The world of consumer technology has steadily moved toward an ecosystem model over the last few years; whereby a single manufacturer has created an interconnected set of devices touching upon several facets of a consumer’s life, from communication to entertainment to housework.
For manufacturers of these devices, the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been. If a manufacturer is able to lock in a consumer with one device, for example a smartphone, they have the potential to influence a myriad of future purchases, from wearables, TVs, and laptops, to big-ticket items, like home appliances, home automation systems, and even vehicles.
Generating loyalty through device ecosystems
The further you dive into a particular device ecosystem, the harder it is to switch to something else. For example, if someone purchases an Android phone and later finds themselves in the market for a smartwatch, they’ll logically opt for an Android Wear watch. Once it’s time to purchase a new car, they might then decide on a car with Android Auto to get the most out of the connected features of both their phone and car. Then when it’s a year later and it’s time to upgrade to the latest and greatest smartphone, the most logical route is to get another Android phone since it’s guaranteed to still be compatible with their watch and car.
This is why it is so important to have a well thought out and engaging device to grab users’ attention and lock them in early.
Developing the “killer device” that keeps users coming back
The phrase from a few years ago was “killer app” to describe that one great app that encouraged people to buy a given smartphone. In the age of the device ecosystem, it’s the “killer device” – that one perfect device that draws people in and (hopefully) generates the loyalty needed to keep users coming back to the same manufacturer for all of their other devices.
Creating that killer device is no easy feat and is often the end-result of lots of planning and hitting the market at just the right time. Part of this planning though is ensuring that the device is not only easy to use but fun to use, and this is where user testing becomes so important. Because the difference between a good user experience and a great user experience can mean the difference between a consumer buying a manufacturer’s product once and moving on and a consumer buying a product and becoming locked in as a customer for life.
Ryan Carney is a Senior Lead UX Specialist at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email Ryan.Carney@gfk.com.