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Addressing 1-2-3 of ‘Wiifm’ could help enhance consumer engagement

That thought when you clean the drawer only to discover that long-abandoned wearable – “Why did I abandon this again? Oh yeah… it never addressed my Wiifm needs”

This post explores how consumer IoT value chain players could address one of their crucial ongoing challengesenhancing consumer engagement (translated: prevent high abandonment rates)

Oh Wearables… what happened?

Hailed as “the next big thing!” by many, the (consumer) wearables category (smartwatch, activity trackers, etc.) did see some initial growth… but seems to have ‘lost their fizz’ in recent times

Not only has the category’s adoption rates been low, but is also increasingly  witnessing high abandonment rates (translated: low consumer engagement)

According to a recent Gartner survey, smartwatch abandonment rate stands at 29% whilst activity trackers are abandoned at a similar rate of 30%… primarily because people do not find them useful, they get bored of them or they break

It appears that their very touted features – activity tracking & limited smartphone extension features (notifications, limited App interaction & perhaps even un-tethered phone calls) – aren’t strong enough to keep consumers engaged in the long run…

…and this abandonment risk could extend well into other consumer IoT segments as well… particularly for those IoT providers whose products haven’t ventured beyond ‘stage 1’ of consumer engagement journey (outlined below)

Device/Brand (IoT) Selection Journey – Key Criteria

Broadly speaking, consumer’s IoT journey begins at the intersection of 4 key criteria that are also a part of the zero, first, second & third moments of truth –

IoT selection criteriaBrand + Look-n-Feel

“Is the IoT product from a well-hyped startup – will this startup even exist in a year from now? OR is it from a trusted industry stalwart with strong reputation? How does the physical attributes of the IoT product stack up – cheap plastic or premium build – Utilitarian or fashionable?”

Price vs. Value

“Are more expensive IoT products more reliable? Does the ultra low sale price indicate its ‘disposable’ nature – can I even expect future software & security updates?”

Interoperability

“Is the IoT device standalone or part of a broader ecosystem? Would it work with my existing smartphone, wireless protocols, voice-assistant hub, other IoT devices, etc.? Would the manufacturer support future partners? Is it part of a closed ecosystem or open source?”

Wiifm – What’s in it for me!

“Wiifm (premise of this post) – Why should I use your connected <insert object> and… What long-term value will I receive in return?

Consumers are increasingly scrutinizing & questioning the (Wiifm) real value of IoT devices & solutions (connected, smart or automated) from start-ups (think: connected juicer?) and established entities alike (think: connected air freshner?)

‘Wiifm’ also plays a central role in the consumers’ purchase decision process (zero, first, second & third moments of truth)

1-2-3 stages of Wiifm – Consumer Engagement Journey

To prevent IoT abandonment; providers could focus on the 3 key stages in consumer engagement journey a.k.a consumer’s ‘Wiifm’ requirements

Regardless of the IoT offering (standalone device / comprehensive solution)consumer engagement could be achieved by provisioning of relatively simple insights though to autonomous actions and/or ongoing tangible rewards

Stages in IoT consumer engagement

Stage 1: INSIGHTS

In the short-terminsights-as-a-benefit from the underlying IoT device (or solution) would help in keeping consumers engaged

1.1 Primary Insights: Relating to insights generated from the direct activities of the underlying IoT device (e.g. exercise & sleep tracking, air quality, energy usage)

1.2 Relational Insights: Relating to complex insights generated from the relational activities between interconnected IoT devices (e.g. impact on sleep pattern from room’s air quality)

For most consumer IoT providers, the reliance on insights alone won’t be sufficient enough to keep their consumer engaged in perpetuity

Stage 2: ACTIONS

The natural evolution of insights into meaningful actions-as-a-benefit (as long as it solves for a specific pain point &/or enhances quality of life) will aid in mid-long term consumer engagement with the underlying IoT device (or solution)

2.1 Partially-Smart Actions: Ability for the underlying IoT device to perform select actions based on a combination of user inputpartially smart capabilities

2.2 Autonomous Actions: Ability for a network of interconnected IoT devices to self-automate complex tasks based on a combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence & other smart capabilities (stepping stone towards achieving Walter state)

Stage 3: REWARDS

Eventually, majority of the consumers will seek some form of reward-as-a-benefit tangible rewards (or benefits) in exchange for their loyalty and ongoing use (& valuable data points) of the underlying IoT device (or solution)

3.1 Direct Rewards: Where consumers receive perceivable tangible rewards / benefits directly associated with the underlying IoT device or solution

3.2 Relational Rewards: Where consumers receive perceivable tangible rewards / benefits directly associated with the underlying IoT device or solution (e.g. real $$ discounts on health insurance in exchange for committing to an active lifestyle using the provider’s activity tracker)

E.g. connected toothbrush: Initially, insights into brushing habits may suffice the user’s short-term Wiifm needs… but would have to evolve to address their long-term Wiifm needs such as tangible rewards

“After 3 months of use I know how I brush my teeth… So... What’s in it for me to continue using your $400 connected toothbrush, especially when cheaper alternatives exist? …Free dental check-up? Insurance discount?”

Apple Watch’s (Wiifm) engagement initiative isn’t just limited to its OS updates & incremental features (think: elevated heart rate alerts) but also integrated into corporate wellness programs (with tangible returns for some) as well as longer-term benefits in the form of health research contribution, findings & hopefully viable solutions some day

Wiifm propositions doesn’t necessarily have to follow a linear release over time either and could be offered as a single coherent solution on Day 1… provided the IoT provider has the relevant capabilities, partnerships & capital / funding

Partnerships (B2B/E/G) are key to addressing consumers’ long-term Wiifm in provisioning of  Relational Rewards; ergo those IoT providers with extensive network of (relevant) partners are better placed to win their user’s engagement

So…

All other factors being equal (security, build quality, interoperability, et al.), the hallmark of a successful IoT device (or solution) will be its ability to truly address consumers’ long-term ‘Wiifm’ requirements

Translated: robust Wiifm initiatives could potentially help prevent IoT- abandonment

IoT (devices or solution) should exist to provide perceivable value to the end user … Whether that is in the form of addressing specific pain-points and/or enhancing their overall quality of life and/or providing relevant returns (tangible rewards & benefits) in the long run

Forthcoming segments will aim to explore customer experience (CX) through the IoT device/solution lifecycle as well as UX/UI models that bolster it

Stay tuned!