By Retail Doctor Group, in association with Ebeltoft Group

The pandemic wasn’t just a health crisis; it was a retail revolution. For 35% of retailers it was business as usual, with very little effort required to meet the sudden uprising. For others, the demands placed on them proved to be too big to manage and many retailers closed their doors for good. For the most part, these were long-established and viable businesses before the pandemic. 

In the end, the reasons for closure came down to supply chain networks that could not operate, demands that could not be met because of this, and a catastrophic shift in consumer behaviour and mindset. Amid the chaos of the resulting tragedy and sudden economic downturn, consumers began to realise that time and money are finite, that complacency can make you go broke, and that both these commodities should be spent wiser than they had been before. 


  • ​​Dawn of the Impatient Consumer
  • ​Revolutionising Retail: Consumer Expectations in 2024 and Beyond
  • ​Top Priorities for Retailers in 2024 and Beyond
  • ​Conclusion

Dawn of the Impatient Consumer 

Confined to their homes, consumers had plenty of time to discover not only the joys of banana bread baking and questionable Zoom haircuts, but that they had the power to change the face of retail forever, too. Along the way, they also realised they no longer had to settle for subpar shopping experiences, to wait in long queues, or to suffer through impersonal service to be happy.  

Consumers learned that they have standards, and more importantly, that they are allowed to have expectations that align to those standards. 

This newfound awareness sparked a massive shift in the retail landscape. The “impatient consumer” is not just a niche demographic full of rude and busy consumers anymore; it’s the defining characteristic of the modern shopper.  

Consumers want what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. This is as true of Gen Z and Millennial shoppers as it is of Baby Boomers and Gen X shoppers. Retailers are still scrambling to adapt and adopt. 

Revolutionising Retail: Consumer Expectations in 2024 and Beyond 

Consider the early days of online shopping. People would spend hours going through Pinterest to find an image or a description of their ideal product. Then they would spend more hours trying to find that same description on a product for sale somewhere online. Price comparisons were almost non-existent, and the old adage of “People will pay the price you’re asking if they want it bad enough” is how business was done.  

Fast forward a few years to Covid times. Price comparisons on similar products are now a prerequisite in a consumer’s shopping journey. What’s more, the use of image search engines and keywording of products resulted in an industry-standard jargon that all retailers use. In other words, a spade is a spade no matter where you buy it from. People will only pay X price because it’s seen as a fair average across the products they’ve already pre-selected. The new adage is “If you can’t give it to me at my preferred price, someone else can”.  

But something else changed, too. Gone were the days of standing in checkout lines, trying to make sense of outdated loyalty programs, and doing your best to navigate confusing store layouts or incorrectly-labelled aisles. The personalised experience means it’s ready to be collected, shopped personally, or have it delivered at the touch of an “Add to Cart” button.  

All products should be suitably priced and grouped so alternatives can be chosen, and must include sustainable product options for those who follow an eco-friendly lifestyle. Over-the-top lavish displays of wealth are for the ostentatious. For everyone else, there’s minimalism. 

The impatient consumer now demands frictionless experiences that eliminate time-wasting between selection and purchase, overnight delivery as the worst case scenario, and rewards that align with the values they placed their order with. 

How are retailers rising to meet this demand, and what innovative solutions are they using to meet the challenges head-on? 

Trends Influencing Impatient Consumers’ Buying Behaviours 

These trends cater to the ‘impatient consumer’ by reducing wait times and simplifying purchasing processes. Frictionless checkout minimises the time spent in store, while subscription services deliver personalised products regularly without the need for repeated transactions. Voice commerce allows for seamless shopping experiences, further reducing friction in the purchase journey. 

Collectively, these trends indicate a shift towards convenience, speed, and personalisation, which are likely to shape consumer expectations and retail strategies in 2024 and beyond. 

Frictionless Checkout: The Card-Free Way to Buy What You Need 

Imagine waltzing through your favourite store, cart laden with your choice of goods, and then simply walking out while the bill is magically settled without ever having stood in a queue, swiped a card, or spoken to another person. No, it’s not science fiction; it’s the future of retail. 

This is frictionless checkout, a concept pioneered by Amazon Go. Now embraced by a growing number of retailers in Australia and around the globe, frictionless checkout leverages smart sensors and AI to track your purchases in real-time, automatically charging your account as you leave. It’s a fast, convenient, and eerily satisfying experience, especially for those who break out in hives at the sight of a long queue! 

Subscription Services: Effortless Convenience That Anticipates Your Needs 

Remember how you used to sit and plan your grocery list, then battle full parking lots and supermarket crowds to get your goods, then lug heavy bags home? There are those who still enjoy this experience, and there are those who don’t. If you’re one of the latter types of people, you’ll be glad to know that those days are officially over, thanks to subscription services. 

Another personalised offering, subscription services cater to the consumers’ demands for effortless convenience. In the process, impulse buys at the checkout aisle and forgotten essentials leading to mad mid-week shopping dashes are eliminated. Subscription services anticipate needs and deliver them right to your doorstep, whether that’s needed in an hour or just to stock up the pantry.  

What’s more, subscription services also tend to suggest personalised recommendations and curated selections that enhance the consumers’ overall seamless shopping experience.

Voice Commerce: Shopping with the Power of Your Words 

Voice commerce has rapidly transformed the way people shop, offering a seamless and intuitive consumer experience that perfectly aligns with their need for instant gratification. From ordering groceries to booking flights, the days of tapping and typing out text to place an order are just about done. 

Additionally, voice recognition software has evolved to the point where very little training needs to be done for the device to understand the command. This combines with rising AI integration in all apps and devices to deliver instantaneous results and feedback, fully catering to the demands of the impatient consumer. 

These trends are not just passing fads; together, they represent a fundamental shift in consumer expectations. The impatient consumer is here to stay, and they’re not afraid to demand what they deserve. In 2024 and beyond, retailers must prioritise convenience, personalisation, and speed of service to stay ahead of the competition and cultivate real loyalty. 

Are you ready to redefine your consumers’ retail experiences for 2024 and beyond?  

Top Priorities for Retailers in 2024 and Beyond 

The Australian retail landscape is evolving at breakneck speed, shaped by an empowered, demanding, and impatient consumer base. Retailers who embrace change, prioritise convenience, and build meaningful connections will thrive. The rest will be left wondering where all the customers went. 

But that’s just the beginning of the conversation. Here’s five quick ways retailers can implement frictionless retail for the impatient consumer: 

1. Embrace Technology 

Remember that time is a currency for the impatient consumer. Make a solid investment in frictionless solutions such as self-checkouts, subscription-based business models, and voice-activated shopping. 

2. Personalise Everything 

Show your customers you understand their needs. Leverage your existing data and emerging AI to recommend products, curate experiences, and deliver targeted offers everywhere your customers will find you. 

3. Build Trust and Transparency 

Earn your customers’ trust by being an authentic and ethical retailer. Be open and transparent about your product sourcing policies, your pricing strategies, and our sustainability practices. 

4. Focus on Delivering Value 

Create unique shopping experiences that go beyond the transaction. Offer your consumers exclusive product lines, host workshops and events, and build a community around your brand and its story. 

5. Upskill Your People 

Empower your employees to go the extra mile, build genuine relationships with customers, and offer personalised attention that really speaks to the consumers’ emotional need to be heard. Train your staff to be helpful, knowledgeable, and as passionate about your products as you wish your consumers were. 


The retail landscape is being reshaped, not by earthquakes or meteor showers, but by the collective impatience of millions of consumers. By understanding and catering to this new breed of shopper, retailers can not only survive but thrive in the exciting, voice-activated, subscription-fueled future of retail. 

Remember, the impatient consumer isn’t just demanding; they’re also loyal. If you can earn their trust and consistently deliver on their expectations, they’ll reward you with their business and their unwavering brand advocacy.  

Is your establishment “Business Fit” enough to manage the needs of your demanding consumer base? 

Contact the Retail Doctor Group, a retail advisory and consulting practice that builds retail channels and increases the performance of retail and FMCG businesses through our customised & transformative ‘Business Fitness™’ methodologies.

Since 2005 we have partnered with our clients to build powerful, award-winning, sustainable, and “fit” implemented retail. Ensuring our clients consistently achieve above benchmarks, build sales and margin results. We stay with our clients to ensure success. Services include consumer insights, retailer training, mystery shopping and more.

As the Australian elected member of International Retail Experts, Ebeltoft Group, we have more than 20 years of experience as retailers and consultants in all retail channels, segments and regions. Today, members of the Ebeltoft network advise 80 of the 100 largest retail companies in the world.

Want to know more about the Future of Retail and prepare your retail strategies? Schedule an appointment with our Insights division by e-mailing us at or calling 02 9460 2882.