Increasingly, people are trying to do more with less time. Urbanization, lean organizations and global competitiveness have all converged to force people and businesses into a frenzied pace to be more productive and time-sensitive than ever before, creating a growing group of time-pressed consumers who emphasize convenience above all else. Cathy’s latest Knoxville News Sentinel article unravels just what “convenience” means to customers and how businesses can use convenience marketing to their advantage.
Customer expectations across-the-board have changed dramatically due to an “on-demand” culture, fed by well-known, on-demand experts such as Amazon Prime Now, Uber, Grub Hub and others.
So what does convenience really mean to your customers? Some businesses view customer convenience as “making it slightly easier” to buy their products or to do business with them. Wrong! Customers want ultimate ease of purchase in all parts of the buying continuum – not just the main transaction or point of sale. And research shows that convenience is quickly emerging as the single biggest driver of long-term customer loyalty. In fact, the customer conversion journey is now being dictated by the convenience factor more than anything else.
The key is to make your product or brand the easiest within your industry to find and use . Start by doing a thorough assessment of any and all barriers that could prevent your customers from finding out about your products or services and therefore from actually buying them. Be extremely honest in compiling your list of possible barriers, and for each potential obstacle, try to find a true, actionable solution for it. Weigh every considered solution against Merriam-Webster’s definition of convenience: “something that is conducive to comfort or ease.”
If people buy your products in-person or in a brick-and-mortar store, do you need to increase your distributor network, or should you create more outlets within targeted geographic areas in order to meet your customers’ desire for convenience?
If your customers buy from you primarily online, are you everywhere your customer is, virtually all the time? With mobile setting the pace for online transactions, are you maximizing your mobile presence? Do you know your targeted customers across all the devices they use? Have you built in ways to anticipate their needs while shopping or searching on your site? Can you save them time by offering smart, self-service solutions that understand their language?
All of these strategies – and more – are necessary, especially when marketing to millennials, who are now referred to as “Convenience Customers” because that is their No. 1 priority relative to purchase decisions. Brands that really want their business are using technology in increasingly innovative and customized ways to delight these consumers, not just to meet their basic needs and expectations.
Over the next couple of years, we will likely see the creation of more niche marketplace platforms which offer a select range of products and can be easily personalized for targeted customers and specific demographic groups.
Millennials are twice as likely as other generations to pay extra for same-day delivery of online purchases, and a key to winning their business is enabling them to make a purchase without interrupting what they are doing – whether they are in a store, browsing Snapchat or messaging friends on their smart phones.
The lesson here for marketers? It is important to make your products and services available in the easiest and most compelling ways you can all the time, or someone else will.