Whether or not consumers like to admit it, even the slightest inconvenience at the checkout stage can cause cart abandonment and brand-related dissatisfaction. This isn't merely lazy or fickle behavior; shoppers are increasingly making buying decisions that will help them save time and energy.
Now more than ever, convenience — or the lack thereof — has a significant impact on shopper behavior. Let's examine the current state of the convenience factor to see what consumers expect and how retailers can deliver.
Convenience and consumer behaviors
The National Retail Federation's (NRF) Winter 2020 Consumer View report made some noteworthy findings about convenience and buyer behaviors:
- 97% of shoppers have backed out of a transaction because it was inconvenient.
- 93% are more likely to shop with a retailer based on convenience.
- 83% agree that convenience while shopping is more important today than it was five years ago.
- As many as two-thirds are willing to pay across a variety of product categories for increased convenience.
Understanding why convenience matters
Even in such a fast-paced culture, there are only so many hours in the day. For many busy professionals, students and families, free time seems increasingly difficult to come by. As consumers, these time-pressed individuals value the convenience of online shopping and other delivery methods because they can essentially buy back time for themselves.
For some shoppers, this precious time is spent with family and friends. For others, it's freed up for work projects, school assignments, or self-care practices. Other consumers are just happy to shorten or eliminate the time they have to spend in the car and the checkout line.
Browsing the departments and aisles to assess different products in person takes time. Once a fact of life, this is now somewhat of a luxury. Shoppers are eager to partner with retailers who not only understand their scheduling constraints and preferences but who actually help them accomplish these goals.
6 ways retailers can increase convenience
Retailers can satisfy this desire for convenience by offering fast delivery services, subscriptions, in-store pickup arrangements, streamlined checkout experiences and more.
Consumers are looking to save additional time during the search and checkout experiences in both online and bricks-and-mortar contexts. Roughly half of NRF's survey respondents sought additional ease in:
- Locating promotions and discounts.
- Comparing reviews and prices.
- Verifying inventory.
- Checking out.
- Processing returns.
Here are some ideas for how retailers can meet these consumer expectations:
1. BOPIS options
Businesses with brick-and-mortar establishments can offer "buy online, pick-up in store" (BOPIS) experiences like curbside pickup, trunk delivery and easy-access lockers.
2. Faster delivery
E-tailers can focus on convenient delivery services such as one- or two-day shipping.
For goods that need to be replenished, consumers appreciate set-it-and-forget-it subscription services that employ the recurring charge model.
4. Easier returns
Features like a wide return window, simplified returns processing and free return shipping can add an extra level of convenience that sets retailers apart.
5. Inventory updates
Businesses can utilize robust order management systems that manage inventory in real-time to tells shoppers how many units are available.
6. Prominent promo codes
Retailers should display discount codes and special offers prominently through pop-up windows and sticky banners online, or through clear signage in stores.
To see which tools can help you streamline your order management process and deliver industry-leading levels of convenience to your consumers, take a look at FlexOMS and connect with the SFG team today.