Focus 01: The Immediate Reality: Convenience

Over the coming weeks we will serialise into daily, bite sized snippets all chapters within our FOCUS series of reports that explore THE NEW ROLE OF PHYSICAL RETAIL.

Today’s topic is THE IMMEDIATE REALITY: CONVENIENCE

One thing that everyone has learnt throughout this pandemic, is that you can’t predict the ‘future of retail’. But what you can do, is use this opportunity to force a re-think.

Aligned to the increase in online shopping and consumers increasingly experiencing getting ‘what they want, when they want it’, consumers will be less tolerant when products aren’t easily or instantly available.

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The meaning of convenience has evolved post-coronavirus and consumers now more than ever want the shopping journey to be on their terms. Convenience is now much more than an easily accessible store or a parcel being delivered the next day; providing convenience is about being a part of consumers daily routines.

Consumers expectations of convenience have changed in the following ways:

  • As many consumers start to return to work and spend less time at home, consumers will demand a more advanced ‘click & collect’ service, resulting in additional space allocated in store within more focal positions.
  • The network of existing convenience stores that offer basic pick-up/ drop-off of online orders may no longer be enough to fulfil consumer expectations.
  • Consumers have become more aware of the environmental impact of an increased number of delivery vehicles on the road during lockdown, for what are often small purchases, and will look for convenient alternatives.
  • Consumers are shopping more responsibly and taking a more considered approach to purchases, resulting in less returns and a reduction in ‘home-showrooming’.
  • When returning to physical retail, shoppers will quickly become frustrated by queues and look for a new express way of shopping. Some supermarkets have already started offering separate express queues for ‘basket only’ customers.

Consumers will take convenience as a given and will quickly reject brands and retailers who don’t deliver it. Convenience for consumers means products being available when they want it and where they want it.

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Delivering convenience will be different for every brand and retailer depending upon the sector, product offer and store portfolio, but there are a number of common elements that can be considered. Some of these will be short term and some will be longer term.

  • Consider the location and transaction process for popular products to enable a streamlined purchasing process.
  • Explore re-defining space allocated to click & collect in store, alongside improved communications and staffing to make click & collect and returns a comfortable, frictionless process.
  • Plan physical space in strategic locations to ensure you have the right product, in the right place, at the right time (a topic explored in more detail within our original report ‘The Role of Physical Retail’).
  • Where there is a suitable store portfolio, focus on a ‘dispatch from store’ model to make online fulfilment quicker and more efficient, and overcoming issues created within DC’s due to social distancing.
  • Consider easily accessible collection hubs for both consumer convenience and to offset the cost of ‘free delivery’. Longer term, additional services such as ‘try & return’ and other transactional opportunities could be introduced.

Whether you need to re-define your customer journey, reconfigure your stores to facilitate different product and service layouts or create new formats, we are able to guide you through the journey of ensuring every design decision you take focuses on the core goal of delivering what your consumers want.

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As consumers start to return to stores, what can you do now to turn challenges into opportunities that maximise the comfort and safety of staff and shoppers and provide an experience in store that will keep consumers coming back.

Get in touch if you would like to arrange a virtual workshop with our founding Directors Adrian & Jenny to see how we can help you work through your opportunities, or download the full document HERE

Lucy

Lucy Moore

1st July 2020