3 ways convenience impacts shopping behavior

Over the past decade, retailers have invested in strategies to give consumers a more seamless shopping experience. Whether it’s buy online, pick up in store, mobile apps that let customers browse their local shop or two-day shipping, retailers have been setting new standards for easily finding and receiving items. And it’s reshaping consumers’ expectations. In the latest issue of the Consumer View: Convenience and the Consumer, NRF surveyed shoppers to uncover the role convenience plays throughout their purchasing journey.

Consumers’ lives are busier

Consumers lead increasingly busy lifestyles. Whether it’s commuting, family obligations or schoolwork, over one-third have less free time now compared with five years ago. That might be why 83 percent feel convenience is more important while shopping now. And which consumers really place a premium on convenience? Those who shop primarily online. Over half of this group say convenience is significantly more important now, compared with 33 percent of average shoppers.

Consumers might not always be aware of the role convenience plays in their lives — until it’s not there. In fact, most point to quality and price as the two most critical factors in their shopping decisions, yet nearly all have backed out of purchases because they were inconvenient.

Convenience comes with a cost — and consumers are willing to pay it

Time is money, and shoppers are willing to pay for a convenient experience. Retailers are consistently pushing out new innovations, and consumers will pay if it means they’ll save time and effort. Two-thirds currently pay for a delivery service such as Amazon Prime or Shipt; that figure jumps to an impressive 82 percent when looking at some of the busiest consumers: parents. And over half of parents pay for more than one of these services.

Convenience typically matters most for routine purchases. Consumers are willing to pay more when it comes to groceries, personal care items and pet supplies. And again, parents are significantly more likely to pay more for convenience in these areas.

Convenience creates a competitive edge

Consumers are also more likely to choose a brand that ensures a convenient experience. Over nine in 10 are more likely to do so, and one-third are significantly more likely. Since 52 percent of shoppers say half or more of their purchases are influenced by convenience, providing it can give retailers an advantage when it can be difficult to compete on just price and quality alone.

And although retailers’ innovations have made shopping more convenient over the past five years (86 percent of consumers feel this way), there’s still more to do. Shoppers are continuing to look to retailers for additional ways to save time and effort by creating shopping journeys that are convenient as possible.

For additional insights, read the latest in the Consumer View series.

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