(Originally written on 23/02/18 as part of Hi Mum! Said Dad’s weekly newsletter, H! Lites.)

Dear Reader,

Hope you had a super week!

Big news — we took delivery of the Apple HomePod this week. Despite it marking our wooden surfaces, as per Apple’s admission that it might, it’s been interesting to see how it stacks up against the other smart speakers out there from Google and Amazon.

Matt, our Project Director, had this to say:

“It looks and sounds a lot better than any of the competitors (by a wide margin) but don’t expect it to be as smart as either Google or Amazon’s offering. It has left me wondering what the wait was for, but I am hopeful that it’ll get smarter with software updates.

The question is will Google and Amazon catch up with the sound quality before Apple can catch up with their smarts?”

Till next time, have a great weekend and don’t forget to wrap up warm next week,

Hi Mum! Said Dad

The Zero Click app results in a recent/favourite order being placed after 10 seconds. Image credits: Phandroid

Domino’s — “an e-commerce company that sells pizzas”

In our travels across the interwebs this week, we came across a number of interesting articles relating to customer experience (CX) and minimising friction, in particular.

To start off with, we have an insightful piece from Domino‘s Chief Digital Officer, who outlines how and why “removing friction from the consumer experience” became a common, uniting goal across all business functions.

It was this relentless focus on removing friction that culminated in the creation of Domino‘s ‘zero-click ordering’ proposition.

By Jeevan Jayaprakash, Strategist

Chanel teams up with Farfetch to modernise the luxury retail experience

Luxury brands’ in-store experience hasn’t evolved at the pace of the rest of the retail industry. It is antiquated because, to some extent, the in-store experience for high-end clients is unique and somewhat sacred — the relationship with staff, the premium feel of the products etc.

However, this partnership seems to be an admission that the way stores interacts with clients need to change. Consumers are getting used to receiving personalised experiences elsewhere. This becomes particularly pertinent when the consumer in question has spent Chanel levels of money. The idea is that any given Chanel store in the world should know who has just walked into their store and what their history with Chanel looks like (as a precursor to a conversation).

However, it is worth noting the difference in attitude at this end of the market. Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion at Chanel said the following to the FT: “We will only do what the client wants to do. And we will only move at their pace. This is not Big Brother. This is Chanel”. As a result, clients will have the option to enable a ‘do not disturb’ mode that allows them to peruse in peace.

By Oliver Iyer, Strategist

The payment flow within WhatsApp that is now available to Indian users. Image credits: kbloghub

Silicon Valley goes after Indian payments market

Payments — another friction point. When it comes to peer-to-peer payment apps with significant penetration, the Scandinavians have always had a leg up on everyone else. Denmark has Mobile Pay, Sweden has Swish and Norway has Vipps, with up to 65% of the population actively using these apps. These apps can now also be used for almost all C2B transactions and cross-border payments are also being explored.

Silicon Valley has spotted a similar monopolisation opportunity in emerging markets with Google and Facebook competing for dominance in India.

This is part of a wider interest in emerging markets though. With analysts and investors breathing down Google and Facebook’s neck, the onus is on them to expand the runway for future growth. With much of India still coming online, there are few better places to start.

By Oliver Iyer, Strategist

Google is pulling out all the stops to “make the web great again”

Google recently announced that they will be introducing ‘AMP stories’ (à la Snapchat and Instagram) for the web. AMP stories will feature rich vertical content that users can tap to advance through and more importantly, they will be available anywhere on the web and will be indexed in Google’s search results. Significantly, publishers will be able to keep all the revenue from ads they sell through AMP stories (for now, anyway). To add to this, Google also just announced they want to make turn emails into a web browser through AMP Email.

Throw Google’s new darling, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), into the mix (Google has pushed hard on this which has resulted in a change in stance from Apple on PWAs) and it looks like 2018 could be a very interesting year for web indeed.

By Jeevan Jayaprakash, Strategist

Originally written as part of Hi Mum! Said Dad’s weekly newsletter, H! Lites.

H! Lites hits you with a short, sharp, weekly dose of the latest and greatest across tech, business, design and other contemporary issues that we think would be of value to our readers.

If you would like H! Lites sent your inbox every week, click here to sign up.