The world has changed, the world is changing. Consumers have become hyper local, mobile, social, and brand advocates for everything from tennis shoes to U.N. Initiatives happening half way across the globe. CMOs are just now starting to ge
t “Social” under control; COOs are just now working on enabling mobile transactions. CTOs are being asked to “integrate” on too many levels.
I’m sorry to say that the rate of change in technology and consumer adoption has accelerated to the point that these efforts will result in only marginal returns by the time they are realized at all by the companies that stand to benefit most. Let me rephrase: the rate of change is rapidly accelerating, yet no one will be able to keep up. Therefore, companies must organize cross functional teams in order to be wildly successful in the world of tomorrow, and they must forge strategic partnerships with companies providing relevant services that meet growing consumer demands.
This is precisely the reason why I get upset when I see great restaurant brands choosing their POS providers as their mobile ordering vendor. Brands have a hard time realizing that transaction enablement is not a mobile strategy in and of itself. While transactions are absolutely necessary, they are only a small part of what consumers want in a mobile presence. The fact is that most POS companies are simply not equipped to measure and adapt to consumer needs and habits. POS engineers are masters of big data. They are fantastic at building user interfaces that minimize ordering errors. However, their rigid business model simply doesn’t allow for them to take advantage of the ever-growing and rapidly evolving ecosystem of open platforms.
One could hope that these providers would—at the very least—come up with an awesome mobile ordering platform. But from what’s out there today, they are far too willing to sacrifice an optimized customer experience in exchange for marginal business.
Take a look, for example, at the app for Jazzman’s Cafe & Bakery that was built by an unnamed POS provider. Each page of the app exhibits glaring usability flaws that compromise the user experience.
Let’s start by taking a look at the landing page. The user’s presence on this page inherently implies his or her intent to order just by getting to this point, so why give them three alternatives to finding a location? As a user, I just want to see nearby stores!
And what do you get when you choose nearby stores?
Going deeper into the experience, one begins to realize that this “app” does not actually behave like a native iPhone application. The header bar scrolls with the page, the buttons don’t highlight when pressed, the app goes into landscape mode without providing any real value, and the settings area button looks like cardboard cutouts of real iPhone buttons.
In all, it takes a minimum of three screens just to select which kind of tea I want. If I was an actual customer of Jazzman’s Cafe and Bakery, I would have serious reservations about the ability of the person on the other end to correctly translate my order.
As I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t surprise me that a POS company produced this kind of low quality consumer experience; They simply don’t have any expertise in the area. I would venture to guess that its development was probably outsourced. As specialists in designing software for employees and managers, they just don’t know how to build a consumer-friendly experience. For that reason, I certainly wouldn’t put their product in the hands of my customers.