Is Amazon the worst enemy of our user experience?

Amazon affects our ability to compete. Both you and me.

You may say, “Nonsense. Amazon isn’t my competitor.” Hey, I don’t consider them my competitor either, but they have a huge affect on what prospects expect from me.

How is that? It’s this little thing I call Transference of Expectation. In short, users expect a level of experience that is equal to the best experience they encounter online. It doesn’t matter that the experience they are referencing is outside our industries. They have experienced it in one place online and they expect to have that same great experience everywhere.

Dang you, Amazon!

Amazon makes it incredibly easy to find just about anything. They also suggest other items that seem incredibly intuitive. And they make buying as easy as clicking one button. So your users expect the same level of ease, intuitiveness, and convenience from you.

“That’s not fair!” you say. It doesn’t matter. They have had a taste of what an incredible investment in technology can yield.

This is the dark side of what everyone a few years ago called the, “Leveling of the playing field.” Remember that? Pundits talked about how any Joe Schmoe with a computer in a garage could create a web presence and compete with a multi-national corporation for customers.

It was true. But what Joe is starting to realize is that the multi-national corporation is setting the bar for user experience out in the virtual world. And prospects don’t care that Joe is just the little guy in the garage (just like they didn’t care that Joe wasn’t a multi-national corporation when the whole leveling-the-playing-field started in the first place.)

Don’t let the man get you down

All of this does not mean that Joe should close up shop and exit the garage. And it doesn’t mean you and I have to immediately try and match the technology investment of the Amazons of the virtual world. What it does mean is that we need to understand the Transference of Expectation our prospects may have when they hit our sites. We need to be transparent and honest about who we are. Most of all, we need to focus on our users and what’s at the core of what they really want from us. If we do that, we’ll create a great experience - no matter what kind of expectation has been set by all the Amazons out there.

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