What's Your Customer's Time Worth?
Chapters

Think about your typical day. Not so typical, right? Sometimes, you’re in the office from 8am until 5pm. Other days, you’re traveling to a new city for work. Or, perhaps the kids have an event and you need to whip up a few dozen cupcakes.

We live dynamic, busy and curious lives made up of missions that change every day, and moments that are unique to each of us. Something we all have in common, though, is that we’re packing our missions and moments more closely together.

To captivate rushed customers, brands have been adapting their customer experience models to deliver goods more quickly and capture more of consumers’ dollars. BOPIS, curbside, on-demand, direct-to-consumer…the list goes on. To be successful, brands must consider multiple elements of convenience, and how each one uniquely affects their customers.

CHAPTERS

buying time

Consumers are looking for the quickest way to get their chores completed so they can spend more time on what matters most in life.

What do consumers want?

Eliminating the mundane tasks of buying toilet paper, grabbing staple groceries, and replenishing the stock of Lara Bars is becoming common place. Increasingly, we’re finding that in order to spend more time on the things they love, (hobbies, friends, and family) customers are enlisting the help of some game-changing retailers. In the industry, as well as philosophically, this is becoming known as “buying time.” We, as shoppers, are willing to pay extra for a more convenient service to gain more minutes with which we can do more of what we like.

what actions can brands take

Assist:

In the push to make every moment count, extending a helping hand to assist in completing even the simplest tasks will be appreciated and rewarded by customers. Brands should help consumers tackle big things and small, and make them feel good for doing it.

 

Access:

Our 24/7 culture means retailers must anticipate consumers’ needs before they happen and provide access to a solution. Consumers have redefined their relationship with “stuff,” and temporary ownership is trending.

gap and virgin hotels
who's doing it?

CHICK-FIL-A:

Scott Brickhouse, a Chick-fil-A franchisee and father of four can tell you a few things about the hassles one faces when dining out, even at a fast food restaurant. After he grew tired of ordering through the drive-thru and eating in the car, Brickhouse created “Mom’s Valet.”

The idea has caught on at other locations, as parents enjoy the simplicity of the service. They order from the car and request a Mom’s Valet, then proceed inside. A hostess greets the customers and escorts them to a table where highchairs, placemats and utensils are assembled, drinks are poured, and the food is set.

STARBUCKS:

For on-the go parents, sitting down with a relaxing cup of coffee could seem impossible. But, UK Starbucks stores are appealing to parents with young children by creating a family-friendly atmosphere with a few additional conveniences. In addition to stocking emergency diaper kits, baristas are trained to warm up bottles and recognize moms’ needs, like setting up highchairs and locating spaces to nurse. Customers can also skip the line and complete their order via the Starbucks app while sitting at their table.

GAP AND VIRGIN HOTELS:

Gap teamed up with Chicago’s Virgin Hotel to provide guests with super quick service where guests order products through Virgin’s concierge app, Lucy. Utilizing Gap’s “Reserve in Store” feature, guests pick out the product and hotel staff take care of the rest. Delivery is made within three hours, and if the guests want to return it, they simply leave it in the closet.

Research shows a strong uptick in shoppers’ desire for convenience. In 2014, 36% said they would pay more if it made their life easier, vs. 21% five years earlier.

-Nielsen

More to it

Convenience isn’t the only thing customers are looking for in their retail and restaurant experiences.

What do consumers want?

While it certainly adds value to their lives, the idea of convenience must be tied to other elements of a brand experience. For example, integrity and social good are playing new roles in customers’ consciousness, as organizational transparency increases and issues like overseas working conditions come into prominent view. Additionally, issues like employee wages and ethical treatment become more important as public sentiment skews toward increasing the hourly rates for these associates.

what actions can brands take

Personalize:

Convenience is a factor that all consumers crave, but it’s not always the most important method brands can use to connect. If you’re already Transforming Data Into Actionable Insights, you can cater to customers on a more personal level.

saks and company
who's doing it?

GHL:

Requesting a city view or first floor room are common requests a hotel concierge might hear upon check-in, but London based GHL is giving customers ultimate control during the booking process. Delivering a guest-centered experience, each room has a dedicated webpage that presents the floor plan, amenities, guest reviews, and photos of the room. Guests can choose which accommodation they’d prefer based on their specific need, like business trip or family travel, or by budget and room location within the building.

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE:

Cultivating a relationship with consumers is not easily done online, so in an effort to capitalize on what Saks does best, the department store launched the personalized shopping service Saks at Your Service in which a dozen stores nationwide, including Beverly Hills and New York, offer stylists on-demand. At home or work, or wherever the need arises, they’ll deliver. Customers provide personal details like style, color and brand preferences, and their stylists pull a suggested wardrobe solution, complete with accessories. Additionally, alterations are made onsite and shoppers have access to makeup artists and hair stylists to complete the look, all as a complimentary service.

When asked where the greatest opportunity lies for the industry to take advantage of more individualized content, products, and services for customers and/or employees, the top choice (57%) of retail respondents was empowering associates to improve customer service effectiveness. 

– Oracle

old dogs, new tricks

Some brands are new and can invent their game right from the starting line, while legacy brick-and-mortar brands have to introduce fresh ideas and services that might be more suited for new online retailers.

What do consumers want?

The marketplace today can be overwhelming, as information-overload becomes omnipresent. To counter this, consumers are looking for simple, no-fuss interactions with brands that unite the best of both the online and brick-and-mortar worlds. They want to learn about the products they purchase from experts, while having the freedom to make informed decisions and the confidence of knowing they are making the smartest purchase decision.

what actions can brands take

Educate:

When it comes to learning something new, education can be complex for some. Even better than keeping it simple is when you create a moment that seamlessly introduces education as if it were a part of the experience.

 

Empower:

In a world where purchases are more thoughtful, planned, and precise, no one wants to encounter buyer’s remorse. Legacy retailers are creating new ways to enable customers to envision products as part of their lives before they make a purchase.

Lowe's VR
who's doing it?

ENJOY:

Ron Johnson’s new enterprise, Enjoy, has created a way of selling electronics in the ever-changing technology market. Want a new AppleTV, but don’t want to spend the time getting it to work? Purchase through Enjoy and have the product delivered, along with a helpful employee in a pressed white shirt and puffy navy vest. They spend an hour hooking up your device and educating you.

LOWE’S:

With Lowe’s new VR technology, customers can virtually design in real-time and see their vision come to life, feeling more confident about their appliance, material and paint choices. Working with a Lowe’s store associate, they can make design decisions via an iPad, then enter the Holoroom to see a 360-degree visualization of the space using Oculus Rift. If they’re unsure of the flooring tiles they selected or want to see how a more modern kitchen faucet would look, the Lowe’s concierge simply switches out the selections until the customer lands on the final design.

photo source >

GARNIER:

When your toes are in the sand and the sun is on your skin, you have no cares in the world–except what to do with your stuff as you take a stroll along the beach. Garnier Ambre Solaire created Sun (B)lockers to remind beachgoers just how important it is to protect your belongings, but also your skin. In order to lock up your items, individuals enter a key code and are prompted to place their hand in a drawer. A small amount of sunscreen is dispensed on their hand with the message, “Now take care of what matters most.”

In-store expertise drives purchase volume: 90% of consumers are more likely to buy when helped by a knowledgeable associate.

– TimeTrade 2015

The Real Meaning of Time

It’s awesome to see so many brands – large and small – defining the value of convenience in ways that are unique to their brands. But, what do actual people think? We asked some Chuties what convenience means to them, how they save time, and where they spend their energy. Here’s what they said.

Get insights delivered straight to your inbox.