If you can get people to use your product, you’ve taken a step in the right direction. But wouldn’t you rather get people to use your product over and over again? In fact, certain types of products like mobile apps and social networks rely on habitual users.
Habitual users are different than returning customers. A returning customer might just patronize your business once in awhile. But a habitual user actually works your product or service into their routine. For instance, if you offer a photo-editing app, you don’t just want customers to download your app and use it once or twice. You want them to use it every time they edit photos.
To convince users to make a habit out of using your product or service, you have to build its value over time. Entrepreneur and author Nir Eyal gave a speech on this topic at AlleyNYC this year, captured in this Entrepreneur video.
During the speech, he explained a few different ways that companies might help their customers build value over time. In general, he said that customers have to get invested in the company and any future rewards that it might lead to. In many cases, this means offering customers the opportunity to customize your product to their needs. He explained:
“The more content I put into iTunes, the better iTunes becomes as my one and only music library. The more data I give to Mint.com, a personal finance software, or Pinterest for example — the more data I put into those services, the more I can do with them. They’re tailored to my needs based on the data I give these companies.”
So in those instances, it can take a lot of time for users to really build value into your product or services. But if you make your product easy to use and give them the opportunity to build their own value, you might just be able to get your customers to do the work.
Customers Photo via Shutterstock
You can also add value quickly with curated recommendations (i.e. the preset stations on Pandora) or recommendations based on similar users preferences (i.e. Amazon telling you what other people buy with a certain product). This way you get ahead of the chicken & the egg scenario and can offer great value quickly.
Great points! Customization based on past purchases/activity is definitely a huge plus for a lot of customers.
Could you come up with some small businesses that have been good at getting you hooked, consuming their product and services on a regular basis?
It’s hard as i’ve found because once you’ve got people hooked then they blow up. Starbucks got people hooked now its a part of their routine or instagram a recent social media example, they made it part of the routine by people waking up and checking it immediately. By receiving likes and followers the individual is receiving what they feel is support in what they are doing or the image they are being percieved as helping them get closer to their ideal self
I think a lot of mobile apps have become “routine” for people. I know I check Instagram every morning (along with email and a few others), and several times throughout the day. A lot of mobile/facebook games also seem to be routine for a lot of people I know.
It also helps to build a particular culture around your products. When people see that it is part of an identity and they must buy it in order to fit the identity, then they will be more than willing to spend for it.