How Increased Convenience for Retail Consumers Garners More Sales?
The pandemic has hit every nation hard. Countries began enforcing public transportation closures, social distancing measures were brought in and building capacities were limited in hopes of lowering the risk of infection. Starting in May, London’s Tubes and NYC’s subways had both completely shut down, creating havoc for anyone trying to get from point A to point B. Lines of people in the Netherlands, Japan, France, and Poland began building up with hour-long hold-ups, as people waited outside of grocery stores to stock up on necessities during the pandemic.
Recently, as restrictions begin to ease, nations’ guidelines have gradually loosened as well, but the convenience of any daily task has yet to return. Businesses and sellers have to find answers to some difficult questions: how does convenience affect consumer decisions? Why do consumers want convenience? And how does one effectively integrate consumer convenience into their company.?
What is Consumer Convenience?
Consumer convenience is the experience a customer goes through when buying a product or service involving minimal effort. Companies should know, 97% of consumers will leave a sale if the service isn’t convenient enough, meaning that the system in which a customer is using to buy is just as important as products’ listed prices. More than half of consumers also stated that they are influenced by convenience when shopping. This points out that the benefits of convenience are a huge factor in eCommerce sales that should be prioritised when looking to improve a businesses ROI.
If you are a company looking to improve sales, creating a better consumer experience is one of the first places you will have to start. Irrespective of your industry or brand, figuring out which method or approach to forming a more convenient customer experience is intrinsically linked to growth and success.
Tips for Consumer Convenience
If you are a clothing store, supermarket, online retail company or a start-up, there are ways to elevate and improve upon your current levels of consumer convenience. Below are a couple of tips on how to integrate convenience into your own business:
1. Go Digital: For any brand that doesn’t have an online presence, now would be the time to create a platform for your business. With customers unable to reach some stores since the outbreak of COVID-19, eCommerce has been up by 77% year-over-year. Some businesses having to shut down their physical storefronts can now utilise online sites or apps to fulfil customers’ needs. For example, coffee shop Nitro Bar, having to physically close due to the pandemic, has opened an online store for customers to shop, managing to successfully promote their website using their Instagram platform to attract local consumers. This process, in turn, has created an efficient way for customers to still get their coffee and in a safe, convenient manner.
2. Delivery: With governments enforcing people to stay home as much as possible, online delivery services have grown greatly in usage over the past couple of months. By 2024, the growth of delivery services – specifically for grocery store use – is predicted to rise anywhere between 55% to 66% year over year. Digital shopping and delivery company Instacart has seen a growth of 300% year-over-year as of 2020; utilising their mobile app, customers can easily order groceries and have them delivered to their homes with just a click of a button. This system essentially illuminates any chances of the virus spreading with fewer people needing to physically go into a store and shop.
3. BOPIS: In a recent study, results have shown that nine out of ten people rate BOPIS as a convenient way of shopping. If your company has yet to try, Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store, this is a great way to start giving consumers an easier buying experience. Apparel brand Lululemon has been utilizing the BOPIS system for a quick and easy transaction between the company and its customers. Consumers choosing to utilize BOPIS with Lululemon will get an email confirmation with arrival instructions to follow once the order is ready for pickup. Compared to in-store shopping where all products may not be in stock or available at that location, the BOPIS system creates a smooth method for customers to purchase and easily pick up everything they intended to order. Especially during COVID-19, people may still be wary of entering and shopping physically in stores, therefore, BOPIS is a great solution to ease that worry while also creating a quick and efficient method for customers.
Future of Convenience Retail
Businesses can see the benefits of convenience and its success through ROI, but may not know exactly what customers are experiencing while going through the buying process or how to implement it moving forward.
Some companies utilise user journey stage mapping, which is a tool used to represent the customer’s satisfaction and experience browsing through their website. Companies using this tool can better understand their audience and what conveniences they may want to incorporate into their site for better customer use.
Through a six-step process, businesses can map out what exactly the target audience needs, the best platform on which to reach consumers, streamline on that platform for optimal use and flow of interactions, as well as help customers efficiently make a purchase. Following initial tips on how to increase consumer convenience, user journey stage mapping is a great tool to maintain an effortless user experience.
Overall, businesses need to continuously be finding new methods and approaches to boost customer convenience; 83% of consumers have said that their shopping experience is more important now than it was five years ago, meaning that that number can only grow with new crises and events arising. Companies fine-tuning their online platforms, making BOPIS a seamless process, and amplifying on delivery services will unquestionably boost ROI while still satisfying customers. The benefits of convenience moving forward should be an integrated quality in all businesses services.
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