I’m not ‘Appy?


(Alright, that’s enough. Ed)

This week, Sainsbury announced the opening of its first store with no tills. Till-free. Like that’s a good thing.  And so it should be.

Buses are “till-free”.  As are subscription-delivered goods like coffee, razors and make-up.  TVs and electricity are till-free.  I like them.

But why does till-free “work” for me, the king-like consumer?  Simple – no queues. No annoying till queues; no annoying basket-only lanes. Just choose-scan-walk out.

(Btw, don’t think I haven’t spotted it works for you, the retailer – fewer queues, more turnover and less staff – #winning)

So the theory is great… However, the execution burst my consumer-convenience, user-experience balloon.

So the theory is great… However, the execution burst my consumer-convenience, user-experience balloon.

To use our till-free store, please download our App” said the friendly retailer.

So I did. And here’s what happened:

Grocer: “Do you have the App?” – yes, I have your app

Grocer: “The new, different till-free shopping App?” – What? No. (So I then had to download that too)

Please log-in” – I tried, using my supermarket log-in.

We don’t recognise you” – yes, of course you do; It’s me. I’ve shopped with you for years. Look, I can even log into your website.

We don’t recognise you on the new App. Please re-register”. Really? Thanks for that.

Hi. Do you have a Nectar card?” No thanks, I haven’t got your loyalty card.

Then you cannot register and use our till-free store. Now leave.

Well, how is that progress? How is that “convenient”?  How is that customer-centred?

In that time, I could have visited a store with, say, a till. And bought some stuff.

So progress, in all its app-shaped brilliance, is only convenient if it’s convenient for ME.

(I could care less about your institutional shareholders).

A similar story with my new NHS Patient Access app, which promised to let me “order prescriptions quickly and easily”. Cool.  So, I tried. But then I got an error message. Now, I’m not sure if my prescription is ordered or not? Guess what I have to do now… Exactly what I would have done before your revolutionary new app-based “service”.

If user-experience (UX) is the new frontline for your brand, you’d sure-as-hell better make sure your users experience is user-friendly. Otherwise people like me (consumers, as we are prone to calling them) will try it and never try it again. And vent their frustrations about it, vocally and online.

By: Simon Stokes

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