In a recent discussion of a proposed new product, Alan McClure suggested that the product might be so simple to use, that it could become a cultural phenomenon overnight — simply through habit formation.
That comment led to a long discussion of retailers and products that we all buy almost out of habit.
– Southwest is the winner in the airline category for simplifying ticket purchases, check in and rewards.
– Apple’s stores are the best at the brick & mortar retail experience: well-displayed products, knowledgeable employees, roving employees with wireless credit card readers/printers and the best technical support anywhere.
– Amazon.com is the master at simplifying an on line purchase. The company’s patented "One Click" makes buying almost too easy. (My business manager once told me that I have $100/week habit on Amazon.)
Mike Laddin, LeaderPoint‘s president, weighed in on the idea of habit formation and retailing. His point is that the retailers that remove the most friction from a buying process and offer solid products – benefit the most from repeat purchasers. Ease of use – becomes frequent use – becomes habit.
Mike explained, "Many firms attempt to remove friction from their internal processes (to make them more efficient) – only to have that process add friction to the customer. What matters is ease of shopping/selections/buying process from the customer’s perspective."
How much friction is there in your retail process? How many customers buy from you out of habit?