tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/web-design Latest Design content from Econsultancy 2016-11-22T11:00:00+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68544 2016-11-22T11:00:00+00:00 2016-11-22T11:00:00+00:00 Disrupting loyalty: How can hotels become enablers, not just destinations? Anton Schubert <h3>Power to the people</h3> <p>In recent months Futurice has created eight retail trends that focus on a 2020 vision for the retail and consumer markets.</p> <p>One of these trends is particularly important for hospitality and especially hotels in terms of how they engage with their guests to improve loyalty and re-booking.</p> <p>The trend is called <strong>“Power to the People”</strong> and has three aspects:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>1. Crowd-sourced: </strong>As services become increasingly powered by peers, what are the different implications for customers and companies? What does trust and loyalty look like in a crowd-sourced market?</li> <li> <strong>2. Be the enabler: </strong>How can brands flex their power and use their network better to enable engaging customer experiences far outside their core offer?</li> <li> <strong>3. Global localist: </strong>Customers trust traditional brands and are simultaneously excited by boutique / bespoke experiences. The future might bring a combination of the two. Can your company start preparing for this now?</li> </ul> <p>For this blog, I’d like to talk about the second aspect; Be the enabler.</p> <h3>Be the enabler</h3> <p>IKEA recently set up a space in Shoreditch, London called <a href="http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/ikea/campaigns/the-dining-club/">the Dining Club</a>.</p> <p>This is one really cool example of what we mean when we talk about brands enabling people to have an experience that is often outside the company’s core offer.</p> <p>IKEA built on the insight that there has been a 22% drop in social groups, especially families, spending time together eating.</p> <p>They have also understood that it’s becoming harder for people to afford the cost of eating out. But the real magic about this concept is that it enables a human moment, a shared experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1678/Picture2.png" alt="ikea dinner club" width="550" height="310"></p> <p>An experience that is social and long lasting in the memories of the people involved. A moment much more compelling than a Sunday trip to IKEA to buy crockery and curtain rails.</p> <p>In essence <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67694-10-examples-of-great-ikea-marketing-creative/">IKEA</a> is using its core products and brand to enable a more fulfilling experience that helps create robust brand loyalty.</p> <h3>So how could this apply to the hotel business?</h3> <p>Hotels are in a pretty good starting position, especially ones that are well networked and in great locations, be it city central or countryside.</p> <p>The hotel is a fantastic hub for the location it’s in and could be doing much more to help guests get the most out of their trip. Don’t get me wrong - I’m not talking lobby leaflets to local attractions or even the most helpful and knowledgeable front desk staff.</p> <p>I’m a business traveller, and a gold member of a large hotel chain that is affiliated with many travel and hospitality partners around the world. I get all the usual benefits.</p> <p>An upgrade here and there, free early check in, hotel restaurant vouchers, discounts from certain car rentals, a MasterCard with no annual fee, and last but not least a free bottle of water when I check in.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1679/Picture3.png" alt="mastercard fees" width="600" height="368"></p> <p>This is all well and good but honestly, I don’t want any of the above. I stay in so many hotels that the last thing I want is a benefit that makes me spend even more time in the hotel doing boring hotel stuff.</p> <p>I’d rather be given something exclusive that makes me feel special, something that I couldn’t do without the help of my hotel.</p> <p>My advice to hotel brands is to leverage their local networks and partners, allowing them to widen their offer. This includes connecting with locals who bring a different kind of value into the mix.</p> <p>I think a mindset change is needed <strong>from hotel as destination, to hotel as enabler</strong>.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68541-all-the-digital-news-stories-you-missed-this-week-13/">Airbnb’s decision to add “whole trips” to its offer</a> in the form of curated local experiences is a great example of a travel brand leveraging its connections and reach to enable travellers to get more out of their trip.</p> <p>The experiences, which range from samurai sword-fighting to truffle hunting, see Airbnb move into the travel agency space, increasing pressure on hotel chains and travel websites like Trip Advisor and Last Minute.com in the process.</p> <h3>Local experiences</h3> <p>When it comes to hotels as enablers, the best example I have come across is <a href="http://conradhotels3.hilton.com/rs/stay-inspired/">Conrad Hotel’s 1/3/5 program</a>, part of the hotel chain’s Stay Inspired initiative.</p> <p>1/3/5 is a list of experiences based around the hotel group’s different destinations designed for guests who may only have 1, 3, or 5 hours to discover their new location.</p> <p>Curated by Conrad’s Director of Inspiration Peter Jon Lindberg, a former executive editor of Conde Nast Traveller, the 1/3/5 experiences range from edgy neighbourhood tours, reinvented icons and landmarks, to late-night cocktails.</p> <p>While I have yet to enjoy one myself, the 1/3/5 experiences are designed to give visitors a local perspective on culture, art, food, and adventure, so they can make the most of even a short trip. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1680/Picture4.png" alt="conrad hotel" width="600" height="333"></p> <h3>Disrupting loyalty</h3> <p>If hotel groups were prepared to disrupt their traditional loyalty programmes and give customers experiences that are more relevant and valuable, then I would expect my business trips to become much more enjoyable and rewarding going forward.</p> <p>Imagine, for example a future where my hotel secures me a table at Stockholm’s coolest new restaurant on its opening night? Maybe my designer hotel in London is hosting a fashion show of new London talent, and I get first chance to buy exclusive items not yet available to the public.</p> <p>Or my Berlin hotel enables an easy way for me to buy local goods from the trendy Hackescher Markt without having to rush around the town in the limited time I have outside business meetings. Maybe they even deliver those goods to my home address the next day so I don’t need to carry them through the airport chaos. </p> <p>How about instead of using my loyalty points on an upgrade, I could use them to secure a ticket to the top music event in the city that night? What if all the gold members in my hotel could chip in to a community reward scheme where we decide which rewards are relevant to us and how much we want to contribute?</p> <p>Maybe hotels could just scrap the traditional loyalty scheme altogether and give me any of the above as a gift every now and then just to say thank you?</p> <p>Hotels are in prime position to experiment with this kind of change. They have millions of guests walking through their doors every day.</p> <p>They may not yet feel they have strong loyalty within their customer base but the opportunity to create it is undoubtedly there and ready to be seized. After all, people who travel whether on business or leisure appreciate memorable experiences and AAA hotel locations are no longer the only differentiator. The hotel is the perfect springboard for the guest experience.</p> <p>It’s time to help your guests to spring a little higher.</p> <p><em><strong>Now read:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67658-how-hotels-can-personalize-the-customer-experience-to-compete-with-airbnb/">How hotels can personalize the customer experience to compete with Airbnb</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68509 2016-11-21T09:45:00+00:00 2016-11-21T09:45:00+00:00 Why is design thinking suddenly so important? Ben Davis <h3>Let's start with the bottom line</h3> <p>Consider this financial measure of design thinking's success:</p> <p><a href="http://www.dmi.org/blogpost/1093220/182956/Design-Driven-Companies-Outperform-S-P-by-228-Over-Ten-Years--The-DMI-Design-Value-Index">The Design Management Institute found </a>that, in the US up until 2014, design-led companies have outperformed the S&amp;P by 228% (see chart below). </p> <p><em>Performance of 'Design Index' vs. S&amp;P.</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1336/dmi.jpg" alt="dmi performance of design-led businesses" width="615"></p> <p>Alongside older brand giants such as the ones listed in the chart above, there are a blessing of designer-founded digital unicorns (<a href="https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:English_collective_nouns">blessing apparently being the collective noun</a> for unicorns), such as Airbnb and Pinterest.</p> <p>So, why does design thinking seem to be growing in importance?</p> <h3>Why is design thinking so important?</h3> <p>Though design thinking isn't new, the proliferation of marketing touchpoints and increased service interaction through personal devices (smartphones) has made it even more pertinent.</p> <p>Design thinking is more than simply an approach to product design, it can help shape an entire brand ecosystem.</p> <p>In a recent roundtable discussion <a href="https://ageofdesign.designweek.co.uk/roundtable-what-does-a-design-led-business-look-like/">chaired by Design Week</a>, delegates expanded further on this fundamental change. Anna Bateson of Guardian Media Group (former Director of Digital at Charlotte Tilbury) said that "Design has become a bigger word."</p> <p>She continued, "You could argue that some years ago it was product-based, around how it looked. Design was aesthetic output. Now it is manifested in so many different ways and part of so many different functions. Its remit has grown and is a much more fundamental part of how the business competes." </p> <p>The most eloquent explanation of this trend comes from John Maeda and his <a href="http://www.kpcb.com/blog/design-in-tech-report-2015">2015 Design in Tech report</a>.</p> <p>Maeda says that 2009 and the mobile boom was the inflection point for design in tech. As you can see from the slide below, taken from John's report and showing acquisition of designer-founded startups, he chooses Mint’s 2009 acquisition as a specific turning point.</p> <p>Mint was acquired by Intuit for $170m after it had grown to 150m users in two years. As <a href="https://www.wired.com/2015/03/take-expert-design-important-ever/">Maeda told Wired.com</a>, “Looking at your finances, that was painful. Mint boxed up something painful so that it that could be experienced in a positive way.”</p> <p>2010 then saw a whole slew of acquisitions, notably including Instagram, as design-led tech startups proved their value by growing their user bases. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1316/slide.jpg" alt="slide from design in tech" width="615"></p> <h3>What can we learn from Mint?</h3> <p>The embedded video below shows Mint founder Aaron Patzer discussing the success of his startup.</p> <p>Whilst the video doesn't exclusively cover design thinking, Kissmetrics has detailed some useful nuggets in a <a href="https://blog.kissmetrics.com/how-mint-grew/">terrific blog post</a>.</p> <p>One of the anecdotes that catches the eye is about the importance of security. Patzer realised security was paramount after 50 failed venture capitalist pitches combined with some market research showed that people were scared about letting a digital startup have their personal finance details.</p> <p>So, after testing different wording, Mint.com added the phrase 'bank-level security' to its website, and this was an important factor in persuading users to put reservations aside.</p> <p>Patzer says that getting your marketing messaging right is a form of validating your ideas, and should be done before prototyping (before the website is built).</p> <p>This is essentially design thinking, and as Kissmetrics points out, validating an idea like this is free and similar to A/B testing.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_sajNwt8ldI?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>Disruption by design</h3> <p>It's not just about testing ideas and messaging though. Patzer sums up the challenge of business, but more specifically building digital products as follows:</p> <p> “Ideas are really nothing, it’s all in the execution of that idea. Either you have a fantastic idea and you’re one of the only people in the world who can do it, or you have a fantastic idea and you have to be the best executor on that idea.”</p> <p>And the reality of digital is that brands have to execute a whole lot more. Picking a second chart from John Maeda's Design in Tech report (see below), you can see how 'users x usage' of digital information has increased exponentially thanks to the smartphone.</p> <p>That makes mobile services the number one touchpoint for many brands (part of the move from product to service). You only have to look at disruptors like Uber, who are disrupting by redesigning the mobile service that encapsulates the taxi ride, but haven't fundamentally changed the ride.</p> <p>More and more, companies are using design thinking and technology to change users' relationship with products, rather than the products themselves.</p> <p><em>Users x usage of digital information has increased exponentially</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1318/slide_2.jpg" alt="usage" width="615"></p> <h3>In summary</h3> <p>One simple digital interaction can compromise brand image, and as these interactions proliferate, design thinking becomes more important.</p> <p>Let's leave the last word to Hugo Pinto, innovation expert at IBM (commenting during the aformentioned Design Week roundtable). Hugh says, "There is a need for all companies suffering from disruption to anchor themselves in method."</p> <p>He continues, "Design creates differentiation and magic. It’s not about making a product and finding customers. How do you create the whole experience from the object to the interaction?"</p> <p><em><strong>Now read:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68503-what-is-design-thinking/">What is design thinking?</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68535 2016-11-17T11:26:00+00:00 2016-11-17T11:26:00+00:00 Thorntons fudges site relaunch, asks customers to re-register Ben Davis <h3>All user accounts deleted?</h3> <p>Thorntons sent an email (below) to all customers, advising them to create a new account on the website.</p> <p>'We've had to reset all Thorntons shopper accounts' implies that all account history has been deleted (in the crucial run up to Christmas).</p> <p>This has potentially serious ramifications. How many people will abandon attempts to log in with old details? How many will re-register, but abandon checkout as they realise they have to re-enter payment details?</p> <p>As <a href="https://twitter.com/danbarker/status/798526979595243520">Dan Barker pointed out on Twitter</a>, "the workaround is usually to migrate the account history &amp; make them reset pass using stored email address". That's what Marks &amp; Spencer did with its relaunch two years ago, though <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65244-where-did-the-marks-spencer-website-relaunch-go-wrong/">it wasn't handled very elegantly</a>.</p> <p>One slightly strange note - I tried to log in on the website (despite not having a Thorntons account), just to see what messaging was shown. I was told to create a new account or checkout as a guest instead. No problem, I decided to continue as guest but I abandoned my basket before I had to enter my email address.</p> <p>Later, to my surprise, I received an abandoned basket email, and can only assume the website managed to grab my email address from my failed login attempt. If so, that at least will go some way to mitigating the effect of the site migration.</p> <p><em>Image via <a href="http://www.rofe.co.uk">Mark Rofe</a></em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1544/email_thorntons.jpg" alt="thorntons email" width="350"></p> <h3>Problems with mobile redirect?</h3> <p>As Paul Randall points out below, the old m.Thorntons domain seemed not to be redirecting to the new responsive Thorntons.co.uk site.</p> <p>Though this has been fixed, when I navigated to m.Thorntons.co.uk on my mobile, I did briefly see this message before the new site loaded.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Great start <a href="https://twitter.com/thorntonschocs">@thorntonschocs</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/badUX?src=hash">#badUX</a> <a href="https://t.co/lgYuR9GpeE">pic.twitter.com/lgYuR9GpeE</a></p> — Paul Randall (@paulrandall) <a href="https://twitter.com/paulrandall/status/798503542583689216">November 15, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Lack of delivery information</h3> <p>Twitter user @colmcq, apparently an existential cat, also pointed out a lack of delivery information in the checkout.</p> <p>As you can see from the screenshot below, Thorntons fails to make it clear that perishable items containing alcohol have to travel by premium delivery.</p> <p>That means the user is left confused as to how they can select standard delivery (which, in fact they can't). An explanatory message and the removal of the checkbox would fix this UX problem.</p> <p>Thorntons did respond promptly (11 minutes) to @colmcq on Twitter to explain the delivery issue. So, kudos for social responsiveness.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/iamrofe">@iamrofe</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/paulrandall">@paulrandall</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/thorntonschocs">@thorntonschocs</a> I can't uncheck this expensive delivery option. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/checkoutfail?src=hash">#checkoutfail</a> <a href="https://t.co/wWKd59ot2Z">pic.twitter.com/wWKd59ot2Z</a></p> — colmcq (@colmcq) <a href="https://twitter.com/colmcq/status/798534401827229696">November 15, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Are there other UX improvements that could be made?</h3> <h4><strong>Misleading 'accordion filters'?</strong></h4> <p>Category pages allow me to sort and refine the products on show, in this case chocolate boxes.</p> <p>However, there are some misleading menu links on the left-hand side, which appear to be accordion filters at first glance. When I click the '+' icon expecting to see more options, another category page loads.</p> <p>This isn't too much of a problem, once you get your bearings, but it took me a while to realise I couldn't actually filter chocolate boxes by chocolate type.</p> <p>One way of improving this may be to get rid of these icons and just have a list of menu links. Nike offers a good example of this approach (see further below).</p> <p>Will it affect conversion? I'm unsure.</p> <p><em>Misleading 'accordion' icons?</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1547/Screen_Shot_2016-11-16_at_14.16.04.png" alt="thorntons" width="615" height="316"></p> <p><em>Nike clearly delineates filters and menus</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1548/Screen_Shot_2016-11-16_at_14.32.28.png" alt="nike category" width="550"></p> <h4><strong>Chocolate box product page imagery isn't as luscious as it could be</strong></h4> <p>A lot of the imagery is great and every product image has automatic zoom when you roll over it.</p> <p>However, given that chocolate boxes must be pretty popular, I think it's strange that only two images are provided here, and neither show the chocolates in any detail.</p> <p>Even with the zoom, my mouth doesn't water like it does on other product pages.</p> <p><em>Could there be some better close-ups on chocolate box product pages?</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1552/Screen_Shot_2016-11-16_at_14.59.10.png" alt="chocolate box" width="615" height="347"></p> <h3>And on the bright side?</h3> <p>There's plenty to savour on the new website, and it should be benefitting from more traffic given Thorntons' <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/08/05/ferrero-commits-4-9m-to-thorntons-media-push-ahead-of-relaunch/">nearly-£5m media push</a> to relaunch the brand.</p> <p>It's been nearly two weeks since Thorntons screened its first TV advert for seven years, and the ad (seen below) is featured on the new website.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BzqDZOrFuME?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Here are some other features I enjoyed on the site...</p> <h4><strong>Improved information architecture</strong></h4> <p>I much prefer the new, simplified header menu with only four options.</p> <p>Each dropdown includes plenty of detail and there's no doubt as to where everything lives.</p> <p><em>Thorntons menu, with 'gifts and occasions' dropdown shown</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1560/Screen_Shot_2016-11-16_at_15.12.30.png" alt="thorntons menu" width="615" height="304"></p> <p>Compare the old header, which feels a bit more confused at the top level.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1561/Screen_Shot_2016-11-16_at_15.12.09.png" alt="thorntons old header" width="615" height="108"></p> <h4><strong>Search is impressive</strong></h4> <p>I was given suggested products, categories and pages. Nicely done.</p> <p><em>Search</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1563/Screen_Shot_2016-11-16_at_15.27.11.png" alt="search truffles" width="615" height="368"></p> <p><strong>Guest checkout</strong></p> <p>Given that all accounts have been 'reset', it's great that there's a guest checkout option.</p> <p>Many retailers forgo this option but it's something a lot of customers look for.</p> <p><strong>Mobile performance</strong></p> <p>As mentioned earlier, the Thorntons site is now responsive and the mobile experience is arguably slicker than the desktop (apart from slightly lightweight body font on some pages).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1567/IMG_3414.png" alt="throntons mobile" width="300">  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1565/IMG_3415.png" alt="thorntons mobile" width="300"> </p> <p><strong>Clarity of shopping bag and checkout</strong></p> <p>I thought the shopping bag and checkout were easy to navigate (see a couple of screenshots below), including a very clear voucher field.</p> <p>Yes, delivery price isn't shown until further down the funnel (and nearer payment), but there is a clear message indicating free delivery when you spend over £35.</p> <p>Arguably, Thorntons could include a message detailing the standard £4 delivery earlier in the checkout.</p> <p><em>Added to bag</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1562/Screen_Shot_2016-11-16_at_15.02.38.png" alt="add to bag" width="400"></p> <p><em>Checkout</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1564/Screen_Shot_2016-11-16_at_15.04.38.png" alt="thorntons checkout" width="615" height="486"></p> <p><strong><em>More on Thorntons..</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67587-how-thorntons-uses-content-marketing-to-gain-an-edge-at-easter/">How Thorntons uses content marketing to gain an edge at Easter</a></li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66150-thorntons-vs-hotel-chocolat-user-experience-comparison/%20">Thorntons vs. Hote Chocolat: User experience comparison</a> </li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68530 2016-11-16T11:20:00+00:00 2016-11-16T11:20:00+00:00 Eight features to appreciate on Hunter’s revamped ecommerce site Nikki Gilliland <p>And for more on this topic check out our range of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/ecommerce/">ecommerce training courses</a>.</p> <h3>1. Creative curated shop</h3> <p>While <a href="http://www.hunterboots.com/">the homepage</a> for Hunter is attractive, the 'Core Concept' hub is most impressive in terms of design.</p> <p>Cleverly integrating the brand's latest campaign hashtag, #rainstartsplay, it uses integrated video and GIF features to promote its new range of weatherproof clothing and footwear.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1483/Core_concept.JPG" alt="" width="746" height="524"></p> <p>Its block colour scheme and large visuals allow for a more enjoyable browsing experience than the regular product pages.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1484/Explore_the_collection.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="334"></p> <p>What's more, it gives the user an overview of the entire range, instead of leaving them to search through various categories.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1485/Colour_pallette_2.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="470"></p> <h3>2. Editorial-style content</h3> <p>Alongside the Core Concept hub, Hunter nicely promotes its blog-style content in the 'Discover' section.</p> <p>In fact, its prominent positioning on the site makes it feel less like a brand blog, and more like an integrated magazine.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1486/Discover.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="396"></p> <p>While the content subtly shows off the Hunter products, it also includes a nice variety of features including topics like photography and sport.</p> <p>I particularly like its 'Everyday Pioneers' series.</p> <p>Using an inspirational approach based around the boot's technical engineering, it promotes the durability of the product instead of its visual style.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kzmdNHpkWZw?list=PLVSqeLqwLyM2JAuxqHmnwqWUZRXFD17e3&amp;wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>3. High quality product imagery</h3> <p>Moving onto the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63462-ecommerce-product-pages-where-to-place-30-elements-and-why/" target="_blank">product pages</a> - the high quality imagery definitely stand out as one of the site's best features.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1487/Images.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="808"></p> <p>With an average of six large images as well as a 360-degree video, it gives the user an excellent indication of how the product looks in real life.</p> <p>Since including more photography, specifically showing how far up the boots reach on calves, the site has seen<strong> a 10% increase in add-to-bags as well as a drop in returns.</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1488/Boot_scale.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="763"></p> <h3>4. Up-front estimated delivery info</h3> <p>A small but significant feature I like on the product pages is this indication of estimated delivery.</p> <p>While many retailers leave this information to the checkout or choose to highlight the price, including the estimated date gives the customer a sense of reassurance and urgency.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1489/Hunter_estimated_delivery.JPG" alt="" width="558" height="679"></p> <p>Telling the customer that they could have the boots they're currently looking at within two days acts as a great call-to-action.</p> <h3>5. Cross-selling</h3> <p>Another newly improved feature on the product pages is the inclusion of related items.</p> <p>It might be unusual for consumers to buy more than one item at a time - Hunter is a premium-priced product after all.</p> <p>However, I think the inclusion of care products is worth highlighting here.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1490/Hunter_cross_sell.JPG" alt="" width="519" height="597"></p> <p>Again, when spending on a luxury item, customers are likely to be willing to buy extra to keep them in good condition.</p> <p>Consequently, these products could do with being promoted even more prominently. </p> <h3>6. Detailed sizing info</h3> <p>I recently wrote about how <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68477-how-six-online-retailers-are-combatting-wrong-size-returns" target="_blank">retailers are attempting to reduce the amount of wrong-size returns</a>.</p> <p>Hunter also appears to be focused on this, nicely including a comprehensive size guide on each product page.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1491/Size_Guide.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="602"></p> <p>The FAQ section is pleasingly comprehensive, too - it highlights the fact that sizes differ and urges the customer to check.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1492/Hunter_FAQ.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="418"></p> <h3>7. Guest checkout</h3> <p>Hunter's previous checkout option was a little misleading, making customers think they needed to create an account in order to checkout.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1493/Previous_checkout.jpg" alt="" width="556" height="296"></p> <p>Now, it has been tweaked to be clearer, removing the previous step asking if the customer has a password.</p> <p>It's still not entirely clear-cut that a guest checkout is possible - however the site has since seen <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67120-12-ways-to-reduce-basket-abandonment-on-your-ecommerce-site/" target="_blank">basket abandonment</a> reduce from 15% to 9%.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1494/Email_Checkout.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="505"></p> <p>The friendly copy is also a nice touch, with the 'if you wish' sign-off reflecting a sense of flexibility.</p> <h3>8. Email reminders</h3> <p>Lastly, while it is not a feature on the ecommerce site itself, Hunter's dedication to reducing basket abandoment <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64167-basket-abandonment-emails-why-you-should-be-sending-them/" target="_blank">also extends to its email strategy</a>.</p> <p>After my visit to Hunter boots, I received an email the same evening reminding me that there was something in my basket.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1495/Hunter_email.png" alt="" width="400" height="710"></p> <p>With an increasing number of shoppers browsing around before they commit to buy, this is a nice little nudge to return and make the final purchase.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1496/Hunter_email_2.png" alt="" width="400" height="710"></p> <h3>Final points</h3> <p>Hunter's newly improved site offers an enjoyable user experience overall. But there could still be improvements. </p> <p>Though the press release said the updated site had customer reviews, I failed to find any. Similarly, the checkout process could be made even simpler.</p> <p>However, with its bold design and great attention to detail, it is generally quite impressive.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68503 2016-11-14T09:50:00+00:00 2016-11-14T09:50:00+00:00 What is design thinking? Ben Davis <h3>What is the definition of design thinking?</h3> <p>Well, it's not quite as simple as looking up the Wikipedia definition of design thinking, which begins with the rather unhelpful line: 'Design thinking refers to design-specific cognitive activities that designers apply during the process of designing.'</p> <p>Design thinking means different things to different people. As Nathan Sinsabaugh, writing for Wired, comments, 'design is more like anthropology than physics'.</p> <p>Design thinking is nuanced, and differs in process and governance depending on the company in question.</p> <p>Nevertheless, Wikipedia delivers a degree of clarity with the second line of its definition; 'design thinking is a methodology not exclusive for designers, that helps people understand and develop creative ways to solve a specific issue, generally business oriented.'</p> <p>So, it's essentially creative or design-led ways of solving issues. Let's try to pin it down a bit better...</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1347/idea-152213_640.png" alt="design" width="500"> </p> <h3>Aren't there more specific definitions?</h3> <p>Design Week's recent series of features on design thinking (titled <a href="https://ageofdesign.designweek.co.uk/">Age of Design</a>) includes <a href="https://ageofdesign.designweek.co.uk/roundtable-what-does-a-design-led-business-look-like/">a roundtable discussion</a> with various industry figures attempting to define design-led businesses.</p> <p>In that discussion, <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/aboutdavid">David Kester</a> remarks, "When I was at the Design Council we had to provide [a definition of design] to the Treasury to identify the role of design in the economy. It’s pretty hard and the only one we could find works only for some businesses. </p> <p>"It is <strong>design as the connection between creativity and innovation</strong>."</p> <p>This is perhaps the most succinct and elegant definition, without touching on process. We can go further by looking at companies employing design thinking.</p> <p>Arguably the most well-known description of design thinking comes from IDEO.</p> <p>IDEO's approach is broken down into five key areas; empathise, define, ideate, prototype, and test. This is what it means to design. </p> <p>More specifically, Fjord, the design and innovation consultancy owned by Accenture, <a href="https://www.fjordnet.com/conversations/how-to-create-a-design-led-culture-at-your-business/">outlines its approach to <em>service design</em></a>, which applies design thinking across five dimensions.</p> <ul> <li>People: What are the needs, hopes, fears and pain points for people? They may be customers, staff or third party partners and suppliers.</li> <li>Products: What products, physical and digital are in place and are they fit for purpose?</li> <li>Place: Where are the products or services delivered and what is that experience like? For example, in a retail environment, a call centre, in the field or on a digital channel?</li> <li>Process: Where are the inefficiencies, forms and frictions in the process?</li> <li>Performance: What is the performance of the whole, from a customer perspective and from the perspective of the business?</li> </ul> <p>These bullet points don't describe design per se, rather a framework on to which creative problem-solving can be applied.</p> <p>We've written about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67420-what-is-service-design-who-uses-it/">service design before on the Econsultancy blog</a>, and it is probably the main application of design thinking as far as marketers are concerned, though certainly not the only one.</p> <p><em>Fjord's 'hello' video</em></p> <p><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/166757507" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p>Let's add a final definition of design thinking, this time from <a href="https://econsultancy.com/admin/blog_posts/68503-what-is-design-thinking/edit/%20http:/www.ashtonmcgill.com/design-led-approach-business/%20">Ashton McGill</a>, a consultancy in Scotland, which sums up the core values of design-led innovation as follows: </p> <ul> <li>Have an outside-in mindset.</li> <li>Use empathy for users and stakeholders.</li> <li>Embrace diversity.</li> <li>Think holistically.</li> <li>Collaborate in multi-disciplinary teams.</li> <li>Generate many new ideas.</li> <li>Rapid prototyping.</li> <li>Fail early and often.</li> </ul> <p>So, as these different definitions prove, design thinking is a blend of mindset, ways of working, and applied creativity in the pursuit of improvement/innovation.</p> <h3>Design as more than just a final polish </h3> <p>One of the fundamentals of design thinking is the understanding that it is not a magic wand to be waved over a product as a final flourish.</p> <p>Design must permeate every part of a customer's experience.</p> <p>Brunner and Emery are authors of a celebrated book on companies that take a design-led approach (they chiefly discuss Apple), and they define design as an infrastructural element that helps define every aspect of a company.</p> <p>This is perfectly encapsulated in a quote from former CEO of Disney, Michael Eisner, who said: “A brand is a living entity—and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures.” </p> <p>These small gestures require a focus of purpose that many digital startups are perfectly attuned to, and that is one of the many ingredients for <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68498-three-ways-to-avoid-being-disrupted-in-an-age-of-innovation/">disruption</a>.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68501 2016-11-09T09:43:00+00:00 2016-11-09T09:43:00+00:00 A day in the life of... VP Marketing of a product design platform Ben Davis <p>(Remember, if you're in the market for a new role yourself, check out the <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/">Econsultancy Jobs</a> pages)</p> <h3>Please describe your job: What do you do?</h3> <p>I currently lead InVision’s cross-functional marketing team and overarching content strategy.  </p> <p>That means that I lead the team who strategizes for, plans, produces, and goes to market with everything InVision releases, from huge industry-shifting product announcements to daily blog articles.</p> <p>I personally manage our cross-functional creative teams, comprised of content strategists, engineers, and designers, plus our programmatic teams, like content, product marketing, PR, automation, and others.</p> <p>I also help set brand and creative strategy for our organization, identify key strategic initiatives to tackle, and measure our success or failure.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1296/Clair_Byrd.jpg" alt="clair byrd" width="300"></p> <h3>Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?</h3> <p>I sit at the VP level and report directly to our CEO, Clark Valberg. </p> <h3>What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?</h3> <p>A high <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_intelligence">EQ</a> (emotional intelligence), a strong sense of direction about what we want to be (beyond software) for our customers and community, and exceptional creative strategy.</p> <p>These things help in a multitude of ways.</p> <p>Firstly, our customer is extremely sensitive to anything that smells like marketing or sales.</p> <p>This means we have to be creative about how we approach potential customers, provide tangible value through the thing we’re approaching potential customers with, and be genuinely interested in our community’s success outside the purview of our own products. </p> <p>Having a high EQ also helps us empathize with our community and better understand what feels right (things we should do) and what doesn’t (things we shouldn’t do).</p> <p>We don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right to us (we affectionately say we don’t do “gross” marketing). </p> <p>EQ also helps us hone in on the initiatives that will provide clear value to a user by addressing specific pains they might be experiencing in their daily workflow. </p> <p>Having a clear sense of self, or, what we want to be for our community beyond a software platform, helps us provide leadership and guidance to a community still evolving.</p> <p>The creative professional has been historically in reactive, service-type roles for a long time, but as digital continues to ascend, so do the people who know that world best - the people who literally create digital stuff.</p> <p>Design is often undervalued because people/stakeholders don’t understand it - it’s our job to help them understand and also provide the tools necessary to unblock designers in their daily work life. </p> <p>Exceptional creative strategy unifies these things into real life projects and initiatives that also help us meet business goals. </p> <h3>Tell us about a typical working day… </h3> <p>This is a tough question because there really isn’t a typical working day for us.</p> <p>Our marketing team manages a wide variety of brand and demand generation programs simultaneously and in-house.</p> <p>We are deeply cross-functional, which means we have designers, content strategists, and engineers involved in projects from day one - and depending on what the project is, our DRIs (directly responsible individual) shift and change. </p> <p>In addition to this, we’re a fully remote team. Our marketing team of 30 is distributed across five different time zones, three countries, and 10 states.</p> <p>Our meeting load versus time spent actually making stuff, or what I call a “maker versus manager mix,” ebbs and flows based on what our focus for the month is, or what our immediate priorities are.</p> <p>For example, last week I was in the trenches writing copy for a content campaign focusing on helping designers <a href="https://www.switchtosketchapp.com/">transition to Sketch</a>, but this week I’ll be onsite with my team in Boston working on 2017 strategic planning and initiative development.</p> <p>Working like this helps keep us agile with the ability to turn around complex web projects and high-quality, major brand statements with incredibly short lead times.</p> <p><em>InVision mockup</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1297/mockup-invision.png" alt="invision mockup" width="615" height="390"></p> <h3>What do you love about your job? What sucks?</h3> <p>Every time anyone asks me what I love about my job, my answer is always the same: the people, and the people.</p> <p>I have an amazing team who inspires me daily; they are insanely talented, entrepreneurial, incredibly passionate about what we do, and approach work with a deep sense of humility and teamwork that I’ve never experienced at another company.</p> <p>I personally feel that the depth and diversity of collaboration we’ve got at InVision is the number one contributing factor to our success (and we’re hiring!). </p> <p>Additionally, our customer is freaking great. It’s a real privilege to cater specifically to the designers, engineers, and other creatives working toward a better web every day, plus, they are passionate supporters and natural advocates of the people, companies, and brands who give back to them.</p> <p>Who wouldn’t want to work with that kind of community every day? </p> <p>I can’t honestly say much sucks about my job. Sure, we’re in crazy growth mode (named in <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/amyfeldman/2016/10/19/next-billion-dollar-startups-2016/#47649f5c554e">Forbe's Next Billion-Dollar Startups</a> 2016) and have a lot to manage, and the hours can be long, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.</p> <p>The things we get to do make a meaningful impact on designers’ and other creatives’ lives. If I was pressed, I would say the 7am mornings can be tough. Because InVision is 100% remote, we all work the same core hours, which shakes out to be 10am-6pm EST… or 7am for us West Coasters.</p> <h3>What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success? </h3> <p>All our marketing efforts roll up to the same set of goals: Net new leads, new free user signups, conversion from free to paid, enterprise marketing qualified leads, and total annual recurring revenue.</p> <p>We use the same set of metrics to measure the success of each program to “democratize” our marketing and measure things apples to apples. Doing so helps us know where and how to invest our resources more effectively on a day to day basis.</p> <p>Even an initiative like <a href="https://www.designdisruptors.com/">DESIGN DISRUPTORS</a>, which some saw as a big flashy brand play, was measured and held accountable to the same set of goals.</p> <p>Thinking of all initiatives as equal helps us represent both the brand and the business in each thing we create - which makes for more balanced, thoughtful campaigns. </p> <h3>What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?</h3> <p>Remote teams are made possible using today’s collaboration tools. InVision is a product design platform, but it's also a robust collaboration tool we use extensively to prototype and iterate on our marketing experiences. </p> <p>It’s completely invaluable to our remote team’s workflow and productivity. </p> <p>Additionally, we’re big proponents of Slack and video conferencing (currently Zoom or Google Hangouts). We spend a great deal of time on video together actively hacking through problems in real-time.  </p> <h3>How did you get started in the digital industry, and where might you go from here?</h3> <p>I’ve always been an early adopter of technology, but I originally intended to be a chef.</p> <p>My parents wanted me to go to college “just in case,” I studied English and ended up writing in some capacity for every single job I ever had.</p> <p>By age 19, I was working professionally in kitchens at night and at a small ecommerce company between classes, doing an early form of content marketing and community work. </p> <p>In 2009, I moved to the Bay Area to cook - I took a job as a private chef for an affluent family. Unfortunately, I had to take a “day” job doing operations to make ends meet in the Bay Area.</p> <p>In that role, I began taking on responsibilities outside of operations - things I could pull from my previous experience at the ecommerce company, like how they positioned themselves in the market, using social media, writing web copy, etc.</p> <p>I really enjoyed this work, and decided to try and unify my love for food and beverages with this new found interest in writing for the web.  </p> <p>I discovered a local beverage startup who needed someone to work on content marketing and partnerships with local restaurants - two things by this point I knew I could do.</p> <p>They also needed the person to work for almost free. It seemed perfect to me, so I applied and got it.</p> <p>That role led to Tony Hsieh and Delivering Happiness, where I led content and community, which drove my crossover into tech - ultimately leading me to InVision. </p> <p>I take a lot of management and creative inspiration from the kitchen, and one day, I hope to end back up there - in the kitchen.</p> <p>I have a big dream of being able to apply all I’ve learned about alternative businesses, digital product development, and brand development to a restaurant chain concept. </p> <h3>Which brands do you think are doing digital well?</h3> <p>I have a huge crush on Intercom. They are really innovating with their product and their marketing.</p> <p>Additionally, I’m really impressed by brands who can articulate a clear, easy relationship between something digital and something real. </p> <p>Starbucks is an excellent example with its new app ecosystem, and WeWork’s digital interface for real-life spaces, events, and communication is really cool. </p> <h3>Do you have any advice for people who want to work in the digital industry?</h3> <p>Learn as many things about your future field as humanly possible. Become well-versed in your core focus area, but don’t neglect the technical areas that will be adjacent to your job, even if you never have to touch them yourself.</p> <p>Learn the basics of computer science. Understand how email works. Become design-literate. Try your hand at copywriting and see how it goes!</p> <p>Having this foundational knowledge will make you a more effective team player with a greater capacity for digital strategy because you’ll know more about what it takes to make things for the web.</p> <p><em><strong>More on design:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li> <a href="https://ageofdesign.designweek.co.uk/content/collection/ibm/">Design Week's Age of Design</a> (a collection of short films)</li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67420-what-is-service-design-who-uses-it/">What is service design and who uses it?</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/lean-ux-and-agile-design/">Lean UX and agile design</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66236-the-ultimate-guide-to-digital-design-roles/">The ultimate guide to digital design roles</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68465 2016-10-31T12:13:14+00:00 2016-10-31T12:13:14+00:00 Eight features to appreciate on Fat Face’s new ecommerce site Nikki Gilliland <p>On an initial browse, apart from being an improvement on the old site, nothing majorly impressive stands out.</p> <p>However, there are a few features that are worth a mention, which certainly contribute to a winning user experience overall.</p> <p>Here’s a roundup of the new site’s best bits.</p> <h3>Seamlessly integrated video</h3> <p>The decision to include such a large video on the homepage is a bold move.</p> <p>However, seamlessly integrated into the page, it does not feel intrusive. In fact it could easily be mistaken for another image.</p> <p>Thankfully, it's also very fast, taking zero time to load.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0840/Video.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="648"></p> <h3>Predictive search</h3> <p>Fat Face's former site had a massive problem with its search function, often returning irrelevant and frustrating results.</p> <p><em>(For more on this topic, read <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66658-24-best-practice-tips-for-ecommerce-site-search/" target="_blank">24 best practice tips for ecommerce site search</a>)<br></em></p> <p>Now, it is predictive and fast, providing users with both identical matches and related items.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0841/Predictive_search.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="693"></p> <h3>Visible availability of products</h3> <p>It might seem like a small feature, but the ability to see how many items there are in a category can be very helpful in aiding the customer journey.</p> <p>The fact that this is visible at a glance and as part of each filter option is even better.</p> <p><em>(Read up on best practice for <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68222-ecommerce-product-filters-best-practice-tips-for-a-great-ux/" target="_blank">ecommerce product filters here</a>).</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0842/Drop_down_filter.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="452"></p> <h3>Imagery &amp; zoom</h3> <p>The product pages include a large selection of images, with thumbnails on the left hand side.</p> <p>The most pleasing part is that these automatically move up as you click through, meaning you don't have to move your mouse.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0843/Side_imagery.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="484"></p> <p>Another thing I really like is that the images also pop out (by clicking the cross at the top right of an image).</p> <p>What's more, you can zoom in even futher.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0844/Double_tap_to_zoom.JPG" alt="" width="428" height="247"></p> <p>This helps to give the user a real sense of how the product looks and feels in real life - which is still one of the biggest drawbacks of the online shopping experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0845/Zoom_feature.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="472"></p> <h3>Prominent and helpful reviews</h3> <p>As well as being prominently displayed, the reviews section includes a decent star rating system to give customers greater insight.</p> <p><em>(You can read more on why you need consumer reviews <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9366-ecommerce-consumer-reviews-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-use-them/" target="_blank">in this article</a>)</em></p> <p>Likewise, the extra 'true-to-size' feature is a nice touch.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0846/Prominent_reviews.JPG" alt="" width="775" height="582"></p> <h3>Product descriptions using images</h3> <p>Fat Face now includes illustrative designs on the product pages for its coats and jackets.</p> <p>Nicely combining visual elements with helpful product descriptions, this draws the user's attention to the item's best features.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0848/Product_descriptions_design.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="415"></p> <p>It's a shame the retailer hasn't made more of this.</p> <p>This section feels a little hidden - and it could definitely be included across other categories, too.</p> <p>As well as being helpful for customers, these images could create more consistency and greater brand identity across the site.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0849/Product_descriptions_design_2.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="433"></p> <h3>Free delivery prompt</h3> <p>The checkout process on Fat Face is fairly standard, however one thing that stands out is this nice prompt for free delivery.</p> <p>'Wait!' creates a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65348-how-to-increase-conversions-by-creating-buyer-urgency-fear-of-loss/">sense of urgency</a>, and the amount needed to qualify encourages the customer to keep shopping.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0851/Free_delivery_prompt.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="551"></p> <h3>Nearest store search</h3> <p>Lastly, the store finder is very easy to use, instantly bringing up results based on area or postcode.</p> <p>Including comprehensive store details, such as maps and store services - this feature could also do with being promoted more prominently elsewhere on the site.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0852/Find_a_store.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="596"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68375 2016-10-12T14:00:00+01:00 2016-10-12T14:00:00+01:00 Airbnb: How its customer experience is revolutionising the travel industry Paul Rouke <p>Despite the fact my family have booked our last seven holidays with Airbnb, I still think it is one of the internet’s best kept secrets.</p> <p>Here’s how Airbnb is shaping the future of the travel industry: </p> <h3>It's aspirational</h3> <p>Remember the saying, there is no place like home?</p> <p>The rise in popularity of boutique hotels proved that there was a growing segment of travellers who wanted a more varied choice of accommodation; an experience characterised with personalised touches and the chance to be immersed in the local culture.</p> <p>Essentially, Airbnb is a boutique hotel on steroids.</p> <p>With a homepage headline of “live there”, Airbnb offers the chance to stay in (sorry <em>live in</em>) aspirational, unique homes.</p> <p>The whole idea is that staying with Airbnb is more than just a holiday, you get to experience new places just like the locals do, which appeals to people who don't like to see themselves as normal tourists.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0215/airbnb_homepage.png" alt="" width="700" height="308"></p><p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0217/airbnb_your_home.png" alt="" width="700" height="311"></p> <p>Offering some really unique properties for rent, in some of the world’s most spectacular locations, you'd expect that when you first land on the Airbnb website your emotions will be stirred.  </p> <p>Whether it be excitement, amazement or belonging, Airbnb captures these emotions with carefully chosen imagery and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65499-20-gorgeous-examples-of-websites-with-video-backgrounds/">background videos</a>. </p> <p>Yes, there is the search facility layered on top, but first and foremost it has focused on connecting with visitors on a more personable level than any travel agency website I have been on.</p> <p>I was recently in one of my local travel agents to exchange some money.</p> <p>While scanning over the shelves of brochures, I couldn't help but wonder what the cover of an Airbnb holiday brochure would look like.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/9899/brochures-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="Brochures " width="470" height="352"></p> <h3>It's built on pure trust</h3> <p>The <em>only</em> part of the whole customer experience that Airbnb has full control over is the website.</p> <p>This means that the brand has to place complete trust and faith in the people from around the world who choose to rent their properties on the platform.</p> <p>It also requires the people renting out their houses to place trust in their guests (who they have never met before), not to mention the trust the holidaymaker or business traveller has to place in their host, with the hope that "what they see online, is what they get."</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0218/airbnb_social_proof.png" alt="" width="700" height="326"></p> <p>As expected, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65722-18-highly-effective-examples-of-social-proof-in-ecommerce/">social proof</a> plays an integral role in building that trust.</p> <p>For people to spend money on their holiday, weekend getaway or business trip with no physical interaction and no “credible travel agent” behind the booking, requires great levels of transparency and confidence.</p> <p>Don’t forget, you are not getting an ATOL protected holiday through Airbnb. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9901/reviews.png" alt="" width="723" height="1076"> </p> <p>As you can see, Airbnb is definitely the best when it comes down to harnessing the power of <strong>genuine</strong> social proof. </p> <h3>It's price sensible </h3> <p>Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point.</p> <p>For all those millions of people with children who have to go on holiday in school holidays, Airbnb is perhaps the biggest secret they are waiting to discover. </p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0209/airbnb__prices.png" alt="" width="700" height="349"></p> <p>My family and I have booked our last seven family holidays through Airbnb, genuinely saving hundreds of pounds compared to what we would have paid booking through traditional channels.</p> <h3>It's personable</h3> <p>From the copy used on the website, through to contacting Airbnb, you always receive a very personable experience.</p> <p>Very often when you arrive at your property, hosts will leave a small welcome note or present to welcome you on your arrival.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/9904/letter-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="Note " width="470" height="352"> </p> <p>You may even get a welcome message on the chalkboard of your new home… </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/9905/new-chalk-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="Chalkboard note " width="470" height="352"> </p> <p>The biggest success that Airbnb delivers in this area is that 99% of the time you never actually interact in person with another human. <strong>Now that is a special user experience</strong>. </p> <h3>It's innovative</h3> <p>Airbnb isn't standing still. </p> <p>I love how the company is now harnessing its community of hosts around the world to provide unique and memorable experiences for travellers whilst staying at their property.</p> <p>This really helps Airbnb customers to ‘live like a local’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0210/airbnb_innovation.png" alt="" width="700" height="249"> </p> <h3>It's memorable</h3> <p>Whether a flat for a night, a castle for a week or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique and inspirational travel experiences.</p> <p>With property type search filters including Tipi, Earth House and Treehouse, you know you are on to something quite unique.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9907/properties.png" alt="" width="655" height="252"> </p> <p>For all us business travellers, Airbnb also provides us with unique opportunities at competitive prices.</p> <p>In 2015, myself and two colleagues spent five days in central Vancouver staying in a luxury penthouse apartment worth over £2m.</p> <p>The cost to us? £130 per person, per night.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0212/airbnb_apartment.png" alt="" width="700" height="379"> </p> <h3>It's responsive</h3> <p>As a brand, Airbnb can provide lessons in responsiveness to many larger, and more experienced businesses.</p> <p>In my seven family holidays through Airbnb, there was only one occasion where we were let down and when it became clear that we needed Airbnb to resolve our issue with our host, they got on to fixing the issues straight away.</p> <p>Airbnb recognised the opportunity to turn a potential brand detractor into a brand advocate, by simply being responsive and respectful.</p> <p>I, for one, gained increased levels of respect for their brand following this.</p> <p>How many brands are truly responsive and respectful to customers when they have a negative user experience?</p><p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/9911/inbox-blog-flyer.png" alt="Messages " width="470" height="836"></p> <h3>It's beautiful</h3> <p>From the brand logo, through to the app the Airbnb design and user experience is quite simply <em>beautiful</em>.</p> <p>I will hold my hands up and say, the Airbnb digital experience played a significant role in a current re-thinking of one of our client’s online experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/9910/beautiful-blog-flyer.png" alt="Beautiful " width="470" height="836"> </p> <h3>It's relevant</h3> <p>Small things throughout your stay show you how Airbnb is all about ensuring that customers truly enjoy their experience.</p> <p>For example, when arriving at your destination Airbnb offers helpful directions to your accomodation.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/9903/welcome-blog-flyer.png" alt="Welcome " width="470" height="836"> </p> <h3>It's human</h3> <p>In summary, Airbnb is human. Browse around and you see people like you and me who are a part of this unique, growing community. </p> <p>The people who are taking a different path to experience more memorable, unique and personable travel experiences than we have ever had before.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0213/airbnb_belong_anywhere.png" alt="" width="700" height="290"><br> <br><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0214/airbnb_recently_viewed.png" alt="" width="700" height="353"></p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>To me, Airbnb is one of the most inspirational and progressive brands in the world, regardless of industry.</p> <p>This is mainly due to its forward thinking and absolute focus on the customer experience. </p> <p>The question is, will the Airbnb experience become the future of the travel industry?</p> <p>And what can travel agents do to start offering their current customers some of what Airbnb have made central to their overall customer experience? </p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64849-could-travel-sites-like-airbnb-be-doing-more-with-their-content/"><em>Could travel sites like Airbnb be doing more with their content?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68225-10-examples-of-great-airbnb-marketing-creative/"><em>10 examples of great Airbnb marketing creative</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/creating-superior-customer-experiences/"><em>Creating Superior Customer Experiences Training Course</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68317 2016-10-03T09:52:35+01:00 2016-10-03T09:52:35+01:00 A day in the life of... CTO at Resident Advisor Ben Davis <p>Remember, if you're looking for a new challenge in digital <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/">our jobs board</a> lists hundreds of open positions, and you can benchmark your own digital knowledge using our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-skills-index-lite/">Digital Skills Index</a>.</p> <h3>Please describe your job: What do you do?</h3> <p>I'm CTO for Resident Advisor - a global online electronic music magazine and ticketing platform.</p> <p>I manage and work in the development team who are responsible for web and app development of our entire platform.</p> <p>Generally I ensure that we are using the correct processes, methodology, architecture and infrastructure to deliver high quality software with a focus on value and iterative delivery. </p> <p>I also facilitate roadmap sessions to ensure that we are delivering items of the highest value for our end users and liaise with other departments to ensure that we are developing smart solutions to their problems to help make their jobs easier.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9592/david_miranda.jpg" alt="david miranda" width="258" height="258"></p> <h3>Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?</h3> <p>I report directly into one of the co-founders but have a close relationship with both of them. I also work closely with the head of product to manage the roadmap. </p> <h3>What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role? Tell us about a typical working day…</h3> <p>I try very actively to stay as technical as I can.</p> <p>Of course, I can't spend my whole day coding anymore but I do try to make sure I am at least pairing with a developer or planning out architectural improvements around 50% of the time - I see this as vital in being as effective as I can for the tech teams.</p> <p>Other bits of my time are taken up by requests for development time, process management, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66702-how-devops-is-changing-the-business-of-it-consulting/">DevOps</a>, roadmap management and stakeholder engagement.</p> <h3>What do you love about your job? What sucks?</h3> <p>I love that I can be part of an organisation made up of such talented people that is so open to change. No one is selfish with their ideas and there is a real feeling that we are all in it together.</p> <p>I also have a great team that I can bounce ideas off and who come up with some great solutions.</p> <p>Of course my first love has always been coding and not always being able to do that can be frustrating but being able to mix that with higher level business challenges means that there is never a dull moment and always a lot to learn. </p> <h3>What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?</h3> <p>A fair few of my goals involve delivery management and comms.</p> <p>Quality is something that I heavily strive for and helping the team deliver software that is both bug free and easy to maintain is a constant battle in our world.</p> <p>It's actually fairly difficult and risky to apply KPIs or success metrics to development. However, by always retrospecting and striving for continuous improvement I think our effectiveness becomes obvious.</p> <p>Happiness and engagement of the development team is also a good measure of success. And obviously improvement of our offering to our end users!</p> <p><em>The Resident Advisor website</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9593/Screen_Shot_2016-09-27_at_15.03.54.png" alt="resident advisor" width="615" height="320"></p> <h3>What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?</h3> <p>I use both Trello and Jira. We started using Trello when I first started at Resident Advisor as I had been using it to manage my own workflow for a long time.</p> <p>The team eventually and naturally outgrew Trello as we needed more advanced features that Jira offers. Jira isn't perfect but it does have the majority of features that you can ask for from an electronic board and is good value.</p> <p>I now use Trello for our high level roadmap which is working really well for us. </p> <p>Personally, I prefer physical boards for tracking work as there is something real (and thus more satisfying) about moving tasks through your workflow.</p> <p>But physical boards have obvious drawbacks like not being viable for distributed teams. </p> <h3>How did you get started in the digital industry, and where might you go from here?</h3> <p>I graduated with a degree in computer engineering. My course was a sandwich degree and my placement - Avco Systems - sponsored me through my final year and offered me a job on graduation.</p> <p>After that I worked for a larger internal development team at Totaljobs where I learned a lot about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67346-agile-development-what-do-marketers-need-to-know/">agile delivery</a> and grew to become a dev manager in charge of around 16 teams.</p> <p>Eventually, I wanted to take what I had learnt and do it in a setup where I could have more say and control on a product that I really care about, now here I am at Resident Advisor!</p> <p>It's early days and I'm loving every minute of it so it's hard to see further ahead from here.</p> <h3>Which brands do you think are doing digital well?</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64975-the-guardian-s-agile-processes-showcase-digital-best-practice/">The Guardian are great</a>. Being traditionally print I feel like they've have had to come from behind thus making their achievement even more impressive.</p> <h3>Do you have any advice for people who want to work in the digital industry?</h3> <p>I tend to find that the best people in the industry have a genuine interest in what they do.</p> <p>The best developers eat, live and breathe development and I think the same can be true of all digital disciplines.</p> <p>For example, marketing and sales people are so much more effective when they truly believe in the product. Follow your interests and work hard. </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68266 2016-09-13T10:13:05+01:00 2016-09-13T10:13:05+01:00 Oooh, cars! We review the new Lamborghini website Ben Davis <p>(TL;DR - it's not a bad website at all; I like the layout and there's some stunning photography, but there are some simple bits of content strategy that Lamborghini should heed to ensure its impressive content is showed off to its fullest.)</p> <h3>What could Lamborghini improve?</h3> <h4>Copywriting and formatting needs improvement</h4> <p style="font-weight: normal;">It feels silly to concentrate on the words straightaway when Lamborghini is so famous for the visual.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">But this feels like an area where improvement can be made.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Look at the screenshots from the Huracàn product page below. The subheadings are about as uninspiring as it gets - <strong>does 'overview' get the blood pumping</strong>?</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">The other subheaders aren't much better ('emotion' for example). And look at the copy itself, just block paragraphs that are difficult to read.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><a href="https://www.lamborghini.com/en-en/models/huracan/huracan-spyder"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8882/Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_15.25.58.png" alt="lamborghini website" width="615" height="310"></a> </p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8883/Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_15.26.21.png" alt="lamborghini website" width="615" height="301"> </p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Sadly, this is the story throughout quite a lot of the website. Check out the <a href="https://www.lamborghini.com/en-en/ownership/services/accessori-originali">accessory page</a>, which is majorly lacking copy.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">There's also a problem with large chunks of text on mobile being even more unreadable.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8908/IMG_3139.PNG" alt="lamborghini website on mobile" width="300" height="533"> </p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">There is a some hope, though. Take a look at the concept car product pages and the subheadings are a big improvement.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">The formatting of the text could still be better - even within a fairly rigid template, line breaks are a must.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><a href="https://www.lamborghini.com/en-en/models/concept/asterion"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8885/Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_15.45.36.png" alt="lamborghini website" width="615" height="320"></a></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8884/Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_15.45.29.png" alt="design" width="615" height="324"></p> <h4>Data capture needs improvement</h4> <p style="font-weight: normal;">I spent a bit of time trying to find a way to give my email address to Lamborghini.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">'Contact us' is right at the bottom of the page and includes mainly phone numbers, as well as a contact form.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">But how do I subscribe to updates, or register my interest quickly from a product page?</p> <h4>Header menu needs improvement</h4> <p style="font-weight: normal;">For quite a simple menu (shown below), the header drops down a long way when you scroll over it.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Spreading the dropdown categories horizontally would allow Lamborghini to reduce this big overlap with page content.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">The menu font is grey on grey, which is not ideal at all, making it quite difficult to make out the categories in the dropdowns.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Furthermore, though one can click on 'Models' to go to a category page, this isn't immediately obvious and perhaps a 'see all' option should be introduced to the menu.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Lastly and perhaps most importantly, for such as visual-led brand, I think thumbnail images of the models should be included in the header menu.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">It must be said that no major supercar manufacturer website has managed this (as far as my research leads me to believe), but I believe it would aid easy navigation.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Compare Lamborghini's header menu with BMW.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">I think a compromise between the two would be ideal for Lamborghini. It should be noted that on mobile, however, the menu text is much clearer.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>Lamborghini header menu (please note that my GIF quality makes the menu font ever so slightly fainter)</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8886/header_lamborghini.gif" alt="lamborghini header menu" width="615"></em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>BMW header menu</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8887/bmw_header.gif" alt="bmw header menu" width="615"></p> <p>Lastly, take a look at the 'Experience' tab in the header menu.</p> <p>The categories within are pretty opaque - Esperienza and Accademia - but they include fantastic driving experiences.</p> <p>Lamborghini could do with adding some copy in the menu so this is made clear.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8888/Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_16.42.49.png" alt="lamborghini header menu" width="500" height="287"></p> <h4>Search function needs improvement</h4> <p>Not much commentary needed here, just a screenshot of search results.</p> <p>Some tidying up is required. Other languages are returned in results, page titles are missing ('False?') and the descriptions aren't presented as nicely as they could be.</p> <p>Additionally, a search bar within the homepage would be preferable to the current button which summons a light box.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8889/Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_16.51.33.png" alt="lamborghini website" width="615" height="384">  </p> <h3>What has Lamborghini done well?</h3> <h4>Scrolling experiences are done well</h4> <p>Automotive websites have quite a bit of content in them and that's why I like it when they go for long scrolling pages.</p> <p>A scrolling homepage gives lots of room to link off to other pages with content blocks, lots of room for imagery and for text.</p> <p>I don't think it's overstating the point to say that the experience of scrolling through car photography is a lot more enjoyable (even sensuous) than, for example, the static and click-heavy pages that Mercedes uses (see below).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8890/Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_17.31.31.png" alt="mercedes website" width="615" height="349"></p> <h4>Product page imagery and video are done well</h4> <p>The hero imagery at the top of each product page is great.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8891/Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_17.38.27.png" alt="lamborghini product page" width="615" height="341"></p> <p>Each product page also has an extensive gallery, which often includes neatly embedded videos with the option to subscribe to Lamborghini's YouTube channel.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8892/Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_17.43.00.png" alt="lamborghini product page" width="615" height="322"></p> <p>For all the faults of this website, it nails this most important factor - showing off the cars.</p> <p>Some of the photos may be slightly photoshopped, but they portray the cars in a stylised fashion that is hard to argue with.</p> <h4>Social is done well</h4> <p>There are plenty of social icons on the homepage, and a tesselation of latest posts from various accounts (below).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8905/Screen_Shot_2016-09-08_at_08.58.11.png" alt="social media lamborghini" width="615" height="338"></p> <h4>Homepage featured content and events is done well</h4> <p>The homepage includes little content blocks that link through to news items, as well as upcoming events and experiences.</p> <p>There's also a large gallery on the homepage and plenty of features highlighting various pages on the site.</p> <p>The homepage is the website in microcosm - the imagery is great but the copy could be improved a little to make it more coherent.</p> <p>However, I particularly like the Lamborghini World news items - these blocks link to simple blog posts with hero images, and they add some topical flavour to the site, something that many manufacturers neglect.</p> <p>The ability to publish to quickly to an automotive website helps <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/digital-content-strategy/">content strategy</a> (working in tandem with social) and keeps everything fresh.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8902/Screen_Shot_2016-09-08_at_08.44.13.png" alt="lamborghini website" width="615" height="338"></p> <h3>What is up for debate?</h3> <h4>'Find a dealer' could be more obvious</h4> <p>The 'find a dealer' content is quite a way down the homepage (almost at the bottom) and is also a bit hidden in the header menu.</p> <p>Perhaps this could have its own tab at the top level of the header menu.</p> <h4>Homepage sliders are not everyone's cup of tea</h4> <p>There are three hero images at the top of the homepage that rotate. </p> <p>Though this slider gives the opportunity to pack in more content, some people find them distracting.</p> <p>Personally, I'm not a fan, but others may argue a bit of dynamism is no bad thing.</p> <p>The sliders are carried through to mobile, but there is no way to manually move through them on the smaller screen.</p> <h4>More focus on technical detail?</h4> <p>Should there be more focus on technical detail and performance?</p> <p>There are specs on each model product page and some small photos (see below), but I want to see a beautiful high definition photo of an engine I can get excited about.</p> <p>There is a page about carbon fibre technology, but perhaps this should be better integrated in product pages.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8904/Screen_Shot_2016-09-08_at_09.03.41.png" alt="lamborghini website" width="615" height="341"></p> <h4>Car configurator is a bit lost?</h4> <p>You can customise your own Lamborghini through the configurator.</p> <p>You can't do this for all models, but I still think it warrants inclusion somewhere on the homepage.</p> <p>At the moment there's a CTA on each relevant product page, but a customised Lamborghini is surely something that people will share once they have created it, so why not make it more of a bit of marketing than a product page tool.</p> <p>The configurator is a new feature, so perhaps Lamborghini is going for a soft launch here.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8906/Screen_Shot_2016-09-08_at_09.11.36.png" alt="lamborghini configurator" width="615" height="323"></p> <h4>The same page template can get a bit repetitive</h4> <p>This is the one downside of scrolling templates - each page can feel samey.</p> <p>I don't think that's a massive problem for Lamborghini here, but it's something that could be improved by the occasional interactive element in product pages.</p> <h3>Conclusion...</h3> <p>There's lots of potential here. Lamborghini has added content, some of which we haven't covered (Museum, History etc.) and the website is very browsable (despite search and menu deficiencies).</p> <p>All in all, the rich media, publishing capability (news) and the new configurator make for a website that should blend well with social media strategy.</p> <p>Some tweaks, particularly on data capture and copy formatting, would make a big difference. </p> <p><em>What do you think, car lovers?</em></p> <p><em>More on automotive:</em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65664-how-can-automotive-brands-use-digital-to-appeal-to-car-buyers/">How can automotive brands use digital to appeal to car buyers?</a> </em></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66479-how-lamborghini-uses-social-engagement-loyalty-kpis-to-measure-desire/"><em>How Lamborghini uses social engagement &amp; loyalty KPIs to measure 'desire'</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66853-what-can-brands-learn-from-automotive-website-trends/"><em>What can brands learn from automotive website trends?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67016-land-rover-an-automotive-revolution-in-luxury-content-marketing/"><em>Land Rover: an automotive revolution in luxury content marketing </em></a></li> </ul> <p><em>Lovers of cars and digital marketing can see speakers from Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover at the Festival of Marketing 2016, October 5-6. </em><em><a href="http://www.festivalofmarketing.com/welcome?utm_source=econsultancy&amp;utm_medium=blog&amp;utm_campaign=econ%20blog">Get your tickets here.</a></em></p>