UK shoppers’ expectations surrounding convenience are changing, Savvy shows

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New research from leading retail and shopper marketing agency, Savvy, reveals how UK shoppers’ expectations surrounding convenience are changing and how a series of emerging innovations have the potential to reshape shopper expectations further.

Alastair Lockhart, insight director at Savvy Marketing. commented: “For all of the cyclical changes we see in the market and in consumer behaviour, for all of the new technologies, the fads and innovations, it is shoppers’ appetite for ever-increasing convenience that so often determines success from failure. As a nation we are all busier and as a consequence, leisure time is squeezed, so the value we place on it increases. Our findings indicate that we are amidst a convenience revolution in which shoppers’ perceptions of speed and what makes their lives easier are being redefined.”

Key findings:

Convenience sits at the root of many of the most powerful shopper insights:

  • 71% of UK shoppers say that convenience is more important to them now than it was five years ago
  • “We see across all our research that perceptions are changing and Generation Y, in particular, expect not only speed, but acceleration of speed when it comes to convenience,” said Lockhart.

Areas where changing attitudes and innovations are enabling improved convenience for shoppers:

  • The ever-closer convenience store
    • 74% of shoppers say they will usually choose the food retailer that is most convenient for them to use.
  • Convenience stores to convenient stores
    • Shoppers explain that they want all stores to be convenient, not just c-stores.
    • Many shoppers have fallen out of love with large format stores.
    • Many shoppers also tell us that they find discounter’s store easier to shop than large superstores.
    • Shopper demand for true cross category one-stop-event shops remains unfulfilled as a result of retailers internal structures and ways of working.
  • Instant gratification from home delivery
    • Home delivery has seen enormous progress in convenience and has been highly influential in shifting shopper perceptions.
    • Fast delivery is now an expectation and it determines which retailers’ shoppers choose – 61% of shoppers say delivery speed is the most important consideration when choosing an online retailer. 23% of shoppers have also paid more to have a product delivered faster.
    • 70% of shoppers said they will look for another retailer if delivery times fail to meet their expectations and three-quarters are more likely to by a product online if delivery is quick.
    • Online food delivery services like Deliveroo and Just Eat have grown substantially over recent years, and have been used by 34% of all shoppers during the past three months (rising to 54% of shoppers aged under 35).
    • 18% of UK shoppers have ordered a product online for same day delivery – this rises to 27% for Generation Y shoppers.
    • 24% of Generation Y shoppers have used Amazon Prime Now, peaking amongst time-poor 25-34 year olds. This compares with 14% of all UK shoppers.
  • Click and collect it now
    • The adoption of click and collect services has been slower to increase than home delivery, however some of the most recent innovations in online retailing have been in the area of click and collect.
    • To date 33% of UK shoppers have used any retailer’s click and collect service and 22% of shoppers have used a supermarket’s click and collect service.
    • Services such as Sainsbury’s Chop Chop (a service which allows shoppers to order up to 25 items using an app and their order will then be available to collect from their local convenience store within half an hour) appeals to 49% of shoppers. 
    • 63% of UK shoppers said if it was available they would trial a service like Amazon Instant Pick-up (currently being trialled in the US) which allows shoppers to order items using a smartphone app, and then collect them from a pickup location within minutes.
  • Cut the clicks
    • Shoppers want to minimise the time and hassle required to place an order. In fact, 60% of shoppers have given up on a purchase because it was too much hassle to click thought a website or app. This number rises to 70% among time-poor young families and 66% of Generation Y shoppers.
  • Voice assistants and clickless shopping
    • A major success story so far in 2017 – 16% of shoppers have an Amazon Echo or Google Home assistant in their homes. Among under 35s this number increases to 28% and is rising quickly.
    • Lockhart says “Voice assistants have great convenience potential and have potential to eliminate the need for clicks all together. Because these devices are voice activated, shoppers are able to interact with brands and retailers without having to hold a physical device. This means shoppers can be more spontaneous, and can engage with online content while they are completing other tasks – such as cooking or searching through cupboards. Brands and retailers are now able to establish useful inspiration and conversion touch points within shoppers’ homes”.
  • Following blue dots
    • Perhaps one of the most revolutionary convenience-enabling technologies is geo-location software. Today, just over half (52%) of UK shoppers have used a map app (e.g. Google Maps) to find a retailer.
    • Especially amongst younger shoppers, the use of maps is almost impulsive and is changing the way that we plan, not only journeys but where we visit.
  • The automation of shopping
    • 82% of UK shoppers have used self check-outs to speed up the shopper journey at a retail store.
    • Signing up to a subscription service for food, drink or groceries regularly bought, guaranteeing the lowest price, appeals to 57% of UK shoppers.
    • 57% of shoppers also find the ability to order a product simply by taking a photo of its packaging appealing.
    • Finally, a delivery service that could automatically send shoppers products at the lowest price when it knows they’re running out appeals to 50% of shoppers.

Lockhart concludes: “It’s critical that retailers stay ahead of shopper expectations because of the growing influence of Generation Y as a group of shoppers and the rise of a new breed of retailers – led by Amazon – that are revolutionising previously accepted business models through rapid innovation and adoption of technology. As such, legacy retailers are no longer only threatened by the rise of online retail, but by the broader rise of hyper convenient retail.

We do however need to consider other factors – for example there is a clear limit on the premium shoppers are prepared to pay for convenience and that 88% of shoppers believe people in the UK are becoming too impatient. But most importantly, we need to be careful not to compromise the quality of the overall shopper experience in our quest for speed – convenience is after all, only one aspect of the shopper experience. Retailers must consider the overall shopper experience in order to win long term loyalty.”