For decades, a driving force behind consumer behavior has been price. “We’ll beat any price!” has blared out at us from TVs, scrolled across our desktops and splashed across billboards, print ads and store windows. But another force is rising in prominence and, increasingly, it even trumps price when we make choices about goods and services. Getting impatient waiting for me to get to the point? Very on-trend of you, because I’m talking about speed…or perhaps it would be more correct to refer to it as “wait reduction.”
Computer pundits drag out Moore’s Law (processor capacity doubles every two years) when talking about the tremendous growth in computing power, speed and capacity over the last few decades. I don’t know if there is a parallel “law” for need gratification (nor would I be cheeky enough to name one after myself), but I’d envision it as such, “Consumer impatience grows in direct proportion to the maximum speed of fulfillment.”
Whether it’s the ad-stream I observe in the media or my own observations within my store, evidence bears this out. We see marginally older kids grumpily observe that the little kids don’t know what it means to wait for a download pre-Uverse. Our friends revel in the speed and connectivity of their phones, dissatisfied with a product that doesn’t allow everything and anything to be instantly accessible with minimal swipes and taps. Revenue for expedited and overnight shipping is growing dramatically, and it’s a key component in the presentation of products for sale online (“order by 8pm to receive by…”). We don’t just want it…we want it cheap, easy and, ideally, beamed down from the space station warehouse to materialize next to us when we click “Buy Now.”
The online retail industry knows this. It’s why the express shipping option is so prominently displayed, and why algorithms pre-select accessories, suggest related titles, and ping us with the status and tracking of our order in progress. It’s showing up in smartphone apps designed to ID you when you enter a store, suggest purchases on the fly and, once you tap “OK,” have it waiting at the door for you, already checked out. No lines, no waiting…and more and more people would be willing to spend a little extra to make it so.
Don’t think so? Remember that many of us now…