A trend I’ve been noticing amongst SMBs I interact with is that they’re increasingly using technology to capture value from one-off interactions where they previously failed. Larger brands have long recognized the power of an email address or social media relationship and have provided consumers with incentives to trade this information. This information is a gateway for maintaining relevancy and hopefully cultivating a relationship through the penetration of your inbox or social stream. The diligence of retail brands in this arena serves as a stark contrast from my experience with SMBs. However, a few of my most recent interactions indicate SMBs are now getting in the game:
After putting my name on the waiting list at a local restaurant, the hostess presented me with an option to be alerted via text message when my table was ready instead of having to use a buzzer. I was not crazy about the thought of forking of my cell phone number, but the exchange did come with incentive:
- 10% of my total check for using this methodology
- the ability to roam as far away as I wanted during my wait
I still refused, but nonetheless thought this was a clever way for the restaurant to capture value that was previously left on the table. I asked the hostess if people frequently opt-in to this. She said they did because of the discount. Can someone say short-term gratification?
SMBs are also using Square to capture value where they previously failed. The brilliance of Square is that it has made the receipt relevant. In my own life, receipts have always been annoying pieces of paper I can’t navigate into a waste basket fast enough. With Square, my digital email receipt provides SMBs a chance to prompt a social media relationship, offer follow-up promotions, and engage me over time via email.
In both cases, consumers exchange their personal information to achieve an enhanced user experience. Improved user experiences are paramount for the success and penetration of these tools. With SMS table reservations, I get a discount and increased freedom. Square allows me to use a credit card in places that were formerly cash only. Without proper incentive, consumers will never seek options that require them committing personal information.
I expect that the penetration of these and similar tools will continue to grow in the near future. I hope to encounter them more frequently to learn, gauge their effectiveness, and hopefully have richer experiences.
They’re probably many more instances of SMBs using technology to capture value where it was once left on the table that I’ve yet to encounter. If you’re aware of any, I’d love to hear about them.