Curation: the next step in the convenience revolution
This morning I jumped in my Uber, grabbed my pre-ordered Starbucks en route to the station and collected my pre-paid train ticket when I arrived. When I got home after work, I had timed my Deliveroo order so that it arrived minutes later, which I enjoyed while watching my favourite boxset on Netflix. It was also a bit chilly, so I turned on the heating and turned down the lights all through the Hive app on my phone.
Five years ago I’d have called my local taxi company in advance, arrived at the station early to buy my ticket and if I’d had time, run to the Starbucks to wait in line to order my coffee then wait again while it was prepared. On the way home, I’d have popped to the supermarket to buy the ingredients to cook my meal, before manually turning down the lights, putting the heating on and finally settling down to watch whatever was on TV that night (or that DVD boxset… again).
How times have changed. We are officially living in a Convenience Revolution, where apps and technology more purposefully aid and organise our lives to be more efficient.
‘Time is money’ is still to this day a popular saying, but I’d like to caveat that catchphrase, with the following: Time [and experience] are more valuable than money. Given the choice of more money or more time, research shows many people would prefer to be given more time, for example, in the form of additional holiday entitlement and in turn sacrifice some of their salary. Ergo, time is not just money - time is in fact more valuable, especially if you make that time count!
Brands, quite rightly, are capitalising on this movement. WeBuyAnyCar’s latest TV advert calls it out explicitly. They don’t deny you may get slightly less buck for your banger, but instead they highlight the time you will save by choosing them. Just think about what you could do with all that spare time you now have.
It’s not revolutionary to hear that technology is increasing our ability to be more efficient with our time. However, what we’re seeing now is that the most appealing and connected apps are those that go a little further and curate. Curation is not just organising and presenting information in a convenient and relevant way; it also introduces something new, something different, the element of surprise.
Take Prizm for example; a music system that can detect your mood when you walk in a room, which triggers the appropriate playlist to suit your emotional status at that moment in time.
Hello Fresh and Citymapper both do this too. They present you with just what you need - nothing more, nothing less. But within that, they will also include additional information you may have not known; like that it is just as quick to walk from Waterloo to Blackfriars as it is to take the tube but you’ll burn 70 more calories by travelling on foot, or that samphire goes perfectly with fish (and some simple instructions on how to cook it, in case you haven’t done so before).
I always used to say to my dad “don’t try to understand technology, just embrace it” when he’d ask me how it’s possible that he can store all his music “in this tiny little iPod” – and I think it’s fair to be asking some questions. But Generation Z, the iGeneration – they just get it. They have grown up through and truly are, the children of the Curated Convenience Revolution.
As the masses learn to embrace these new technologically curated experiences, there has also been a notable shift in how we perceive them. There’s still talk about how the digital world is taking over real-life, but now consumers are realising it doesn’t have to be that way. These time-saving innovations can instead enhance your experience as well as saving you time.
Consumers are increasing the focus in their lives to be about real, not virtual, experiences - something the industry refers to as ‘The Experience Economy’. The Curated Convenience Revolution is helping us cram as many meaningful experiences into the sacred time we have available.
So, to the brands and retailers reading this, now is the time to identify how your offer can go beyond just giving a helping hand to the time-starved out there. As consumers are becoming increasingly disloyal, you have an opportunity to prove your relevance and should be asking yourselves; how can I make my consumers’ life richer and not just easier? How can I make my brand something they actively seek out and can’t live without? How can I make every transaction with the brand seamless and yet also enjoyable? And if you really want to win big…How can I make my brand itself an experience?