Aza Raskin says he's sorry for making you sad.
If you don't know Aza, he's a writer, engineer, and entrepreneur...and the inventor of the "Infinite scroll".
(You know how you can scroll and scroll and never reach the end of TikTok, Pinterest, Instagram, or even LinkedIn? That's him.)
Infinite scroll came from an attempt to make a more seamless and user-friendly user experience, but, like many good intentions, it succeeded too well.
(Infinite scrolling intentionally or unintentionally plays on a heuristic shortcut called 'unit bias,' which basically says that people are naturally motivated to complete a 'unit' of something. A good example of a 'unit' is a page of Google — You're much less likely to click on page 2, because hitting the bottom of a page gives you a sense of accomplishment, and having to click provides your brain time to assess the diminishing returns you'll likely experience on the next page.)
Now let's talk eCommerce.
Brick-and-mortar retailers used to spend a ton of time, energy, and resources coming up with creative ways to keep you shopping (Like how IKEA sets up their store as a giant maze and Target used to not play music over the speakers to encourage aimless wandering.)
The eCommerce equivalent? Seemingly infinite scrolling.
Some of this is driven by necessity — retailers have huge catalogs and users can only see a half dozen items at a time. But what you'll find is that more time in the app doesn't necessarily always mean more purchases the same way it did in a brick-and-mortar.
We don't just want users in our app. We want them buying.
(...and this is verified by the fact that order frequency has over 2x the impact vs. average order value on the earnings and profitability of eCommerce apps.
You don't need users spending hours in your app, you just need them to keep coming back with more regularity.)
Instead of focusing solely on boosting product offerings, eCommerce stores should invest in technologies that send highly personalized product recommendations to their customers, right when they're the most relevant.
*wink wink nudge nudge*