Convenience: the state of being able to proceed with something without difficulty.
Do you ever wonder why 7-Eleven charge so much for basic groceries and toiletries? Or why supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths sometimes have take-away food outlets inside them? Or how valet parking is a profitable business? The simple answer is convenience.
Convenience is the reason that we are willing to pay $4 (FOUR DOLLARS!) for a small bottle of water at a vending machine. It is also the only plausible reason for paying to take the fast lane at a theme park. Convenience has always been valuable to consumers, but now more than ever, companies are adapting to consumer needs, and taking advantage of the convenience premium – that extra little bit that they can charge because their product is less difficult to get and use.
Convenience is a particularly pertinent topic around this time of year. As we all feel the approach of silly season, it becomes increasingly attractive to be able to conveniently and easily buy what you need (want). Need to shop for Christmas presents? Do it online, at home in your PJs. Want to look for somewhere to meet up with friends and family during the holidays? Google it, at home in your PJs. Want to compare flights for a vacation? Check Webjet, at home in your PJs.
The convenience premium isn’t just about looking at things online, at home in your PJs. As the convenience trend grows, all sorts of businesses are trying to make their offerings more easily accessible and easier to use. Here are our 5 favourites:
It’s not always easy to eat healthy, purely because it takes time and energy to cook healthy meals and then clean up. Green Press takes the hassle out of eating clean, by sending their delicious salads, cold pressed juices, acai bowls and much more directly to your door. Simply order before 11:30am and they will deliver it to anywhere within the Melbourne 'Free Tram' zone by 1pm. Too easy.
Coming out of New York, Dashlocker is the all-encompassing locker that looks after (almost) all of your needs. You can simply put your suits for dry cleaning, clothes for laundry, and shoes for shoe shining in the Dashlocker at any hour of the day, and they will come back squeaky clean (or shiny). You can even send your mail to a locker! The convenience doesn’t stop there though; you can sign up for Dashlocker for free online with the tap of a button.
Tesco’s South Korean leg, Homeplus, uses virtual stores to take the hassle out of grocery shopping. These virtual stores are set up along the walls in train stations, where customers can use their smartphone to quickly pick out their groceries on the way home from work. By the time they arrive at home, their purchase is already waiting for them.
Hello Alfred is a butler for those who aren’t filthy rich, but still strive for the luxury of not having to lift a finger. Your personal ‘Alfred’ will take care of a list of errands that you write for them, freeing up more time for you to do the things you love. Hello Alfred even claims that the more you use the service, the more your ‘Alfred’ will be able to predict what you need and when you need it.
Maple is essentially a food delivery service for gourmet meals. It is only available to New Yorkers at the moment, who have a choice of meals from a menu that changes daily, on the whim of some of the best chefs in New York, who work with Maple. This service is all about bringing restaurant quality food into your home, without the hassle of trying to get a table at a fancy restaurant down town.
A lot of products and services that really embrace convenience, as a means to creating consumer value, are developed and only available overseas; the time is ripe for Australian companies to follow the lead of Green Press and start developing offerings that make life easier for Australians.