I love coffee

Habit forming

“Old habits are hard to break” probably resonates all too well with the many people that are already contemplating their New Year gym resolutions but unfortunately the corollary of “new habits are easy to make” just doesn’t hold true.

Contrary to popular belief, it does NOT take 21 days to create a new habit.

The holy grail for any brand or new technology is to become part of a regular daily habit – for the user to reach a level of automaticity where the choice to use the brand or technology becomes a reflex reaction, not requiring any conscious thought.

A large part of what I do, is look for new habits and consumer behaviours that are fuelled, enabled or accelerated by technology in order to help my clients understand the implications to them and their go-to-market and product strategy. As a confirmed early adopter-and-discarder of technology, my own behaviours are often an early indicator of what lies ahead. If you can leverage an existing habit to your own advantage, your customer doesn’t have to go through the pain of developing a completely new habit.

I have read with interest many posts from people noting that ApplePay contactless payments adoption has stalled, has no use case and isn’t achieving the predicted levels of dominance that many expected when the technology was released. My personal observation is that habits take a bit longer to change than people originally predicted.

If you look around you, I’m sure that you will notice that a common habit most of us have developed since the advent of the smartphone is “filling in the blank space”. I’m referring to the practice of whipping out your phone the minute you are idle – on the train / bus / tube while you commute or while you stand in line waiting for your coffee or lunchtime sandwich. My daily commute finds me with my earphones in, listening to Spotify while catching up on emails, Twitter, LinkedIn, newsfeeds, Facebook etc.

As a result, when I get off the train or to the front of the queue, my smartphone is already in my hand, while my wallet is still in my pocket ……….

Thanks to this tip from Wired magazine last year, I developed a habit of tapping my phone through the turnstiles on my commute and pretty much anywhere that I can when my phone is already in my hand – which requires far less effort than struggling through the layers of coats and jackets than the average commuter has to rummage through to get at their wallet during these cold winter months.

Reuters quotes a recent report from Visa Europe that states that more than one billion contactless transactions were made during 2015 and all projections forecast this number to continue to rise substantially in 2016. “Tapping” is already fast becoming a global habit and I think we will soon see phones being used to tap more often than cards for the reason I have stated above – until the next thing of course – I’m eagerly awaiting the delivery of my contactlessly enabled payment wearable in the form of the Kerv ring – but then that’s what being an early adopter is all about – it’s habit forming 🙂

What habits have you formed lately?