A recent study by Facebook suggests that friction in sales is costing Australian business $29 billion per year.
Consumers want a level of convenience, speed and simplicity that didn’t exist a few years ago. As a result, any added friction will lead customers to either go to a competitor or abandon their purchase altogether. Therefore, a zero-friction future is where business needs to head, which is what Facebook is aiming to achieve with its offerings.
It’s said that 44 per cent of consumers will stop doing business with a company due to poor communication experience, and 42 per cent will switch to a competitor.
“Customer experience is so important. The reality is, any form of friction will lead a consumer to go somewhere else. As much as technology has enabled consumer to talk to you, it has also enabled the consumer to go to a competitor quickly and easily. So you have to get the experience exactly right,” a Facebook executive recently said.
The key to a zero-friction future is managing three steps: Discovery, purchase and post-purchase.
To get there, the first thing businesses need to do it look at the consumer journey. How do you make it as easy as possible for the consumer to discover the right products and make sure they have the information?
The second element is making it as easy as possible for consumers to purchase and actually pay, which means offline and online needs to be seamless. Post-purchase, meanwhile, is making sure fulfilment is quick, and that consumers can talk to you quickly if they have an issue. Also vital to post-purchase is seamless repurchase.
“In each of these areas there are a number of friction points. For discovery it might be making sure the consumer has the right information in the first place, and your products are available and relevant,” Corsi explained. “There may be information gaps-either too much or too little. Customer reviews are also vital. Technology optimisation is really important; make sure your website and ecommerce is mobile optimised.”
When it comes to buying, if there are too many steps, or if the purchase drops out, you’re adding friction into the process, Corsi said. Payment is another friction point when certain types of payments are not accepted, or not mobile optimised.
“For post-purchase, check your fulfilment, do you offer support? Friction points include no loyalty program, or purchase history not being available,” he added.
“Know your customers, who they are and why they do what they do, and what pain points they encounter. Then, evaluate the impact on your business. Pain points will differ from business to business. Formulate a strategy and analyse which areas are going to bring a competitive advantage, and which are core to your brand promise.”
As an example of the zero-friction model at Facebook, Corsi noted the social media giant’s most basic product, the newsfeed, which curates content relevant to that specific user.
“We make sure when we link websites to Facebook, we do it seamlessly, so consumers don’t have to re-enter details. We are rolling out the ability to pay directly on messenger, as that is increasingly a customer service channel. And we have the ability to shop and buy directly from the image itself, without a third-party website,” he said.
“Facebook is creating a frictionless experience for consumers. It’s not easy, it’s not happening overnight, and there is much yet to be done.”