Products, services, customer support; consumers want it now. They don’t want to spend hours researching the right products, wait several days for delivery, and they definitely don’t want to be put on hold.
As technology moves faster and internet speed continues to increase, our patience grows thinner. We can share our pictures and opinions in seconds. We can send emails with a few taps. We can order items by pressing a button. We can discover products we like with a few scrolls and swipes.
Instant gratification is nothing new. We are hardwired to follow the pleasure principle, which compels us to satisfy our needs and desires as soon as possible. What has changed is the definition of instant. It has become to mean “now” or “a few seconds”.
Offering added-value, instant services in a culture of ‘now’ provides a real opportunity for businesses to differentiate and reduce abandonment rates. It’s quickly becoming a must for modern businesses that want to satisfy their customer base.
Here are six ways businesses are doing just that.
1. Same-Day Delivery vs Waiting for Days or Weeks
Just a few years ago it might have seemed unattainable to offer same-day delivery. Many businesses dismissed it as too expensive and complex to fulfill, but these days it’s becoming a benchmark of customer service.
Walmart is piloting a same-day service through cooperation with companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Deliv. American Apparel, Inc. and the online apparel retailer Everlane partner with Postmates to deliver clothes in 60 minutes or less. Amazon’s same-day delivery service is up and running in large metropolitan areas and the company is rolling out this speedy delivery service to more cities.
At the same time, Amazon is also working with NASA on prototypes to develop its own system of delivery drones to drop off parcels directly at their customer’s doorsteps. However, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and safety concerns make drone-powered deliveries a thing of a faraway future.
The arrival of autonomous vehicles seem like a more viable opportunity for businesses to use automation for same-day delivery and to give customers instant gratification. Recently, Anheuser-Busch and San Francisco’s Otto, the self-driving trucking startup acquired by Uber, made the world’s first fully autonomous truck delivery, delivering 50,000 cans of Budweiser from Fort Collins, Colo. to Colorado Springs.
Consumer behaviour is evolving and it has become apparent that they are willing to pay for such convenience. A survey from the Boston Consulting Group found that 50% of US shoppers use same-day delivery for last-minute gifts.
And if you need convincing of its importance, consider this: 40% of consumers said they would abandon an online shopping cart if they couldn’t get gifts or flowers delivered on the same day.
2. Click and Collect vs In-store Purchase
Sticking with the theme of delivery, click and collect is affecting the retail industry significantly. Take UK’s John Lewis. During the Christmas season in 2016, the retail giant experienced more click and collect orders than home delivery orders for the first time in its history. Online sales grew by 19% and click and collect accounted for 56% of all online orders. In fact this service was so popular with UK shoppers that many retailers ran out of slots.
While not all businesses can take advantage of a tight network of store locations, there are plenty of innovations in this area. An example is CollectPlus, which cooperated with over 6,000 local store partners in the UK. Consumers can order online and collect their parcels quickly and easily from a location near them.
3. Intelligent Digital Advice vs Lengthy, confusing research
Consumers want to make informed decisions, but they do not want to invest a huge chunk of time in research.
Several retailers use digital advisors or intelligent product finders to decrease indecision, increase decision confidence and reduce abandonment rates. These smart solutions engage customers in an interactive conversation and help them to quickly find products that are just right for them.
The beauty industry is a great example of how leading brands such as L’Oréal, Vichy or the Body Shop are leveraging Digital advice solutions to improve customer experience and sales. From skin diagnostic tools to interactive product discovery, providing consumers with personal digital advice is effective at guiding them towards the right product in less time.
Here you can quickly build an intelligent digital advisor for your advice-seeking customers
4. Visualise now vs Wait and see
Consumers want results and they want them now. By helping them to visualise items before they purchase them, you satisfy their need for instant gratification.
For example, several paint brands are offering ‘paint your room’ tools, which allow customers to upload an image of a room and apply different paint colours. The result? They get to witness the transformation immediately. Apart from the feeling of immediacy, it increases a shopper’s decision confidence and reduces abandonment rates.
5. Self-Checkout vs Waiting in Line
Who has time to wait in line? Nobody, apparently!
In 2013 there were 191,000 self-checkout machines worldwide – that number is estimated to reach 325,000 by 2019. The appeal to customers is clearly convenience. No longer do they have to wait in line. An NCR white paper on the topic found:
- 90% of people said they used self-checkout
- 42% of customers like the convenience of self-checkout
- 7% said they always use self-checkout regardless of store lines and number of items.
It seems like a resounding thumbs up for self-service!
But wait a minute – what if the very act of “checkout” was made redundant? Enter: Amazon Go.
Amazon Go is a new checkout-less store. Amazon have invested in an advanced shopping technology called “Just Walk Out Technology” that allows users to do just that. All they need is an Amazon account, a smart phone and the Amazon Go app. It’s the same sort of technology you’d find in self-driving cars like sensor fusions and computer vision. It detects when products are being removed and placed back on shelves, and tracks them in an online shopping cart.
Once the user is done picking items they can simply exit the store. The user’s Amazon account is charged and they’ll receive an online receipt.
If you think this sounds a little too futuristic for the general consumer, prepare to think again. A survey by Schorr found that 84% of those surveyed said they would enjoy an Amazon Go shopping experience more than traditional grocery shopping.
Three quarters said they would be extremely or very likely to shop at such a store and – here’s the real zinger – a quarter said they would pay more for products if they didn’t have to waste time standing in line at a checkout.
6. Self-Support vs Being put on hold
A recent survey found that most US consumers spend 10-20 minutes on hold each week – or 13 hours a year! Despite waiting patiently for support, nearly half are not being rewarded as they believe the customer service representative who answers the call is not helpful.
This isn’t going to cut the mustard for customers in search of instant gratification.
Brand loyalty is in decline and most consumers won’t think twice about switching to a different provider if they aren’t getting what they need from their current one.
The solution? Digitize the customer service experience and allow customers to solve issues on their own. 76% of customers prefer self-service to interacting with a service agent via the phone.
Implementing Self-Support Strategies with Digital Advice:
- Provide a Guided Self-Service and Troubleshooting Experience
- Assist agents and reduce the time they need to solve complex customer issues
- Show customers a quick, interactive, low-effort path to suitable content
Download the free Consumer Expectations Report and read what consumers expect today.
Thanks to today’s hyper-connected society and the consumer’s growing desire for convenience and immediacy in a multichannel world, they no longer want to wait to make things happen. Customer expectations are rising and want things ‘now’ like never before. If businesses can meet this growing demand for instant gratification they’ll be able to increase sales, reduce abandonment rates, and improve customer experiences.
What do you think? Is instant gratification a growing factor to consider?