We’ve seen the prolific growth of companies offering radically better ways of doing things in countless industries: Google, TransferWise, Waze (people-powered sat nav). They are pushing people’s expectations higher than ever (the ‘Uber Effect’) and it’s turning convenience from a perk into the norm. Add to that our natural scepticism about what convenience means in some industries and you have a race to the bottom. 

When technology makes you faster, easier, even cheaper, then people will always choose you. Won’t they?

A new breed of companies, those born digital, are growing not by pumping money into sales teams and advertising, but by out-competing on customer experience. Entire industries have been disrupted, sometimes by solving problems people didn’t even know they had. They provide more and more convenience – better, faster, easier, cheaper – which has shifted expectations. The modern customer still wants convenience, even demands it, but growth for many businesses today means more than just offering convenience.

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Convenience without context

Let’s understand convenience in the new tech-driven food delivery industry using the decision, access, transaction, benefit and post-benefit model.

1. Decision convenience – your food must be fast and easy to choose – tick

2. Access convenience – your food must be fast and easy to acquire – well, if it arrives too quickly, you may question whether it’s recently been in the microwave. If it’s late and you’ve got friends waiting, you’re social standing is at risk. And it’s pretty hard to return or exchange a Nepalese curry without making everyone on their sugar low very upset. 

3. Transaction convenience – your food must be quick and easy to pay for – tick

4. Benefit convenience – your food must be easy to enjoy –  if you knew your delivery driver was earning £3.75 per delivery as per Deliveroo, it might sprinkle a little hard-to-swallow guilt on top of your four-cheese, thin-crust pizza

5. Post-benefit convenience – your food must be fast and easy to re-purchase – tick

To rise above the competition, the digitally driven food businesses must go beyond convenience and understand context. This means understanding people on a deeper level. When their value proposition is ‘food delivered within 32 minutes or less’, it’s a race to the bottom. At what point do you start to question where the food has come from? Or even when it was prepared?

Just Eat Toolkit 120916 V25

From social networks to dating apps, algorithms now throw up results in single-digit milliseconds, so waiting times are being artificially stalled to make it feel like hard work is happening behind the scenes.

Food delivery businesses need to offer more than just speedy delivery. It’s more than a logistics problem – getting a package from A to B. Which is why we’re helping Just Eat to build the ‘world’s greatest food community’. The community offers incredible choice – trusted favourites and fresh new flavours for Sunday brunch or Wednesday dinnertime. People can discover and enjoy all the exciting flavours on offer. Restaurants can grow a loyal fan base. Employees can become experts in new experimental cuisines. Sure they’ll get food to customers as quickly as possible, but they’ll get a lot more besides.

The problem with efficiency only is that it ignores the power of the emotional, sometimes irrational choices we make.

Convenience model: Journal of Marketing, Leonard L. Berry, Kathleen Seiders, & Dhruv Grewal

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