Tech Hardware Magnets, Shopify Launches Shop

Tech Hardware Magnets
I remember being told growing up to keep magnets away from computers. This is why it seems all the more fascinating that magnets, integrated as a part of the experience with many tech products, have such a positive impact on the experience. Here are some examples.

iPad. An obvious one of that got news because it just launched is the new iPad Magic Keyboard. Part of what makes this case so magical is the magnet that holds iPad up and lets you tilt the angle of the screen in a number of ways. The other is how the magnet holds the Apple Pencil on iPad and charges it.

Surface Pro. Surface Pro had the first magnetic pencil attachment, and it was always something I wanted Apple to duplicate. Now with Surface Pro X, the pen is hidden in the case and held by a magnet. This subtle makes losing the pen nearly impossible.

Earbuds. Many companies have smartly made their earbuds firmly hold and lock into place in their cases with magnets. Galaxy Buds, AirPods, Google Pixel Buds, etc.

What I’ve noticed through the years of observing how different companies have integrated magnets as a part of the experience with their hardware, is how the subtle feeling of the pull of the magnet to secure something is so satisfying. It’s hard to explain, but there is something about that snap or lock into place feeling that has a positive psychological impact.

I notice this daily with my AirPods Pro when I put them back in the case and feel the pull of the magnet, and they snap into place. It brings about a sense of delight each time I do it.

I have no idea if tech companies realize the satisfying nature of this, but that feeling is consistent every time it happens. With Apple Pencil, with putting iPad on the Magic Keyboard, etc. Sometimes the stronger the magnetic pull, the more satisfying. I’ve been playing with Google’s Pixel Buds 2, and their entry into the case is even stronger than Apple’s with AirPods Pro. I just love it, and I can’t explain why.

I say all this to make a point. As we go forward into new device types and particularly around some aspects of miniaturizing computers, I expect more work and innovation to be done with integrated magnets into devices. While subtle, I expect this to become a fascinating part of overall product experiences to watch for and one that has a fascinating impact on the product experience.

Shopify Launches Shop App
Today, Shopify launched an app called Shop. I know I have written about Shopify before, and my overall opinion is that I would much prefer small businesses, D2C upstart brands, and more use Shopify than Amazon for commerce.

If you have not had the experience of buying a product from a merchant on Shopify, it is fantastic on many levels. From the ease of checkout using any payment method you want, including Apple Pay, Paypal, Amazon Pay, etc., to order confirmation and order tracking. The app will make all of these even better and, in my opinion, encourage even more commerce from Shopify merchants. While I know Shopify is not yet a household name by consumers, if I know a merchant is on Shopify, I am many times more likely to convert my purchase.

As a slight aside, I do think Shopify would be well served to start doing more aggressive consumer-facing marketing. This app may very well be a part of that strategy. But another thing the app has that is clever is a way to find local merchants on their platform who are near you. This has a benefit in the COVID-19 situation to help link local buyers up with local sellers.

There has already been a steep rise in e-commerce over past annual and seasonal trends with the nationwide and, in many cases the global shelter in place. A shift in e-commerce for many more transactions is coming and likely to be one of the broader things that stick going forward. Although, I do expect when the shelter in place is lifted or eased, people will want to go out, and we will likely see a sharp, gradual rise in retail spending. But the main point here, is with many things, once a barrier is broken down, and in this case, people using e-commerce for more things, we tend to see the barriers stay down and the habit grows.

I fully expect COVID-19 to have a dramatic impact on the penetration e-commerce has as a part of retail annually. This will benefit companies like Shopify, who have a unique moment to capitalize.

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

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