Google I/O Highlights [Video]

Those following me at Google I/O this week on twitter know that it was jam-packed with exciting announcements. I caught up with Pure Formula’s Senior Web Developer, Michael Cosh, to find out what excited him from a retailer’s perspective.

Google introduced a whole slew of new opportunities for retailers to engage shoppers and improve the customer experience, most importantly, Progressive Web Apps.

Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps, and related web APIs that position the web competitively relative to proprietary app ecosystems were featured very prominently. Here are the top takeaways from those discussions.

  1. Websites should be amazing, even if your connection is unreliable or down. In many ways, an unreliable connection is worse than no connection. At least with no connection you know you need to wait until connectivity is restored – a poor connection leaves you wondering what’s happening, often stuck on a loading screen. An Offline-first approach coupled with new web technologies such as ServiceWorker can be used to create experiences that let your users continue to be productive, or at the very least, communicate with them about the current network conditions and what’s happening.
  2. Websites need to be fast, which is about more than page speed. When you think about how fast a web page is, it’s important to consider the task that needs to be accomplished and that the time spent loading between pages is usually only a small part of total time spent on that task. The rest is spent scrolling, consuming information or interacting with elements inside of the page. All of this needs to be easy and fast for the experience to be considered speedy – in fact, it needs to happen at 60 frames per second, more than twice the frame rate of most movies you watch at home! Facebook ran an experiment where they deliberately slowed some user experiences from 60 frames per second to 30, and watched user engagement collapse.
  3. Checkouts continue to be the biggest cause of drop offs in the ecommerce funnel. With the upcoming Web Payments API, a web standard with planned support from Chrome and other major browsers, one touch payments are coming to the web. This is a game changer for commerce on the web.
  4. Retailers can now achieve a single customer view without multiple log ins. Most mobile websites don’t want to force users to log in because it can cause friction. But when users aren’t logged in, you can’t offer the kind of personalized experiences that have become typical in apps. With the new Credential Management API, when a user has signed in once, they’re signed in everywhere – on desktop, tablet and mobile – solving the identity issues that arise for retailers striving to achieve a single customer view.

Google I/O introduced a wealth new technologies for retailers to engage customers, and it’s exciting to think about how we can integrate these new technologies into our Mobile Customer Engagement Platform to help our customers build strong, loyal customer relationships.