The Online Convenience Revolution


It’s no secret that today’s consumers demand instant gratification. But shopping online has yet to catch up to this demand, with long waits for delivery and a disjointed path to purchase. We can binge-watch entire seasons on Netflix without having to wait for new episodes. We can send a quick text instead of taking the time to make a call and leave a voicemail. But what these trends boil down to is not the speed of the end of result, but the convenience. In this new digital economy, how do brands connect with customers when demand can arise in an instant?

Consumer Behavior Hinges on Smoothest Path to Gratification

Consumers are shopping online for many of their merchandise needs, but the majority of e-commerce sites have struggled to match the convenience and speed of brick-and-mortar browsing. Heavy-hitters like Amazon and Instacart have recreated that experience, and in some categories, eclipsed brick and mortar. Convenient checkout processes and high speeds of sale are core to achieving that. 

Online demand for products is much more dependent on the convenience of placing an order than the cost of purchase. Even cash-strapped shoppers are willing to spend a little more to have their groceries delivered or prepped for curbside pick-up than deal with inconvenience.  In the digital world, getting a product into a consumer’s online cart with as few clicks as possible is the equivalent of tossing it onto checkout conveyor belt in a grocery store.

Retailers Optimizing Convenience Online

Convenience is king in sales for online shoppers as well as those in physical stores. At SmartCommerce, we’ve seen that when two identical products are placed right next to each other in an online ad, consumers almost always click on the item that’s fulfilled by an online retailer they already have a relationship with - even if it’s more expensive. Consumers aren’t willing to take the time to create a new account or enter their address and credit card information to save a few dollars. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands are also seeing an overall decrease in the use of coupons, which is why Amazon is wisely ditching them for Whole Foods’ e-commerce. 

Retailers that wish to be successful online must ensure that all digital channels offer simple, convenient paths to purchase. Single-click purchasing is the best way to convert “need it now” demand, created by your marketing materials, into a sale in the spit-seconds you have before the opportunity fades away. It doesn’t matter to consumers if it costs a few cents extra, convenience is the new cost leader. Retailers and brands that make it light, simple and easy to get customers from interest to purchase will continue to drive more conversions than those who don’t.

-Jennifer Silverberg, CEO of SmartCommerce

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