Consumers are increasingly prioritizing convenience when it comes to purchases.
Ninety-seven percent of consumers have even backed out of a purchase because it was inconvenient for them, according to a report from the National Retail Federation (NRF).
As a result, retailers are expected to offer more innovative ways to save people time and effort.
"Time is a precious commodity for today's consumers," NRF VP for research development and industry analysis Mark Mathews said. "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."
The report found 83% of consumers say convenience is more important to them now compared with five years ago. The popularity of delivery services such as Amazon Prime and Instacart reinforces this, showing consumers are willing to pay a premium for such convenience. Sixty-six percent of consumers in the survey reported paying for a delivery shipping service, with a quarter paying for more than one.
Another report from dunnhumby found that convenience grew more in importance than any other consumer need, due to the efforts of traditional grocers. While still not as important as price or quality, its impact on emotional bond and financial performance doubled over the past three years.
When shopping online, 38% said convenience matters most during the beginning of the experience when researching products, compared to just 16% of in-store shoppers. Similarly, 40% of in-store shoppers ranked convenience most important at checkout, compared to 18% for online shoppers.
Most shoppers have adopted the buy online, pick up in store method and those who do say its convenient and improves their shopping experience. Even those who have not tried it are interested in doing so.
A retailers' level of convenience often leads to store loyalty as over nine in 10 are more likely to choose a retailer based on convenience.
"While convenience continues to grow in importance for consumers, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution," Mathews said. "As the industry evolves, retailers will look to identify additional ways to save consumers time and effort."
Thirty-six percent of consumers still feel retailers don't always live up to their convenience expectations, proving there is still work to be done. Consumers are still looking for additional ways to save time and effort. Specifically, when shopping online, consumers are interested in offerings around the research phase, while for in-store shopping, it's more about a streamlined transaction.
In both online and in-store shopping, consumers are always looking for deals and promotions, as well as making the return process easier. Checking inventory is also an area that is significant to both types of shoppers.
Overall, consumers think retailers should be offering a variety of options to ensure their experience is as hassle-free as possible. As innovations become more widespread, consumers are looking for them across all retailers.
Victoria writes for the biweekly Food Institute Report, the daily Today in Food updates, and the Foodie Insider daily newsletter for consumers. She graduated from Montclair State University with a B.A. in Journalism and has a background in Nutrition and Food Science. Victoria can be reached through her email at email@example.com.
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