The level of convenience offered to customers has increased

Symptom: The level of convenience, such as number of locations or order cycle time, that competitors offer their customers has increased significantly in recent years.

Implications for the market:

  • Heightened convenience changes the standard product and service package, which consists of Function, Reliability, and Price as well as Convenience.

  • While Function and Price are easily copied, and therefore offer only a small market share opportunity, Convenience (meaning the ease of product acquisition for the customer) is difficult to duplicate because it involves people, training, and execution. Although many competitors may pursue convenience innovations, it is hard to combine effectively all of the inputs.

  • Convenience is a benefit that customers value highly because it reduces the customer's acquisition costs.

  • Improvements in convenience can make future share movement more difficult for a challenger. Successful convenience innovations can increase customer loyalty. Once this ownership of the customer has been established, it usually can be reversed only if the existing supplier fails.

Recommended Reading
For a greater overall perspective on this subject, we recommend the following related items:


Perspectives: Conclusions we have reached as a result of our long-term study and observations.

  • "Staying Alive in a Hostile Marketplace"
    A few companies survive and even prosper during periods of hostility. How do these companies avoid being the victims of tough market conditions?

  • "Convenience: Much Tougher Than it Looks"
    Convenience is best described as short order time. It is the time between the customer's discovery that he has a need and the meeting of that need. Convenience is a very important aspect in customer decisions – more important than price.

  • "How Customers Buy"
    Customers are often faced with a large number of possible suppliers. How does the customer screen these suppliers to find the one best choice for his need?

  • "The Tallest Dwarf"
    A suppliers' goal is to take advantage of any market volatility, to take share wherever possible. Doing that requires understanding of what customers need. What are buyers buying?