Uber co-founder and chairman Garrett Camp has revealed his Next Big Thing, an Uber-for-stuff ‘request network’ that works like a Siri for shopping. Operator is a software-with-a-service app, like the experimental Magic service, that connects you with a network of virtual and human personal shoppers called ‘Operators’ who satisfy your shopper requests on-demand, and bring service with a digital smile to the world of e-commerce. Simply text what you want to Operator, and the app will automagically ping you back suggestions with pics, prices and links.

  1. Send an instant text message request in Operator (with photos if you wish) for what you want
  2. Request is routed to Operators working in the product category
  3. Operator texts back purchase options, details, and pics
  4. Tap the ‘I’ll take it’ button, and payment details on file are debited and the product is shipped to you automagically

Operator is another example of ‘convenience tech‘ designed to save us time and effort. Incase you hadn’t noticed, the digital world is betting big on ‘convenience tech’ right now as a solution to the problems of customer-centricity and digital transformation (see Amazon’s Uber-for-everthing service launch last week).  Saving people time and effort – two of the three costs involved with any transaction (along with money) – is what digital does best. And it’s psychologically smart, shoppers are driven by the need to value-maximise, and by reducing time and effort costs, the perceived value of their purchases go up.

Forget content, convenience is king in today’s on-demand economy.

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