any service need to work hard, and act fast in order to preserve customers and keep them happy. For consumers, if the app crashes while checking out items - Goodbye retail app x, hello retail app y. Is it hard for users to find that story on news outlet A’s mobile website? If it’s on a competitor’s site, where the layout is easier to follow, consumers will happily say goodbye to News Outlet A and switch to News Outlet B where it is simply a breeze to find any story.
On top of ‘domestic’ competition, more and more Israelis are buying online from international sites that provide excellent service supported by first-rate apps: Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, Asos, Next, and more. In fact, in the first quarter of 2016, there was a 40% increase in international transactions as reported by Israeli credit companies. Considering that the average transaction is less than 50 shekels, Israelis are not only enjoying a great user experience, but also great deals. For Israeli companies, these are the reasons why the shopping experience that they, as local brands, offer must be slick, fun, and provide added value to users that have abundant options. The Loud Voice of Users
To please your users, you must first listen and try to understand their point-of-view. Users today can and will be loud about their feelings of a website or app. Just a few years ago, it took quite a while for word-of-mouth to help or hurt a brand. Now, with app store reviews, combined with social media and sites like Yelp!, a memorable brand experience is shared with thousands of potential customers within minutes. You only get one chance for (a good) first impression, and that’s why when the product hits the stores it has to be flawless. If user sentiment is negative, and it goes viral, it can mean the loss of potential and current customers as well as permanent damage to your brand.
Even before listening to the loud voice of your users, you first need to know who and where your target audience lives, works and plays. This point is extremely crucial in terms of expanding your brand and localizing it in order to reach new audiences. For example, English speaking countries will be less tolerant to imperfect interface in terms of language, than other international users that chose to operate the app or platform in their local language.
Testing here in Israel has become an important part of many global brands. Israeli users are both tech savvy and app groupies. They’re fast learners, which makes them intolerant of even minor glitches. They will be very honest with how they feel about your product, and if they love it, they will want the world to hear it. Israeli users take extra precaution in terms of cyber attacks and threats, if online purchasing in your app doesn't convey the uber-secure calming vibe, they just won’t do it. The Tough Battle For the Digital Pole Position
The digital economy has tightened the pace of innovation, and brands have to deliver updates and new features in increasingly shorter intervals. Add to that the ever-increasing number of different devices, operating systems and carriers that need to be attended to, as well as maintaining digital quality can seem like an insurmountable task.
Which is why successful brands like Gett, Huliyo, Clalit, Bank Hapoalim, and Moovit stay vigilant. They perpetually listen to their users as a guiding principle.
Only those brands that understand the complete digital experience through the eyes of its users are able to see where aspects of the experience need to be changed or optimized.
If you want to earn more loyal customers and turn your already-loyal customers into loud advocates for your brand, listen to your customers, even before they become your customers. Because in today’s digital economy, they are the ones who determine quality and which brands succeed or fail.
Michael Weinberg is the GM and VP of Applause Israel, a digital quality and testing company.