The Convenience Economy: Prepare Your Business
Long before COVID-19, the convenience economy was on the rise. With the onset of a partial lockdown, most businesses that did not offer online or delivery services, learnt very quickly that they had to get on the bandwagon.
What is the Convenience Economy?
Convenience is the industry that society has created in which everything is set and adjusted to be the most convenient, as the name would have it, to the customer. The convenience industry has long been in the process of development with the first signs of technological development. Technological innovation and societal standards have in turn made our generation lazy as we continue to develop new ways to make us move less. We opt daily to drive instead of walk, or take the lift instead of the stairs. We no longer need to leave the house to buy groceries, nor go to the cinema to watch a good movie. You don’t even need to tag your friends on social media anymore because, through facial recognition, the platforms do that for you. Now there are apps that allow you to track your food takeout delivery and save you a trip to the bank, and all this from the comfort of your own phone.
With COVID-19, the idea of technology doing the work for us in a seemingly contactless world was, and still is, on the rise. The concept of convenience was taken all the more further, as working remotely became a new protocol for many. Being able to conduct video calls without changing out of your pyjama trousers became the new normal, and the directive of contactless was a governmental order.
Those firms who did not implement convenience services struggled at the height of the pandemic, whilst those who decided to cater to the new normality are unlikely to remove such contactless services from their repertoire. Whilst some restaurants even went so far as to bring the fine dining experience to your home by delivering vacuum-packed food, others have made this their business mission, and now only operate for takeout and delivery.
What does the Convenience Economy Entail?
Being part of the convenience economy, depending on your industry, means that you allow consumers to:
- Make instant orders – Enabling customers to shop or order without leaving their bed in the morning makes for more commerce. Ordering breakfast in bed? Why not? The online approach also allows customers to quickly find what they need by using a quick search with specific keywords, and without having to search through items manually.
- Make contactless payments – Cash is no longer king. With the introduction of online banks such as Revolut, younger generations almost exclusively use cards or banking apps. With the onset of COVID, the necessity to reduce the use of cash as much as possible was enhanced, and payments are now expected to be done upon order in one easy swift move.
- Have items delivered – If consumers do not want to get out of their homes to buy something, the probability is they do not want to get out of the house to go fetch it. Delivery companies have seemingly taken over, and during lockdown peaks, taxi firms would source out their vehicles to help with the demand.
- Stay home – Whether it’s watching a highly anticipated movie, taking an educational course, or organising a meeting, the adoption of smart tech means you no longer need to leave the couch to go to the cinema, to a classroom, or to the office.
- Use biometric data – Whether punching in for work or getting through passport control, we no longer need to wait in long queues. By using sensitive biometric information, the time needed for such processes is decreased substantially.
With a growing customer on-demand experience, patrons are getting used to the ease of commerce, and probably will not return to traditional ways. Here are some tips to make the convenience economy work for you:
Have everything on one system
If you are taking orders or bookings from different platforms, it could very easily result in a double booking or showing a slot as available when, in reality, it just hasn’t been updated. Make sure to connect all your systems to easily stay on top of any transactions.
Collect important customer information (Within GDPR)
A great upside to having your systems online is that you can use the information provided to grow your business. This will help with customer feedback and user behaviour, and will be a source of information on how to continuously improve your systems.
Make it easy
Customers will not use your systems if they’re not convenient. If looking for an item they want, or ordering/delivering something takes too long, they will definitely not be returning customers.
Be ready for change
Just as the economic world gravitated towards convenience, a new global crisis may see consumer behaviour turn in the opposite direction as quickly as it arrived. Make sure your set up is flexible for whatever next is thrown at your business.
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