Consumer Psychology Consumer Trends

Apple Watch Confirms “Convenience Tech” as the Next Big Thing [Images]

So the new black in digital is ‘convenience tech‘, and the new Apple Watch is looking to become a poster-child in convenience tech for today’s ‘convenience economy’.

It’s far more convenient to interact with many apps – from payment, to notifications and directions – without hauling out your phone.  It seems a such as small thing, but time and effort – the two core dimensions of convenience – matter, and the Apple Watch is designed to save you both. Like the popular on-demand mobile taxi service Uber, the Apple Watch buys you time and saves you effort.

Apple Watch Home

So how could your brand harness ‘convenience tech’ to help buy people time and save them effort in today’s emerging ‘convenience economy’ where time and effort are more precious and more scarce than money?

The first thing we need to do is unpack the meaning of convenience.  Conveniently ;-) , there has been a good deal of research – marketing and psychological – on this subject.  Of course, the concept of convenience in marketing is hardly new – the idea that successful marketing involves minimising time and effort costs to buyers was introduced as far back as 1923 in a Harvard Business Review article. But of the three big ‘consumer cost’ buckets  – money, time and effort – marketing has overwhelmingly focused on money – price paid – in the consumer value exchange.  Nevertheless, time and effort costs (convenience costs) matter too, and in today’s fast and busy economy, consumers are often willing to pay a price premium if you can reduce time and effort costs by enhancing convenience.

Moreover we know that convenience is multi-dimensional in terms of where it can add value, and research has identified fives type of convenience value that brands can offer throughout the consumer journey (see here for validation).

  1. Decision Convenience – Making it fast and easy to choose
  2. Access Convenience – Making it fast and easy to acquire
  3. Transaction Convenience – Making it fast and easy to pay
  4. Benefit Convenience – Making it fast and easy to enjoy/use
  5. Post-Benefit Convenience – Making it fast and easy to service/re-purchase

The breakdown of convenience makes explicit the benefits that convenience tech can deliver – and therefore provides a starting point for adding convenience value – and charging a premium.  But in addition to this physical or task-related convenience value, there is also ‘mental convenience’ – how fast and easy is it from an emotional (affective) or thinking (cognitive) perspective?  Some experiences are mentally inconvenient insofar as they take time and effort to process emotionally or cognitively.  From a psychology perspective – the goal of convenience tech is not only in reducing the behavioural load, but also the mental load.

  • Affective Convenience – making it emotionally fast and easy
  • Behavioural Convenience – making is behaviourally fast and easy
  • Cognitive Convenience – making it cognitively (thinking) fast and easy

Together these ‘ABC’ dimensions – affective (emotional), behavioural and cognitive – of personal convenience combined with key convenience points in the consumer journey we have a strategic framework for delivering convenience tech – a Convenience Value Matrix (click to enlarge/download).

So give the Consumer Value Matrix a whirl to see how you can future-proof your business with convenience tech for the ‘convenience economy’ and become the Apple Watch of your sector!


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Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour, wellbeing and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.

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