Place utility focuses on the desire of customers to have convenient access to goods at the time they want them. It is one of several primary marketing utilities that collectively address the uses customers derive from the various elements of a company's offering.
One of the primary values brick-and-mortar retailers provide to consumers is that they hold inventory on hand. This holding of inventory simplifies the buying process for consumers so they don't have to source goods from a wholesaler or manufacturer. While all traditional retailers must consider how accessible their stores are for targeted customers, convenience stores make place utility central in their marketing strategies. They attempt to position stores in many easy-to-access locations in an area.
Online transactions throw a wrench in the conventional view of place utility. In some cases, businesses are able to respond to business and consumer needs quickly through convenient distribution centers or warehouses. Companies that sell online but with delayed shipments may struggle against traditional stores that are easily accessible when customers don't want to wait.
Some factors that make place utility a priority are emergent needs or situations in which a buyer needs a product by a specific deadline. Other marketing utilities include form, time and possession utilities.