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The Convenience Consumer Is Here to Stay

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As we approach almost a full year of living through a pandemic, we’ve seen consumers shift their usual routines and behaviors to adapt to a completely new way of living. Amid global lockdowns, occupancy capacity limits, and varying comfort levels for in-person activities, consumers have turned to alternative options to continue with their daily routines and necessities. Enter the convenience consumer. 

The convenience consumer values brands that meet them where they are, allowing them to act on their own terms and schedules. In the last year, we’ve seen grocery stores using delivery services, at-home apps and videos replacing gyms, streaming services taking the place of theaters, and curbside pick-up enhancing e-commerce and enabling the omni-consumer. In fact, a report by McKinsey shared that over 75% of consumers in the U.S. have changed their shopping behavior during Covid-19, with convenience being cited as one the top reasons for doing so.

These consumers have taken on at-home haircuts and perfected their banana bread baking skills – ultimately, causing a shift in shopping for years to come. As America reopens, marketers should focus on balancing an at-home and in-person presence in order to connect with consumers across all environments and build a lasting relationship in the new normal. 

Here’s how they can cater to the convenience consumer.

Provide Value at Every Interaction

It goes without saying that today’s marketer needs to be able to reach consumers throughout each touchpoint of their shopping journey, but beyond that, they need to provide some sort of value with every interaction. 

One way to do this is through using both in-store and online data to provide consumers with a personalized and seamless shopping experience across all the channels that they’re engaging with – from email, to social media, to brick-and-mortar, and more. 

Creating a consistent experience that is unique to the shopper shows that a brand is willing to meet them where they are, making it easier for them to get what they need, regardless of the environment in which they are shopping. 

Over-communicate Your Options

In the past year, the rapid increase in e-commerce has caused supply chain issues that resulted in out-of-stock items and extremely long delivery times. In turn, consumers ditched their brand loyalty and switched to brands that were immediately available to them. 

With loyalty up for grabs, marketers should be communicating the ways that they can meet the consumer where they are and help fulfill their needs. Whether that’s through options such as buy-online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) or through discounted express shipping, consumers will interact with the brands and retailers that are catering to their needs and making it as easy as possible to get what they are looking for.

Keep the Consumer at the Center 

Consumers discovered new favorites during lockdown across online grocers, brand websites, and direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses, and according to data from Criteo, 84% of them said they’ll likely keep going back if they’re happy with the product and experience. 

Now more than ever, executing a strong loyalty strategy is imperative in order to keep these consumers coming back to you and not a competitor. 

We’ve seen long-time brick-and-mortar customers turn into omni-channel shoppers. The key to engaging this new audience along with existing and lapsed consumers is to focus on a customer-centric marketing strategy that is less focused on siloed channels but instead drives lifetime across all channels.

Invest in Brick-and-mortar

While many consumers turned to e-commerce for the first time in 2020, there are still a vast majority who want to go in store to touch and feel a product before making a purchasing decision. To help bridge the two experiences together, retailers should take a page from e-commerce by leaning on technology. 

Providing inventory search kiosks, contactless mobile payments, and even augmented reality to visualize products at home, will make the in-store experience as simple and efficient as possible.

In order to succeed with today’s convenience consumer, one thing is clear: marketers need to meet this consumer where they want to be met. By providing a personalized and seamless experience across channels, along with options such as curbside pick-up, digital subscriptions, contactless payments, and more, businesses can empower consumers to access products and services on their own terms. Those consumers will continue to interact and build relationships with these brands for years to come. 

Tim Rogers is SVP and Global GM, Omnichannel and CRM, at Criteo.