Growing Your Small Business by Focusing on Convenience

Adapt your business strategy to meet growing consumer demands for more convenient shopping experiences.
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Small, local stores are in a perfect position to tap into shoppers’ convenience needs, a new Nielsen report finds. (Photo: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock)

“In today’s hyperconnected world, convenience is the ultimate currency.”

That’s according to a recent Nielsen report titled “The Quest for Convenience.” The paper explores changing factors in the global marketplace driving consumer demand for convenient solutions to everyday problems — from rapid urbanization and extended lifespans to a growing dependence on technology.

“Consumers are feeling more stretched than ever before, and are increasingly striving for convenient solutions which help to simplify their busy lives,” the report said.

As consumers’ needs evolve, you must also adapt your small business’ strategies to meet these new demands — that is, if you want to see sustained success. These interesting findings from the Nielsen report should prompt some ideas to help you find your niche in the growing world of convenience.

Shopping is seen as a chore

The Nielsen research found that busy consumers increasingly view shopping as a chore (46 percent globally). As a result, consumers are changing the way they shop.

The market for online ordering and ecommerce remains steady, and interest in automated product subscriptions is growing. Look for ways your small business can provide customers with just-in-time, convenient replenishment options for routine purchases.

Home-cooked meals are too time consuming

On average, people spend two hours commuting to and from work every day. This, along with evolving gender roles and shifting lifestyle priorities, has changed the way consumers view mealtime.

With food preparation competing for time with exercise, entertainment and relaxation, the report points out that one-third (33 percent) of global consumers use a restaurant or meal delivery service, and 7 percent do so weekly.

Many people are also replacing full meals with smaller, more frequent snacks. Restaurants, caterers and retailers can tap into this trend by offering meal kits, food delivery and more grab-and-go snacking options.

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Instead of making large stock-up shopping trips, more consumers are buying what they need on demand. (Photo: TAGSTOCK1/Shutterstock)

Shopping trips are more immediate and need-based

Changing lifestyles are also impacting how consumers go about getting the products they need on-demand.

“One result is that stock-up grocery shopping trips are being replaced by smaller, more frequent, needs-based shopping trips — currently 10 percent of shoppers buy just for today’s meal,” said the Nielsen report.

You can also leverage new technology to provide your customers with a more convenient shopping experience. For instance, in addition to adding an ecommerce component to your brick-and-mortar store, consider optimizing your website for voice search or providing on-demand delivery options.

Small stores are adapting well

According to the report, small businesses are doing well in this new environment, taking market share with 70 percent of shopping trips and 25 percent of sales for fast-moving consumer goods.

Small shops “have the advantage of proximity, and are well placed to optimize their assortment of products and services, as smaller formats have traditionally been limited to essentials and snacks. Whether branded or independent, small stores are well placed to tap into shoppers’ convenience needs.”

Every market is different

Before making any major business decisions based on this information, it is important to remember that “convenience” can mean different things to different people.

“Convenience is about relieving the burden of routine tasks to give back time to consumers, so they can do what they value most,” the report stated.

Take time to thoroughly research your customer base to determine how your small business can create more ease, utility and simplicity for your local market and enable more fulfilment, enjoyment and balance in consumers’ busy lives.

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