processEmotions and the subconscious play an important role in purchasing decisions and the use of online services respectively. In the world of advertising, paid social media are those who should manage to keep the user on their platform for as long as possible to maximize profit. Longer usage time leads to more ads seen and that’s the whole logic behind it. Hence, the use of a website or app must create a good feeling and make users want more to spend time there.

Generally, the quality of the content is making users stay longer, the other is easy access, which means corresponding apps must be intuitive to use, too. Since prices are usually so tightly calculated that it is difficult to differentiate based on this factor alone, and the location is irrelevant when being online, the customer experience has become the more important.

“If you want people to do something more often, reduce the friction; if you want them to do a little less, increase it”, is a famous quote from Jeff Bezos that sums up the philosophy that companies like Apple and Amazon use for their entire product development – which is called ‘frictionless design’. Each operating step should flow seamlessly into the next and all processes must be as reliable, lean, and as intuitive as possible. In fact, in terms of user experience, providers are actually constantly setting new standards, which is why consumers have become so used to smoothly functioning hardware and software, that they take it for granted and let their expectations rise steadily. The challenging situation is pressuring companies from all kind of industries, but with the right approach it also creates new opportunities. A retailer who manages to stand out through excellent service, and thus builds up a loyal customer base, can perhaps face the eternal discount war a bit more relaxed. The fact is that it is not just about big issues such as brand perception, product quality, corporate responsibility, etc., but about very mundane and everyday things that often take place in the subconscious. The worst thing you can do to your online business is to annoy your customers - unfortunately, there are many ways to do exactly that.

All life is problem solving…

Frustration among consumers is often the sum of many individual little things: loading the page takes too long, you have to enter data twice, of all things the desired payment method is not available, and so on and so forth. On the other hand, there is the one-click order, where in principle the same things happen - only that the customer no longer notices anything.

The fact is that there is a lot of potential for friction on the Internet, and bad experiences are burned into customers brain and are consciously or unconsciously associated with a certain brand or a certain retailer. Especially annoying for the latter when the bad user experience is not their fault per se. If an online shop collapses, the customer does not see what the problem is - perhaps it is with the provider, on their own network, or just an overload -  but the bad experience is unfortunately always linked to the particular shop.

…and so it is in business

Whoever solves the customers’ problems and eliminates the friction is winning in today's relentless competitions. Even in areas that are heavily regulated by law, companies can create really smooth user experiences and meet consumer expectations, if they consistently focus on innovation, look for efficient digital alternatives to lengthy analog processes, streamlining their processes and, ideally, make them invisible to the customer. In this way, they not only become pioneers of the frictionless economy, but can also gain competitive advantages where others still see problems.

By Daniela La Marca