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Finding the perfect balance between friction and reward

In this episode, we are joined by Richard Hammond, CEO and Co-Founder of Uncrowd and author of ‘Smart Retail’ and ‘Friction/Reward’. Uncrowd is a UK tech start-up focused on understanding, through data, when and why consumers choose one retailer over a rival. Understanding the balance between friction and reward is fundamental to driving customer acquisition and nurturing brand loyalty. As someone who has lived and breathed retail for over 35 years, Richard shares tips for brands looking to increase their customer experience both online and in-store.
Watch the full video here:

Why do shoppers choose one retailer over another?

Richard’s passion for retail led him on a discovery journey for a quantifiable metric to understand what drives consumer decision making? Why Safeway instead of Kroger’s? Why Tesco instead of the Co-Op?  In short, there wasn’t one, so he created Friction vs Reward’. This concept can be described as shopping effort vs purpose gain. 
For example, online shopping has lower frictions, but the level of reward is limited as it is often purely transactional. It may not trigger a shopper’s senses, emotions, or nurture personal and brand connections, compared to a traditional bricks and mortar shopping experience. But online shopping is quick, effective and above all, given the risks associated with COVID-19, safe. Richard urges brands to consider every grain of effort and every friction they require from their consumers. Consider your own frictions, is it a complex returns process or requesting an online survey or review? Each request amounts to a friction, and each friction must be compensated through reward.   

Importance of Trust

Trust is an integral element on both sides of the ‘Friction vs Reward’ equation. When trust in a retailer is low, friction is high; when trust is high, friction is low and customer loyalty is built. Building trust takes time but according to Richard, balancing your ‘Friction vs Reward’ is essential to restoring trust and customer loyalty.
A simple exercise for you: grab a pen and paper, and work out what your frictions and your rewards are? If your trust is low, where do you have to compensate? Do you adapt your rewards or improve the frictions? Finding the balance between friction and reward is the key to success.
Microsoft Advertising’s “Marketing with Purpose” playbook was created for you to find out how best to create a trusted relationship with your customers. In this playbook, research insights, strategies and actionable tactics are shared to empower all marketers to build a more trusted brand.

The resurgence of retail

COVID-19 has tested the retail industry and Richard urges retailers to remain optimistic. Agility and adaptability are essential as shopping largely moves online. Opportunity awaits those online retailers who ensure the balance between ‘Friction vs Reward’ remain in the customer’s favor. This will allow those retailers to differentiate their brand from the next, as online consumer behavior continues to grow. Richard shares the secret to creating more reward online, better customer experience, and ultimately how to reduce online friction. If you are looking for data driven insights to help you navigate the resurgence of retail in 2021, check out the Microsoft Advertising retail hub.
Get as low friction as possible, that's the mantra of being an online retailer, low friction is critical.

— Richard Hammond, Uncrowd

Other episodes

Microsoft Advertising Insights series
Episode 1: In brands we trust | Episode 2: Covid-19 recovery trends | Episode 3: Client trust | Episode 4: Value of partnership in retail | Episode 5: eCommerce insights from Wunderman | Episode 6: Reimagining Retail - Sustainability | Episode 7: Lockdown lessons learnt from Keyade | Episode 8: How to succeed in the captive economy.
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