Ahead of a panel on instant gratification at Retail Week Live, Vera Hartmuth of Salesforce looks at how the desire for convenience is driving retail today.
“Your brand is not the most important thing in your customers’ life – convenience is.”
This was a statement overheard at a Salesforce event earlier this month in London. As bold as the statement was, it was clear to everyone in the room the meaning underpinning it.
I want to share some thoughts about what ‘instant gratification’ really means, and how retailers can be prepared for this trend.
Amazon has disrupted the economics of retail
We are living in the ‘want now’ reality, where we can stream the latest movies, music and audiobooks with ease.
We value the ability to buy quickly and easily, and are getting less and less patient when it comes to waiting for orders to be delivered and new goods to show up in stores. The three-day wait for delivery is no longer good enough.
“We are living in the ‘want now’ reality, where we can stream the latest movies, music and audiobooks with ease”
From all this, it would seem there is one thing shaping the future of retail: the desire for convenience and within that the desire for immediacy in a multichannel world.
Today’s consumers seek instant gratification
By 2020, 45% of consumers say they will switch brands if a company doesn’t actively anticipate their needs.
That creates the need for organisations to support every customer, every time, any time and anywhere. Sound cumbersome yet?
In particular, instant gratification resonates with the millennial and Gen Z audience. Even when ordering online, they crave immediacy and have become fast adopters of click and collect.
Many retailers fail to live up to new expectations
The majority of brands continue to invest in front-end consumer-facing activity, such as increasing basket size, pay-per-click (PPC) or new ecommerce capabilities.
Companies of all sizes have disparate back-office systems that block them from meeting increasing customer demand for immediacy.
“Success in the instant gratification era would depend on how you navigate the interplay between offline and online worlds to deliver seamless experiences”
As a retail community, we still focus a lot of attention on the in-store versus digital/offline vs online debate.
On that last point, success in the instant gratification era would depend on how you navigate the interplay between offline and online worlds to deliver fast and seamless experiences for the modern shopper.
Is delivering instant gratification enough?
However, I also question if instant gratification is enough to attract and foster customer loyalty.
For example, in our Shopper-First Retailing research, surveying more than 6,000 consumers and 1.4 billion ecommerce visits, we observed that consumers increasingly reward brands that give the shopping relationship meaning beyond the transaction.
This could be through greater personalisation, superior loyalty programmes or company values.
Therefore, should we focus on delivering instantly gratifying experiences or should we be thinking more about ‘constant gratification’ instead?
Let’s start the conversation
To help answer the question, I have invited retail technology leaders from Estée Lauder and Mars to join me in a discussion at Retail Week Live on March 27. If you are at the event, please do join me in what will be a lively debate.
For more retail blogs from Salesforce, click here.
Vera Hartmuth is marketing director for western and northern Europe at Salesforce.