Are We Over-Egging Better Sales Apps As New Experiences?

It's all about experience, and the currency of experience is emotion. That was the stirring message that delegates at the Adobe Summit left London's ExCel centre with yesterday. It's undoubtedly true, and we can all think of amazing experiences that brands have offered us. It's pretty easy to think of the opposite too.

The funny thing is that I can't help but wonder sometimes whether gold medals are handed out just a little too easily by marketers to themselves. Now, Uber is a really different experience. The Apple Store is a very different, enjoyable approach to buying expensive tech on the high street. We can all think of similar examples of an everyday activity being turned in to something far more enjoyable. 

You see, I'm just not so sure that the two main speakers brought onto stage to talk about their new experiences really typified new experiences entirely. They may have changed what they do, but they have certainly not changed a category and they don't pass my simple test. Have you done something new -- or is this just a slightly different way of inviting people to buy more stuff from you in a slightly different way? 

Hostelworld is a hugely successful accommodation booking service that wanted to move beyond just being a place where you transact to a service that provided a new experience. And to be honest, from the presentation, they kind of have. I just can't help asking myself whether an app that users can access to book tours when they're on the trip is truly providing a new experience. No doubt it's very useful, but isn't it just a way of getting people to upgrade to book tours? There was a neat part to the app where hostel owners can let people in an area know they are throwing a party or organising a tour. That was a good idea. Other than that, an app that lets you buy more stuff from a booking engine is just a travel app, isn't it?

The same can be said of Adidas, which offered an impressive set of videos to back up its new experience provided through three apps. One allowed people to reserve sports shoes in a store, another to personalise them, and the third sold a new shoe where people can change the inner and outer linings. OK -- the last one is a new product, but these are just selling people stuff, aren't they -- even if one app does come with a smart level of personalisation?

I may not be the best person to talk about Adidas, because the presentation mentioned how Adidas finds out more about its customers in increments, including favourite sports and teams. Regular readers may recall that I have called them out on this several times. If they know I'm a Chelsea fan after making several purchases from them, they've kept it very well hidden. Their site offers a series of tick boxes to drill down to a particular type which then have to be unticked if you want to go back and alter anything. Trust me, it's a navigational nightmare. So I'm not so sure it can position itself as tapping in to emotions and reinventing anything if I'm going to be honest. 

Amazon Prime's next-day delivery, asking Alexa to play my favourite songs, staying in an AirBnB rather than a hotel, hailing a cab from an app with a text confirming it's arrived -- all these are new experiences.

I have nothing against a great app that drives more sales -- but I'm not so sure that in itself, click and collect or booking a tour is a new experience, is it?

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