The Changing Face of Convenience

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The Changing Face of Convenience

There is a big shift taking place in retailing, being led by the retail food sector, I commented on this in my October newsletter and have just followed this up with the following article.

Weekday convenience means retailers need to change tactics

Over the last few years we have seen the consumer rethink the way they spend their time, as far as shopping has been concerned. We have seen the development of the “weekday convenience” shopper who then becomes the “weekend experience” seeker. Initially the “weekday convenience” shopper would prefer to shop at a one stop shop and as a result large retail stores evolved that provided for every need…the ultimate convenience had arrived.

But, times change and the weekday convenience shopper is starting to change their shopping habits and the challenge is for retailers to keep up with this ever changing consumer.

The early indicators of change are coming out of the UK where research is showing the consumer is now looking at convenience in a new way. Over the last decade consumers had abandoned the High Street in favour of out of town shopping complexes, but they are starting to revert and the High Street is coming back in favour along with smaller more intimate and convenient local shops.

In a recent interview for an article in the Telegraph newspaper in the UK ( Oct29th ) Mark Price, the director of Waitrose, commented “The notion that you are going to push a trolley around for the week is a thing of the past”. What was looked on as convenience is not what the future consumer looks on as convenience. Research in the UK indicates that supermarket shopping has declined from 62.2% of the weekly shop in 2009 to 57.1% of the weekly shop in 2014 (Verdict Research). This may only look like a small drop, but this adds up to a considerable amount of money.

Why are consumers changing their shopping habits?

The change is occurring because the large supermarket is not perceived as being as convenient as it was in many people’s minds, especially the Millennial Generation, many of whom prefer not to own a car and would prefer to support “local” businesses.

Many consumers are wanting to drive their car less and reduce the fuel bill, plus, many consumers found that a large shop actually meant they had a lot of food wastage. The trend to shop more often and locally has resulted in a 21% reduction of food waste in UK households in the last 7 years (WRAP Research).

The other major “convenience” change that has taken place is the evolution of the computer, in the form of the iPad, it has arrived in the kitchen and the ultimate convenience is ordering products in the kitchen and having them delivered to the kitchen. The home owner may not even have to leave the house.

Repertoire shopping

According to James Walton, IGD Research Company the consumer of today is a “Repertoire shopper”. This means that they are becoming less loyal to one particular store and are shopping around a number of stores, this contradicts the trend to convenience and indicates that “repertoire” shopping is becoming an experience again.

The challenge for any retailer is to try and keep a customer when they are tending to shop around more.

The keys to trying to keep the consumer are

  • Promote you are a genuine “local” as the consumer prefers to support the local business.
  • 22% of customers indicate they prefer to shop at a clean store. (Ref Dayman Worldwide Grocery Shopper research).
  • Engage at the checkout. Consumers are looking for engagement when they go shopping and the checkout is the best location to provide this. In Dayman’s research 19% of consumers were looking for a positive experience at the checkout, but 55% felt it was a negative experience. 23% of consumers indicated that they were prepared to switch retailers due to a bad checkout experience.

Changing tactics may mean going back to some of the inexpensive basics that can keep your customers coming back to you. On average 54% of consumers like shopping, but 64% of Millennial consumers say they like shopping (Dayman).

We live in a world of online shopping and price driven promotions, but, consumers are still saying that they enjoy visiting the retailer who engages with them and provides convenience and an experience.