Marketing is about understanding the mind of the consumer. While there are many psychology-based strategies you can use for rapid customer acquisition, few compare with the power of convenience.
Convenience can be a powerful tool in any e-commerce brand's toolkit. It's a big part of the reason why brands like Amazon and Uber have been able to disrupt their industries. When properly leveraged, it can help your own e-commerce store establish itself as a leader in your niche, as well.
Why is convenience so important?
We all have a predisposition to making our lives as easy as possible. That includes how we take care of tasks at home and work, and it applies to buying products and services.
That's why we bathe with a hot shower rather than a bucket and rag. It's why Walmart is testing drone delivery. It's what led to the rise of fast-food chains. Convenience offers some measure of relief from the business of work, commuting, and other obligations.
James J. Farrell, author of The Nature of College, notes that while the dictionary definition of convenience implies increasing comfort or decreasing work, modern society often translates this into the idea of saving time. Even when time-saving measures could have a detrimental effect, most people want to save time in any way they can.
So, when the time comes to fulfill wants, convenience becomes even more prized. We don't want to "work" at something in our free time. Shopping -- and e-commerce, in particular -- should be fast and easy.
The National Retail Federation found that 83 percent of shoppers say that convenience is a bigger priority now in 2020 than it was five years ago, with online shoppers feeling even more strongly.
How brands can monetize convenience
With convenience a key, it's essential that brands find ways to leverage it in gaining and retaining customers. When used right, convenience can even help improve your profit margins.
I recently had a conversation about this with Antonio Perini, CEO of Milkman. Perini and his company focus on maximizing convenience in enterprise delivery. Perini noted that each customer has their own optimal point between convenience and price.
They have a price they are willing to pay for features they deem to be most convenient, whether that be speedy delivery, a short time window for a required attendance, or locker-style pickup. Because this is a personal choice, e-commerce brands should give their customers a range of options that balance price and convenience. Having a range of options helps the retailer to support both the convenience shopper and the economical shopper and to sustain a more efficient delivery operation.
Online shipping offers a clear example of how e-commerce brands can offer varied price points based on convenience. VentureBeat estimates that Amazon Prime has 150 million paid subscriptions -- people who are willing to pay a monthly fee for two-day shipping on their orders.
However, non-Prime customers are often given a range of shipping options, with prices varying based on delivery speed. One-day or two-day delivery is still possible, but at a higher fee than three- to five-day shipping. Those who don't view fast delivery as a must-have convenience factor can wait longer by choosing free delivery.
Deliver a convenient experience
While modern society has a tendency to define e-commerce convenience in terms of delivery speed, this is far from the only factor that can make a difference for your customers. Convenience should encompass the entire e-commerce experience.
Think critically about your e-commerce store. When visitors have a question, is customer support readily available? Can checkout be completed in a few clicks, or does it require account registration process? If a customer decides to return or cancel an order, how easy is it for them to do so?
These and other factors help customers save time and have a better experience while using your e-commerce store. Research from Bayard found that 28 percent of consumers who abandoned their e-commerce shopping cart complained of the site wanting them to create an account, while 21 percent cited a complicated or lengthy checkout process.
Even things like convoluted menus or slow loading time will make your e-commerce store less convenient and drive away customers. Auditing your website can uncover key areas where you've created stumbling blocks.
There is no denying the powerful psychological pull the convenience factor can have. When you leverage this tool appropriately in all facets of the e-commerce experience, you will position yourself to stand out and draw in the customers you need to scale.