Sarah's column appears in Marketing Communication News

My name is Sarah and I’m a Prime addict.

Admit it: you are too. We’re all hooked on the sug­ar-rush thrill of one-click deliv­er­ies. And the cult of speed is about to get faster. With the upcom­ing launch of Air Prime, deliv­er­ies will land by drone just 30 min­utes after you click. About time. I mean, who has time to wait for next day deliv­ery? Because when you’ve decid­ed you need a fab­ric shaver it can’t wait. Our pur­chase deci­sions are often made through the now, next day or nev­er’ filter.

This kind of ris­ing con­sumer expec­ta­tion is hav­ing an impact on every sec­tor. BUILT/ is a rad­i­cal new start-up from Travis Perkins that’s rein­vent­ing the build­ing sup­plies mar­ket. It’s a dig­i­tal­ly enabled builders’ mer­chant with speed and effi­cien­cy at its heart. It includes a Lock & Load ser­vice for time-pressed builders that makes it pos­si­ble for them to order any­where, then pick up their goods from For­mu­la 1‑style ser­vice bay crews at pre-arranged times so they can be back on-site – and earn­ing again – as quick­ly as possible.

The image of builders ambling along the aisles think­ing about their next choco­late diges­tive is as out of date as the idea of house­wives doing the week­ly shop along bustling high streets. This isn’t the Sev­en­ties; everyone’s in a hurry.

But what’s inter­est­ing is that in some areas it’s going the oth­er way. Fast isn’t always best. Delib­er­ate­ly slow­ing down a brand expe­ri­ence to pro­duce some­thing calmer, unhur­ried and more reflec­tive is some­times the right thing to do.

I bought some seeds the oth­er day. I went to Ama­zon, expect­ing their usu­al super-quick ser­vice, but they were out of stock, so I turned to a small nurs­ery. Sev­er­al days after I placed my order, the post­man arrived with a love­ly old-fash­ioned enve­lope – the sort your grand­par­ents used to send let­ters in. Open­ing it, I found my pack of seeds, togeth­er with a hand-writ­ten note and a sec­ond, dif­fer­ent seed pack that they felt went well with the ones I’d bought. It was the hor­ti­cul­tur­al world’s total­ly organ­ic ver­sion of you’ve bought that, so you might like this’.

The whole thing was a delight­ful expe­ri­ence – a refresh­ing lit­tle reminder of mind­ful­ness – and all the bet­ter for the antic­i­pa­tion that gen­tly built as I wait­ed for my delivery.

There are signs of this creep­ing into the work­place. I was with a big cor­po­rate client recent­ly and they were telling me how they’re try­ing to encour­age con­ver­sa­tions between their staff by adding more casu­al col­li­sions’ into their work­ing day. One of our ideas was to replace the office espres­so machines with pour-over cof­fee bars, mak­ing room for three-minute con­ver­sa­tions as peo­ple wait for their drinks. We think we want our cof­fee fast; we must get on – peo­ple to see, empires to build and all that – but maybe it doesn’t always have to be instan­ta­neous coffee.

This delib­er­ate slow­ing down reminds me of my yoga class­es, which I usu­al­ly get to just in time after run­ning from the tube. Before enter­ing the chang­ing rooms, you’re asked to stop and take off your shoes in recep­tion. This sim­ple tran­si­tion from hot-foot­ing it across the city to feel­ing my unclad feet against the wood­en floor acts like a speed bump between a hec­tic day and a more mind­ful, reflec­tive state.

It’s easy to be swept up by the relent­less rush all around us but for every time-pressed builder and Prime junkie look­ing anx­ious­ly at the let­ter­box, there’s a gar­den­er lov­ing the per­son­al touch or an office work­er want­i­ng a chat. Faster isn’t always bet­ter. Let’s not allow our Prime urges to blind us to that.