To mobile consumers, impatience is a virtue: How the on-demand economy is reshaping micro-moments

Today's highly connected consumers expect instant gratification. Contributor Brian Solis explains how brands can gain a competitive advantage by optimizing mobile experiences to deliver real-time value to these customers.

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Impatience is a virtue. This just might be the mantra for today’s connected consumer. They live in an on-demand economy where, with a few taps and swipes of their mobile device, they can have what they want, when they want it. As more devices and apps deliver instant gratification, the more it sets a new standard for customer expectations. Now, businesses in every industry will have to cater to “right now” consumers in mobile-first micro-moments or risk missing these critical engagement opportunities.

It’s not the customer’s fault. They didn’t set out to expect everything whenever, wherever. But new technologies such as geo-location, mobile, social and always-on connectivity empowered consumers to get access to information and services on-demand. For better or for worse, this influenced consumer behavior beyond the point of no return.

Brands must invest in micro-moments via anticipatory and relevant content and offer tailored, on-demand services to win. In other words, be there, be quick, be useful for a highly connected, mobile and self-interested consumer.

May I have your intention please? Customers expect brands to know their intentions on the spot

Did you know that compared to two years ago, smartphone users are 50 percent more likely to expect the ability to purchase something in real time? Mobile-centered micro-moments are more important than ever before. Nowadays, three in four smartphone owners turn to their mobile devices to search for information (with minimal effort) to address their immediate needs. In other words, people are empowered to act in the moment, so they expect relevant-to-the-moment information.

Brands need to know customer intentions to facilitate timely and swift engagement. As an example, according to Google, search interest for “open now” has tripled in the past two years while searches for “store hours” have subsequently dropped. The implication? Customers who act right now expect brands to cater to their intent right now, quickly and relevantly addressing their needs that very moment.

Your customers want it now! Convenience becomes a competitive advantage

You can thank the likes of Uber, Lyft, Postmates, and even Amazon Prime for stoking the on-demand economy. People expect not just information now, but the actual products and services now, too. And they’re getting it.

As an indicator of increasing customer expectations, Google found that mobile searches related to “same day shipping” have grown 120 percent since 2015. Interestingly, these searches tend to peak in the morning. This is likely the result of consumers suddenly realizing they need something and deciding they would rather have it delivered than take unnecessary time of their day to travel, wait in line, travel back and so on.

Based on service fees charged by on-demand apps and services, it’s clear that connected consumers are willing to pay a premium for convenience.

Who’s up for an experience? Let’s go, do, buy… right now!

You’ve most likely read that consumers increasingly want experiences over stuff. Now, consumers are expressing that they may also be more impulsive when they shop for those experiences. Google observed that in addition to buying behavior, planning behavior is also changing.

By way of illustration, Google noted the travel industry. Over the past two years, searches for “tonight” and “today” have grown 150 percent on mobile, for example, “flights today” and “hotels tonight.” In fact, a mobile app called HotelTonight that offers last-minute hotel deals is demonstrating how the procrastinator can get the worm. The company was founded in 2010 and continues to grow, with a recent valuation of $463 million.

‘Right now’ consumers demand ‘right now’ brands

Brands face notable challenges in leapfrogging “right now” consumers. But first and foremost, brands must prioritize mobile micro-moments to understand and design for how consumers’ behaviors, expectations and preferences are changing. Then, brands must design fast, frictionless, useful experiences to engage mobile (and increasingly impatient) consumers.

If you think your site is mobile and fast, think like your “right now” consumer. They will leave a site that takes more than three seconds to load. Compare that to the industry average mobile site that takes 22 seconds to fully load.

The role of brands in an on-demand economy isn’t just to get the attention of “right now” consumers. To earn instant, competitive advantages, businesses — like their impatient but intent mobile consumers — must also become “right now” brands. This means that they must understand mobile behaviors and expectations so profoundly that they create and optimize mobile experiences, marketing and content to deliver real-time value and experiences in the moments that matter.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for MarTech and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the martech community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Brian Solis
Brian Solis is Global Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. He’s also a world-renowned digital anthropologist, keynote speaker, and 8x best-selling author. For over 20 years, Brian has studied Digital Darwinism to understand the impact of disruption on businesses, markets, and society. In his work, he humanizes emerging and disruptive trends to help leaders see new and more meaningful possibilities for digital transformation and innovation. Brian’s research explores experience design (CX, UX, BX), AI and the cognitive enterprise, and human behavior.

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