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How technology is enhancing a consumer's most valuable asset: time

Time is a consumers most cherished asset and with the clocks springing forward this weekend we look at how time impacts brand propositions and how technology is an important enabler. Gary Vaynerchuk, a renowned marketing expert, has speculated that brands that understand the importance of time to consumers and who are effective in buying and selling back time will be the ones who succeed.

Consumers spend 80 minutes on average commuting to work each day

Take Uber and Lyft for instance. Their ideas were not revolutionary. In fact it was just a fantastic technology-driven execution of a straight forward consumer insight. Taxis are expensive and lack immediacy: enter Uber and Lyft. Uber has gone even further in maximising consumers’ time through technology. They have optimised their app to remove excess categorisation of the Uber fleet. Additionally, they offer insight for riders by suggesting destinations. Frequent riders will find "shortcut" proposals for destinations that get more intellectual over time based on data about their behaviours. Uber may even effectively guess that in the evening your location is most likely to be the gym and make an informed destination suggestion based on the app’s intelligence. Overall, saving time and giving it back to the consumer through tech.

Time is an opportunity cost and is often the most significant trade-off for money

Time is of the essence for We Buy Any Car. The website takes full accountability for offering less money for a customer’s car but sparked a debate: is getting marginally more money worth the hassle and fuss overall? We Buy Any Car clearly think not and used this as a basis of creative and technological execution. Whether this is a father wanting to spend more time with his daughter or a husband proving to his wife that he is ‘intelligent’. This is pushed through key customer touchpoints such as their mobile app where a consumer can receive a valuation in a matter of seconds and book a pick-up point conveniently and quickly. Previous quotes can be retrieved and there is even gamification through the app through a ‘play your cars right’ game. Admittedly the game does not give time back; but the seamless process from start to finish does. Plus, the opportunity gain from selling through We Buy Any Car means consumers have that extra time to play the game. Winning.

Time poverty is prevalent in our society and brands that can nourish time will reign supreme

Amazon, the forerunners in customer convenience are consistently creating initiatives to maximise consumer time through technology. Not only did their Amazon Dash Buttons, a Wi-Fi-connected device that reorders your favourite product with the press of a button, aim to take the monotony of purchasing low commitment items seamless and quickly; but they have now made the button even more convenient. Amazon has digitalised its Dash buttons by adding them to the Prime app – allowing people to access the function either on the mobile device or website. Immediacy is important to consumers and Amazon have scoped this out intelligently.

So what does this mean for brands?

A technology-first world where time is a valuable commodity means that a solid brand is determined by its ability to save time for its consumers. So what do brands need to consider when implementing this into their marketing strategy:

1.     Be there
Being there means that brands should serve a purpose and become front of mind for key micro moments in a consumer’s life. For Uber, if a customer needs transportation, they will be front of mind because they have cemented their position as being ever-present, mostly through their seamless use of technology.  Uber can and is literally in the palms of millions of consumers.

2.     Be useful
Be useful by being present in a consumer’s minute of need by meeting them with valued information. If they are looking at purchasing a sofa: offer product reviews, 360 video, room planner tools and immediate purchase gratification. Save consumers time by knowing their preferences inside and out. Use big data to understand their tech usage and implement, monitor, track and implement again!

3.     Make sense and keep it simple
Ensure that technology initiatives are relevant and beneficial to your brand. Do not create something just for the sake of it. Firm and technology matchup is vital and will be instrumental in sculpting consumer perceptions of your brand.

Keeping technology as simple and seamless as possible will also help to reap benefits. Amazon and Google rank highest in the UK’s Simplicity Index from Siegal and Gale. And how do they push through this simplicity? Yes, you guessed it: through technology and relentless insight of how consumers are interacting with this technology.

Sophie Beckley, Planner 

To talk to Sophie about how technology can help your brand call 01902 714 957 or email sophie.beckley@connect-group.com