Creating Revenue Streams Through Premium UX

Creating Revenue Streams Through Premium UX
June 5, 2024

Original Post Published on March 3, 2022

As the world of business software becomes increasingly competitive, finding new revenue streams has become a priority to management and business development teams.  According to UXCam and iMPACT, user experience and product accessibility are two levers to increase revenue:

  • The ROI on user experience investments is 9,900%. (UXCam)
  • 9 out of 10 people say that accessing the content in any way they want to, is very important to them. (iMPACT)
  • Over 80% of software users think that a seamless user experience across all devices is vital. (iMPACT)

As significant as these statistics may be, user experience is notoriously difficult to execute in the context of business software. Vendors find themselves wrestling with product decisions that toe the delicate line between the simplicity that users want and the powerful functionality that users need, all while using suboptimal legacy technologies.

As technology evolves and users prefer products that resemble their personal applications, traditional software vendors experience market share loss to modern software that offers a convenient and frictionless user experience.

This trend leaves traditional business software vendors in a difficult position as they cannot easily redesign their products, nor can they justify raising prices, particularly if they are playing catch-up with competition.

Users Want More from their Business Software Products

Modern software users expect more from their products than the traditional, cookie-cutter software that many legacy vendors rely on.

Today’s users are willing to pay a premium for products that are aesthetically appealing, intelligent, proactive, and fit the work habits of the end-user. In other words, Next-Gen products that are intelligent, human-centric and that spark positive emotions.

The State of Business Software UX

The business software industry is well known for missing out on the usability wave: human-centric design that makes a product user-friendly.

Today there are hundreds of software products that solve business problems and bring value to subscribers but are difficult to use and result in a miserable and frustrating user experience.

Consider how many products are “locally installed” apps that only work on one computer, or think about those applications that don’t have a simple print option, or solutions that take ages to run a basic report. There is no doubt that these products fulfill a need, but it is undeniable that the value these products offer is difficult to unlock.

In some cases, the issue is that software is simply outdated – built during the dot com era when the gold standard of product development revolved around features that were built by engineers during a time when user experience wasn’t an expectation or a competitive advantage.

In other cases, the product may try to pack too many elements, filters, dropdown menus and screens and in doing so make the application difficult to learn and frustrating to use.

It is not difficult to see how a product’s complexity or dated looks only reduce its desirability and value, regardless of the underlying utility.

Traditional Routes to Solving the Business Software UX Puzzle

Today, product expectations are higher than ever and end-users want a product that “just works”.

Vendors are great at defining the problems their products solve, but they need to design the right mechanism to deliver this value to their users.

Designing a product that just works is a difficult challenge that requires detailed end-user guidance which is often difficult to obtain. In reality, the end-users are not product designers or user experience experts who can provide detailed feedback on the product that they are reviewing. However, end-users can give invaluable feedback on whether the software is something they would adopt based on their work habits and the compatibility with their existing tool kit.

Gathering user feedback to re-design a product is the first place for vendors to start as they can make modifications based on the unique functionality of their software.

Re-designing a user interface at once is technically difficult, financially prohibitive, and likely unacceptable to users who have molded their habits and workflows to match the existing product.

An alternative approach is a progressive re-design that is methodical but it is a slow process that will only show incremental efforts to upgrade a product that needs to meet modern standards.

Neither approach satisfies user expectations, nor improves financial returns in an acceptable timetable.

The Future of Business Software UX

Business software UX is not a lost cause: artificial intelligence offers a clear alternative to the aforementioned costly and slow product redesign options.

Language-based artificial intelligence technologies (NLP and NLG) are naturally positioned to deliver a premium user experience that facilitates person-product interactions regardless of anyone’s role, function or product expertise.

We have seen major companies make efforts to deliver a premium user experience, such as Salesforce devoting significant effort to building their Einsten AI platform.  Even Oracle is evolving its approach to UX design.

Creating New Revenue Streams from Ai-based UX

Delivering a premium user experience can create new revenue streams when offered as an additional subscription, similar to Amazon’s Prime offering.

In the same way that Prime subscriptions allow Amazon to re-monetize its customer base, an AI-based user experience can help business software vendors monetize the premium usability and speed that AI offers to users.