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Location, Location, Location: Convenience is More Than Just Where You Are

Posted On - 22/02/2013 14:39:15

Love it or hate it, consumer shopping behaviour and many consumer shopping choices are driven simply by convenience. The issue is: what does this really mean?Time is precious and doing anything that isn't essential gets squeezed. People want more time to spend their time as they want to.

Now for some, visiting their local IT retailer is time to be enjoyed. A positive choice. But for others it'll be more of a chore. More something that isn't essential. More something that gets in the way.

The thing is, love it or hate it, consumer shopping behaviour and many consumer shopping choices are driven simply by convenience. The issue is: what does this really mean?

Convenience matters

"Tell me something I don't know John." OK, I will. What I'm going to do is put a price on convenience.

The value we place on it is all around us and it's reflected in the price of things we pay for. Buy pizza at Domino's and opt to pick it up, you'll pay half the price. So convenience is worth double what you're paying.

Last night in the Co-op I noticed loose mushrooms are £2.99/Kg. And the price for pre-packed? £1/250g. So convenience is worth 1.3 times the price.

And if there were anything that embodies the cost of convenience it's the convenience store itself. Because on average, the cost of goods from one is at a premium of 20 – 40% on what you'd pay elsewhere.  Now, did you get all that?

Convenience is all about physical location - NOT

I won't lie. If your shop is en-route when someone goes out it's an advantage. If your shop is sited in a local shopping centre it's an advantage. But if you're thinking "business is bad because I don't have a great location" you're doing yourself a disservice. Because thinking like this frames you like nothing more than a commodity – "the only reason people visit me is because it's impossible to avoid me."

Look in the mirror! Is this you? No. Yes, location is part of convenience but the key word here is ‘part'. Besides, are you making it blindingly obvious where you are? For example, do you even have an ‘A' board?

If I can't see you, you're not there

What if my eyes are closed? What if the lights are out? Enough of the analogies – though they serve to make a point. Just how clearly are you telling people about your location? And not just your location, where you are? A map is a start. Better still, some directions, Better again, directions that make reference to local landmarks. Yet better, directions written to emphasise how easy you are to get to. "Two minutes from Sainsbury's car park – out the entrance and turn left. You can't miss us; we're beside the bus stop."

Easy to do? Yes! Remember: the onus is on YOU to make it easy for you to be found. Why should anyone who's never used you before make the effort to work out where you are? If you want their business, show them!

Hello. Hello! Are you there?

Here's another thing we don't see enough of: opening hours. "Well, I'm open Monday to Saturday all day."

You're doing it again. If it's not on your website, email footers and any other marketing you do, you're asking prospects to do the work. To go out of their way. To take risks.

If they're interested enough to consider venturing out of Sainsbury's car park to find you what if you're closed? In fact, do you close for lunch? Or it's Monday, are you open? Do you close early on Wednesdays? Who knows? And why should they bother emailing or calling you to find out? The onus is on YOU. If you don't spell it out no-one will know. Stating opening hours matters.

G… G… G… G, G, G – Granville!

But it doesn't stop there. It's not just about opening hours; it's about when you're open.

Case in point: a small Indie retailer we visited some time ago would only see us after 6pm. "OK" we said, "That's fine. But just out of interest, why so late?" "Well I'm open from 9am", came the reply, "but I'm not there, my wife covers. I come in when most customers drop by."

It turned out that this Indie was on a major arterial road. Most of his customers were business people going to/from work during shift change at a local factory. He remained open to 9pm because that's when the he was most convenient for his prospects and customers.

Who were they? Well right across his window were the words "iPhone repairs and accessories." And would you know it: he does multiple screen replacements and accessories sales every day.

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