Marketing products and services to consumers have never been easy. For modern businesses, marketers, and entrepreneurs, it’s impossible to say if marketing to consumers in the 21st century is more difficult than in the past. But one thing is for sure - it’s more complicated.
Modern consumers care about a lot of things when it comes to choosing a product or service - efficacy, price, perceived value, brand story, and more. But what has really changed the rules of the marketing game is what’s known as The Amazon Factor. With the rise of the on-demand, store-for-everything, do modern consumers care more about brand or convenience?
The Amazon store model gives consumers convenience on steroids.
In the not-so-distant past, convenience for consumers meant the grocery store was within a reasonable walking distance. Or, they could have their items shipped and delivered to them within a couple of weeks. As far as selection went, a convenient selection for our grandparents meant there were three types of coffee to choose from instead of a single brand. One of which was merely, “decaf.”
Amazon and similar stores have completely turned the concept of consumer convenience on its head, and have pumped it full of steroids. The genie is out of the bottle, and there is no going back to the good old days of the “convenient” small town grocer.
Consumers are driven by a different set of expectations for the businesses they choose to support. Because of retail giants like Amazon, consumers want access to a variety of products, and they want to purchase it right now. But that’s not all. They want those products delivered to their door within two days. In some cases, even two days is not fast enough, and it’s one of the reasons why billion dollar businesses are experimenting with drone delivery.
On top of fast, convenient delivery, younger consumers who came of age with the rise in online shopping prefer to have a product delivered if cost and availability are comparable to getting in a car and driving to their shopping destination.
Having a reputable brand with a humanizing story isn’t enough for modern consumers. Consumers want online, quick access to a brands catalog of products and services.
Younger consumers are less likely to purchase from rigid verticals. Consumer reports from 2017 and 2018 have found that:
Consumers prefer fast, simple, and efficient retail processes.
Consumers who shop both online and offline visit a store to purchase something specific.
Casual browsing, both offline and online, is less likely to happen in the digital era.
73% of shoppers say they visit both online and offline stores with a specific item for purchase in mind.
58% of surveyed customers cite having the ability to find what they want quickly and efficiently as the most critical factor in determining where they shop.
44% of consumers say that the second most important factor for shopping is a company’s customer service.
What’s the bottom line?
Consumers, especially Millennial and Gen Z consumers, care more about convenience than brand. Businesses will have to give consumers convenient, flexible shopping experiences to remain competitive. This doesn't mean forget about your brand, it just means there's a shift in priority and you need to recognize it... NOW!