“I would say mainly because I’ve grown accustomed to convenience. I’ve been spoiled, if you will. So now, I’m going to rely on and expect convenience more than ever before.” This comment was made by one consumer who responded to the Consumer View Winter 2020 survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF). As is the case with past Consumer View surveys, the NRF seeks to identify those factors and consumer trends that shape retail.
This most recent survey focuses on convenience and the consumer. It seeks to understand the role convenience plays in determining where consumers shop. One thing is clear; consumers place a high priority on convenience. Over nine in 10 respondents were likely to choose a retailer based on convenience.
Consumers Want to Save Time
“Time is a precious commodity for today’s consumers, “NRF Vice President 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.”
Convenience—A Competitive Advantage
While 36 percent of consumers surveyed believe retailers sometimes fall short of their expectations, they are more likely to do business with retailers who make it convenient for them to shop.
- 33 percent significantly more likely
- 39 percent much more likely
- 27 percent somewhat more likely
- 5 percent neither more nor less likely
- 1 percent slightly less likely
What Consumers Expect
There’s no doubt, retailers have made significant strides in the past decade to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free for consumers. However, consumers expect retailers to find even more ways to help them save time and effort when shopping online or in-store. The survey indicates specific areas where additional convenience is essential.
- Locating deals and promotions (58 percent online shopping; 55 percent in-store shopping)
- Comparing Prices or reviews (57 percent online shopping; 46 percent in-store shopping)
- Making it easy to find options (56 percent online shopping; 47 percent in-store shopping)
- Processing returns (56 percent online shopping; 56 percent in-store shopping)
- Simplify checkout (47 percent online shopping; 56 percent in-store shopping)
- Checking Inventory (55 percent online shopping; 55 percent in-store shopping)
Importance of Convenience Varies on Path to Purchase
According to the survey, how important convenience is to consumers varies based on what stage they are in the purchasing process. Thirty-eight percent of online shoppers feel convenience is most important when they begin shopping and researching products. However, forty percent of in-store shoppers felt convenience was most important at checkout.
When is convenience most important when shopping online.
- 38 percent at the beginning when researching
- 20 percent before making a purchase
- 18 percent at checkout
- 23 percent at the point of purchase
When is convenience most important to them when shopping in-store.
- 16 percent at the beginning of the process
- 25 percent right before making a purchase
- 40 percent at checkout
- 18 percent post-purchase
Convenience Grows in Importance
When assessing the big picture perspective on what matters most to consumers, the survey responses related to convenience were less visible. Although convenience was listed as a distant third in terms of importance, ninety-seven percent of respondents opted out of purchasing because it was inconvenient for them to finish the process. Here are what respondents say are most important to them when shopping.
- 32 percent want the highest quality item
- 30 percent look for the lowest price
- 13 percent want the most convenient option
- 12 percent mention brand values
- 11 percent look for the overall brand
- 2 percent other
New Ideas and Innovations are Paying Off
Retailers are responding to the need to improve the shopping experience for consumers.Many now give consumers the option to buy products online and pick-up in store. Two-day shipping is also on the rise.
Perhaps these are reasons why 86 percent of survey respondents feel shopping is more convenient than it was five years ago. “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.”
About NRF The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, advocates for the people, brands, policies, and ideas that help retail thrive.