November 7, 2012

Cigarettes, Bars and eCommerce !

How does it feel when the bar tender at your favorite pub just asks "Your regular drink, JD on the rocks, Sir?" instead of handing over the drinks menu to you.  Or the manager at the cafe near your house suggests you to try the new cheesecake they've added in the menu because they know you like it.

This must have happened with many of us, several times. Infact, some of us even take it for granted now. 

But you'll think these are educated people and professionals from hospitality sector.  So I'll try to give another example.

Have you ever noticed, if you go to the same pan-wala everyday, he'll soon stop asking your brand and will hand over your cigarette as soon as you reach there without even asking you.  

Okay, now come back the world wide web. 

How many websites treat you like this?

Their audience also consist of same people like you & me, who get a special treatment at our regular hideouts, maybe that's why we go there more often.  

But even if you visit the same website everyday, all you get is a poker face. 

Google has made a amazing video depicting how users are treated online.

I seriously hate to see a captcha, specially the case sensitive ones that have letters Z and O in them :P

But am not here to complain, and nor am saying that none of the websites are working towards personalization. Infact it was one of the buzzwords of web 2.0 that few people still remember.  

I can see some sites remembering my session (read as 'Hello Satya'), last searched keywords, some even remember the last viewed items and some have gone beyond to suggest items based on my browsing history.

Although few site are genuinely working hard to make the interaction much more personal and 'special'. But for most, it's just another lazy attempt to increase sale by pushing more products.

There is still a lot that the online world can learn from their offline counterparts. The more we observe & understand the user behavior offline, the better WWW we'll build.  

And soon we'll see a day when websites will interact with us as swiftly as our hair stylists.

Statuary warning: Smoking & Drinking are injurious to health.