Americans love convenience. From fast food restaurants and frozen dinners to movies-on-demand, consumers want things to be quick and easy. Over the last decade, this trend has only continued to grow as consumers have started placing more value on their time. People want to spend more of their free time with loved ones or pursuing passions, not standing in line at stores or running time-consuming errands.
Years ago, this desire to get back more time led many to flock to Amazon Prime. For an annual fee, Americans could have nearly any item they could think of delivered to their house for free in two days’ time. People were actually willing to pay a fee to save the hassle of driving to a shopping center, battling other shoppers, locating items and waiting in line.
Now, however, convenience is about more than just speedy shipping.
Delivering Convenience, Conveniently
Ordering clothing online is a very convenient way for consumers to shop, but the fact is, some people prefer to visit stores. Whether to try on clothing, test out accessories, or to simply ask a human for advice on items, people still enjoy many facets of the store experience.
What they don’t want, however, is for shopping to take up their entire evening or weekend. Retailers can make the in-store experience more convenient in a host of ways:
- Make it easy to find items: Store flow is more important than ever before. Customers want to get in, find what they are looking for, and get back to their day. Any way retailers can make it simple for shoppers to find exactly what they need, the better.
- Reduce friction: Anywhere a customer has to put out added effort will deter sales. Customers generally don’t want to have to cut out a coupon and remember to bring it with them. They don’t want to wait in a checkout line.
- Grab and go: Supermarkets have caught on to the fact shoppers don’t necessarily enjoy the deli line. Many stores have introduced digital ordering, allowing people to order from a kiosk and pick up their deli items before they check out. Other stores offer grab-and-go deli sections where their most popular items can be found pre-sliced and packaged.
- Mobile POS payments: Mobile wallets are gaining popularity in the US, as they are the fastest way to pay at the checkout. The key to making mobile payments work is to offer a variety of options—not everyone has Apple Pay. Accepting a variety of mobile payments will ensure customers are not alienated.
- Provide options for access: Free two-day delivery is nice but what if you want or need an item today? Same-day, in-store pickup and curbside pickup are becoming more popular with shoppers who don’t want to wait for items to be delivered. Some stores are also offering same-day delivery, tasking employees with dropping off items on their way home after a shift.
- Easy returns: Returns are a fact of life in retail, but customers hate the return experience. Schlepping to the store or to the post office to wait around to return an item takes time, and a poor experience or restrictive policies can damage customer relationships. Return shipping labels, walk-up returns and other convenient processes show customers that a store cares not only about their satisfaction, but also about their time.
The recipe for retail success is easy—literally. Any place a retailer can make it simple for shoppers to locate, pay for and return items when necessary, the more it translates into happier customers and higher sales.