Convenience is a crucial element behind many decisions that we make in our daily life. You would be surprised by its true power if you closely monitor your purchases and the decisions made around you everyday. Today, I’ll share a story of an important lesson I learned about the power of convenience when I was 9 years old along with 5 other lessons that you can learn from retail stores.
Growing up in Pakistan, I lived in an extended family household where I lived with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I saw my grandmother doing most of our household grocery shopping from a nearby store. As our family grew and expenses went up, she changed her habits. Instead of doing the grocery shopping at a nearby store, she decided to go to the bulk market an hour or so away from the house. One day, I decided to go along with them and found the prices to be significantly different. I wondered, why are other people still buying from the neighborhood store? Because it was convenient.
Shortly after that, I convinced my parents to help me start a small snack shop for my street. Think of it as an advanced version of a lemonade stand. I sold all the snacks that I knew other kids wanted right outside my house, so the kids don’t have to go to the store further away. That worked like a charm, and my little snack shop was plenty profitable. This was the first time I leveraged the power of convenience to grow my business. Since then, I have carried this important lesson with me in all of my endeavors.
The secret of any successful business lies in fulfilling unmet needs and wants. You simply have to know your audience to identify what they need and potentially want. Smart businesses leverage the power of convenience to break the wall between needs and wants, so their customers convince themselves that they need to purchase the product even when they don’t.
1. Reduce Customer Effort
How many of you have walked out of a retail store with more things then you initially needed to purchase? I bet almost everyone has done that. Did you ever think about why? You were set up from the start.
Retail stores are organized to make it easy for customers to find what they are looking for and then some more. Things are usually very well organized and planned out.
Why did you walk into that grocery store, went down all the aisles and then came to the check out line where you ended up grabbing one or two chewing gum packs before checking out. You didn’t need that chewing gum, but you convinced yourself into buying it because it was right there. It was convenient. Convenience is so powerful that sometimes it prevents you from making rational decisions. You didn’t even stop to think that you are paying $2.58 ($1.29/each), when you can simply walk down the candy aisle to purchase the 3 pack for $2.68. This is a very small example of how powerful convenience can be in driving the purchase decision.
Amazon and other online retail stores also do this by showing users related products during the checkout usually under “People who bought this also bought…”. That’s simply brilliant.
2. Highlight What’s Important
Every time when I go in a retail store, they always highlight their most important items. In a grocery store, I see big Buy1 Ge1 Free signs. In clothing store, they have manikins to demonstrate the best items. The bottom line is that you can easily find what’s more important.
Whether it is identified by big signs, or whether it is right at the entrance of the store, retail stores make sure that they highlight what’s important. I have seen people buying the exact outfit that they saw on the manikin because the color combination looked good.
I have even found myself buying a food item that I didn’t need only because it was buy 1 get 1 free.
For example, on this blog I would like for you to subscribe to my newsletter. This is why it is conveniently placed at the very top of the sidebar, so everyone can see it.
3. Tailored Marketing
At Publix, the grocery store here in Florida, there is a section called Aprons. This is where they cook and demo products that were created from ingredients found in the Publix store. I’m not that good of a cook, so I really don’t know what I need to make good food. With Apron, I can try what they have cooked, and purchase the ingredients if I want to make the recipe at home.
The Apron encourages me to purchase what I normally would not because I wouldn’t take the extra time to do the research. They made it convenient for me by telling me the benefits *delicious food*.
One company that I think does this very well is HitTail. They identified their customers and listed specific benefits for each of them.
P.S. I love and use HitTail.
Most other web hosting and CDN companies also do the same thing because they have targeted pages for specific platforms such as WordPress hosting, drupal hosting, etc.
Apple used all of the above techniques to make smartphones mainstream. Do you really think that a kid in middle school needs to have their own iPhone? I don’t think most folks need a smartphone or pay the extra $30/phone/month data cost. But people have convinced themselves that they need that. Yup, that’s the power of convenience. It makes you think that you need things that you really don’t.
The moral of the story is that convenience plays a powerful role in getting the user to take an action that you want. Whether you want them to share your post, subscribe to your newsletter, or buy your product, making it convenient will increase your chances of getting that result.
Do you have specific examples of how you have used the power of convenience to grow your business? Share it with everyone by leaving a comment below.