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.

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