I’ll give you the answer right away: convenience. What is striking, it’s difficult for businesses to see their services with the eyes of their customers. There’s a huge gap in what businesses concieve as important and what customers think is important. It often starts at right the top: executives have no idea how their services or products work for customers, because they often don’t use them. There is this nice story about a company that manufactures condoms. During a meeting with Martin Lindstrom, the execs where asked to use their own product. Mr. Lindstrom turned off the lights. After struggling for a minute none of the execs could open the package. Basically they had no idea how most of their customers were using their product and that the current package was not exactly user friendly and needed improvement.
But since most of you are not in the business of selling condoms, what does this mean for you and your brick and mortar business? Well, you have to use your products/services at least once in a while to see how they work. Luckily for you, marketing research has already identified several pain points for customers that businesses need to address to make shopping more convenient. So you have already a starting point. I’ll give you the two most important ones (checkout and inventory):
- 57% of customers say that they experience long checkout lines. But only 35% of businesses believe this is a pain point for customers.
- Likewise 55% of customers experience out-of-stock inventory. Again, only 32% of businesses believe this is a pain point for customers.
What is striking is the discrepancy of the two perspectives. I can only speculate why this is the case, but if the condom anecdote is an indicator then it’s quite likely that most executives seldom experience their services/products like their customers (if they use it at all). For your business this means to take a critical look at the convenience level you offer to your customers. Providing up-to-date stock information (e.g., in your mobile App) is certainly helpful. Offering a mobile self-checkout system (again with a mobile App) also gives your business also a boost. After all, customers are more likely to choose your business if you are able emulate the convenience in your brick-and-mortar stores that they know from online shops.