Michael Cosh is a Software Solutions Architect at PureFormulas. He attended Google I/O this year and provided us with his highlights.
It was clear at the recent Google I/O conference that the focus of new features is to improve speed and user experience for both web and apps. In e-commerce, this will be particularly meaningful for the shopping journey for everyone from customers, to developers, to retailers. I’ve outlined below what I consider to be the most significant announcements.
If you’re an online retailer, cost to acquire a customer is often one of the biggest challenges. Google’s new Search Console service, which is kind of like Google Analytics for search, alleviates this pain point by providing a better understanding of organic search traffic. Not only can you make sure that Google finds your site and shows it for the right search queries, Search Console also regularly combs for errors and alerts you when you need to make a change.
We’ve seen an enhanced search results format with Rich Snippets for the past few years, but Google has now introduced Rich Cards. These cards display content in a more engaging and visual format, with the focus on providing a better user experience on mobile. The best use cases seem to be for recipes, music, and reviews. The display is image-heavy and includes a carousel prominently featured at the top of search results. A picture says 1,000 words, after all.
When was the last time you filled out your credit card information on your phone? If you’re like most people, you gave up part of the way through because it was such a hassle. Fortunately, Google announced it will be extending Autofill to support credit cards and addresses, by enabling Chrome to act as an intermediary between merchant, shopper, and payment method. Likewise, a new API that integrates ApplePay and AndroidPay will reduce forms at checkout and enable mobile websites to take advantage of a secure, streamlined payment method. Simply put, the nuisance that is filling out a form and actually buying something on mobile will be gone. And that’s a good thing for anyone worried about checkout drop-off.
It’s no secret that retailers can offer an enhanced customer experience when they know their customer – this is true both on and offline. However, usernames and passwords are annoying to remember and type, especially on mobile. The Credential Management API, which is available on the latest version of Chrome, “gives developers programmatic access to a browser’s credential manager and helps users sign in more easily.” This means that if your customer is signed into Chrome, and you have a federated login system, such as social sign-in through Facebook or Twitter, your customers will be able to login to a website with just one tap. The user can also be automatically signed back in if their session expires. Retailers will know who they are talking to, so they will be able to provide a tailored experience to the shopper with well-timed push notifications and location-centric landing pages.
Customer Experience is Key
2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year in tech. More than anything, the advances that have been made to the mobile platform have surpassed what is possible on desktop, at least as far as customer experience is concerned. And the customer is always right!