Shoppers Place Growing Emphasis on Convenience
Today’s consumers increasingly prioritize convenience when it comes to purchases and expect retailers to continue to offer innovative ways to save them time and effort, the National Retail Federation states in its latest “Consumer View” report.
“Time is a precious commodity for today’s consumers,” writes Mark Mathews, NRF’s vice president for research development and industry analysis, in the report. “Shoppers are busier with commuting to work, dealing with family obligations, or catching up on schoolwork, among other things. Naturally, convenience factors are playing a larger role in their shopping experience.”
According to the report, 83 percent of consumers say convenience while shopping is more important today than it was five years ago. While consumers overwhelmingly opt for quality and price in purchasing decisions, convenience offers retailers a competitive advantage. The report finds 97 percent of respondents have backed out of a purchase because it was inconvenient for them.
The study let individual respondents determine what convenience or inconvenience meant to them. But some examples of convenience that the report provides include the following:
- making it easy to view or find product options;
- helping them discover new products or brands; and
- personalized recommendations.
The popularity of delivery services like Amazon Prime, Shipt, or Instacart reinforce consumers’ willingness to pay—often at a premium—for convenience. Sixty-six percent of shoppers pay for at least one type of delivery service, and one-quarter say they pay for multiple delivery services.
The report also finds that how consumers are shopping and where they are in the purchase process can dictate how much convenience matters. For example, 38 percent say that for online shopping, convenience matters most during the beginning of the shopping experience when consumers are researching products and trying to determine which option is best for them. Alternatively, 40 percent of in-store shoppers say checkout is when convenience is most important. Additionally, consumers prioritize convenience for certain types of purchases, specifically when it comes to everyday items such as groceries, personal care items, and pet supplies.
Retailers have anticipated consumers’ needs in these areas by offering a variety of innovations such as buy online, pick up in store and two-day shipping. These options can contribute to brand loyalty, as 93 percent say they are more likely to choose to shop at a specific retailer based on convenience.
“While convenience continues to grow in importance for consumers, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution,” Mathews writes. “As the industry evolves, retailers will look to identify additional ways to save consumers time and effort.”