Innovation,Technology

Curbside Pick-up: Why is it the next big thing in the retail industry?

Saptarshi Das

Curbside pickup has surged in popularity, and in this article, we will be digging into the reasons behind its rising preference. We will also talk about the benefits it brings and why retailers must adopt this service into their retail strategy.

The pandemic taught something vital to business owners. No industry is untouchable! No matter which service you provide or your products’ diversity, some situations will limit your sales and affect your revenue cycle.

Now is the time that industries realize a very crucial fact; refine operations and be prepared for post-pandemic operations.

Introduction to curbside pickup

With the latest pandemic, governments worldwide came up with various strategies to curb its spread and determine the safest and smoothest way of carrying out economic activities.

The same scenario was presented in front of the retail industry, and man did they take it head-on. Retail businesses had to quickly change their focus and that too on a large scale. 

And that is where the idea of closing the shutter and adopting an exclusive curbside pickup model came into play. Curbside pickup gave customers the option of purchasing their products online and picking up their purchases from their favorite retail store’s parking lot!

It would not be too blunt of a statement when we say that Covid-19 has changed many things; going on a purchasing spree in your retail store is one of them.

Why is curbside pickup the next big thing? With some stats.

As you can see in this statistical figure, 9 out of 10 customers rated these verticals based on convenience. We all know how essential convenience is to enhance retail customers’ shopping experience and customer experience as a whole!

Over 90 percent of consumers who tried it said curbside was convenient – NRF Blog

It is psychological! While many will try and return to the old normal, many have become used to the new normal – stay at home. We know companies have directed their employees to carry on with the work from the home regime.

Buy-online, pickup-in-store (BOPIS) orders surged 195% YoY in May 2020 – Adobe Digital Economy Index

Technology and enhanced logistics have played its part in making the whole stay at home regime successful.

Walmart registered a 74% YoY increase in its e-commerce sales in the first quarter because of pickup and delivery services. The number of customers who availed curbside pickup for the first time was 4X more.

Curbside Pickup services are easy & convenient and are a great way to ensure business continuity. With a significant shift towards contactless order fulfillment, here are ways that Curbside Pickup can help retailers & customers to be successful during this pandemic:

  1. Minimizes physical interaction
  2. Leverages In-Store Inventory
  3. Guaranteed Line-Buster
  4. Strengthens Brand Image

The above advantages have emphasized the importance of finding solutions to specific challenges retailers may face while ensuring the logistics behind the relatively new product delivery scenario and supply.

Criteria for implementing a successful Curbside pickup solution:

Frictionless CX

Designing an experience that is frictionless for your customers is a must. Key characteristics of an excellent pickup experience:

  • Giving options to customers to choose between in-store/Curbside Pickup,
  • Minimizing wait times,
  • Making it simple & hassle-free,
  • Ensuring that there is no chance of human error of mixing up items, missing an item, etc.

Streamlining Store Operations 

Key factors that should be considered while designing the curbside pickup service for streamlining store operations are:

  • Managing store capacity,
  • Informing stores about upcoming traffic,
  • Making the best use of your associate’s time for curbside delivery,
  • Being able to learn from the new customer journey.

A curbside solution with the characteristics will enable retailers to satisfy their customers quickly by creating a smooth and convenient frictionless customer experience, enhance their brand loyalty & ensure safety through social distancing.

How to increase experience using Curbside Pickup, why retailers should go for it?

With lowered revenue cycle and the customer data’s misplacement, retailers have been facing multiple fronts.

As always, technology needs to be implemented at the operations level so that retailers immensely benefit from the dynamic personalization engines to map out consumer behavior and the latest market trends in real-time.

And according to industry experts, these are the two primary factors that pose a significant challenge to the retail industry.

Inventory management is another rising issue, with demand for primary and exotic goods rising, and the unpredictable shopping pattern. With business intelligence and analytics, retail businesses can benefit greatly.

Curbside pickup is here to stay, and its demand will continue to increase as more customers start realizing its convenience in the post-Covid-19 world.

Let this simple thought sink in, wouldn’t you pick up your order from your favorite retail store without entering the store (and risk getting infected with the virus), especially if the store comes on your daily route?

Before the pandemic, online grocery accounted for only 3% or 4% in the US. In the new normal, this statistic has increased 5X in a short time, touching 10% to 15%.

Retailers will need to use technology for automated product tagging and seamless inventory management.

Retailers who are offering BOPIS, Curbside pickup services

So, you are on your way from the office, and before heading home, you need to clear out your grocery list. We do not need to point out how voice assistants have made your lives more comfortable in that department.

Just ask your voice assistant to talk with one of your favorite grocery apps and book your order. But wait, with the Covid-19 safeguards in place, you do not want to get out of your car. And neither do you want to be around people for a prolonged period.

This is where brick-and-mortar retailers have merged technology with safeguarded customer service, Curbside Pickup. Curbside Pick up has brought in the ease of shopping and kept the stress of contracting an invisible virus at bay.

While the list of stores that offer this service is growing, we are listing down a few of them here.

1. Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond

You have to worry less about your bedding with Bed Bath & Beyond’s in-store pickup service. Select the items you want to purchase online and pay for them to get a reservation. You receive a confirmation email from them. When you are at the store, show the confirmation email and checkout. They hold your items for up to 2 days.

The COVID-19 Impact on this

As of July 24, shoppers are required to wear masks with in-store occupancy limits. You can still shop online. The company is offering contactless curbside Pickup at select locations. Shop for your favorite items between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., choose your preferred pickup location, and they will make your order ready for curbside pickup.

2. Best Buy

Best Buy

With Best Buy, you can make an order and pick up your order in 45 minutes! They hold orders for up to five days.

The COVID-19 Impact on this

Wearing masks is a compulsion for your and other’s safety, of course. And using contactless Curbside Pickup, you do not have to get down from your car. You can also order online to get your products delivered right at your doorstep.

3. Home Depot

Home Depot

Store pickup is available at all Home Depot stores.

The COVID-19 Impact on this

With closing hours monitored all over the states, it is good news that you will not have to worry about missing the purchase of your galvanized tools! With Curbside Pickup, the products are delivered right into your car.

4. JCPenney

JCPenney

With free same-day in-store pickup ready order under four hours, you can get the products yourself or ask someone else to pick it up for you.

The COVID-19 Impact on this

With the current safety measures in place, every JCPenney store is providing contact-free curbside pickup. You can still place online orders.

5. Kmart

Kmart

Select items that are available for in-store Pickup or curbside Pickup if you use an in-vehicle pickup.

The COVID-19 Impact on this

Kmart stores are offering online ordering, curbside, or in-store pickup options.

6. Kohl’s

Kohl’s

Done shopping? Click the “FREE STORE PICKUP” tab and wait for the notification. Your order is ready for free pickup at your local Kohl’s!

The COVID-19 Impact on this

Kohl’s stores are now open with enhanced safety measures. Shop online and get free shipping on orders over $50 or opt for in-store pickup or “get it delivered to your trunk,” curbside.

7. Lowe’s

Lowe’s

Choose “store pickup” on Lowes.com or the mobile app. You will get an email notification once your order is ready. Plus, they hold your orders for up to 4 days.

The COVID-19 Impact on this

Lowe’s stores are open with in-store pickup and a more robust curbside pickup process nationwide. You can still order online.

8. Macy’s

Macy’s

Macy’s offer free in-store pickup on most items in just two hours. But make sure you place an order before 6 p.m. local time.

The COVID-19 Impact on this

Macy’s stores are reopening with strict safety guidelines with limited store locations offering contactless Curbside Pickup. You can still place an online order.

9. Nordstrom

Nordstrom

Nordstrom is famous for its customer service.

The COVID-19 Impact on this

Nordstrom stores have reopened. You can shop online and also take advantage of the contactless curbside Pickup.

10. Walmart

Walmart

The retail giant offers many items that can be picked up same-day or shipped for free.

If you do not have a Walmart nearby, do not worry, you can get your order delivered to a nearby FedEx Office location.

The COVID-19 Impact on this

Walmart stores are open and offering free in-store and Curbside Pickup.

What Rapidops does and how it helps retailers for the same?

Rapidops has gained immense experience with its time in the industry. We have helped businesses from various verticals develop cutting-edge digital products to enhance their revenue cycle. Our retail sector expertise has enabled us to curate highly effective solutions that help retailers grow their business and achieve success.

The Curbside Pick-up solution has two essential factors. 

  • Customer experience
  • Employee experience

The trend is catching up, and the solution is gaining momentum in the retail sector. You need someone like Rapidops as your digital solutions partner to help you

  • improve the efficiency & scalability of curbside pickup
  • optimize Curbside Pickup, click & collect and drive through experiences

Curbside pickup creates a better customer experience and builds stronger customer relationships.

The criteria for implementing a successful curbside pickup solution

Let us get some details on how retail businesses can gain better customer traction and keep the revenue flow stable using curbside pickup.

Provide a frictionless customer experience

Provide a frictionless customer experience

For retailers, it is crucial to offer a frictionless shopping experience to its customer base. With the pandemic and the online presence of many brick and mortar retailers, the competition has grown beyond imagination. Here are the key characteristics required for providing an excellent pickup experience.

  • Give your customers an option to choose between in-store and curbside pickup
  • Minimize the wait times as they would require getting home early in this new-normal 
  • Make the pickup experience hassle-free
  • Make sure there is no human error of mixed-up items or missing items as it will irk the customers

Streamline the store operations

Streamline the store operations

The significant factors that need to be kept in mind while designing the curbside pickup service for a streamlined store operation are

  • Smartly manage the in-store capacity
  • Inform the stores about upcoming traffic
  • Make the best use of your associate’s time
  • Learn from the new customer journey

The curbside solution enables retailers to satisfy their customers quickly. It is done by creating a frictionless customer experience that enhances their brand loyalty & ensures your customers’ and employees’ safety through social distancing.

Recommended Reading: How is machine learning used in retail?

Conclusion: Bring Car-Loading and Contactless Pickup Options to the retail mix

Curbside pickup has come in as a boon and has kept many businesses open and serving their consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The world, slowly transitioning out of quarantine, health concerns, and safety measures are on the rise too.

If done right, the curbside pickup service model is an efficient, cost-effective, and safe experience for both the customer and the business. Retailers and even restaurants have proven that this service model is easily implementable.

Besides, the pandemic has made the importance of “being-digital” clearer in the retail business. Even the customers prefer to shop online and get them delivered at their doorstep.

Curbside Pickup services are easy & convenient and are a great way to ensure business continuity. 

Liked what you read above? Then let’s have a chat!

With 200+ products launched, Rapidops specializes in building digital innovations that help our clients create better opportunities, accelerate growth, and reduce cost. We have developed scalable and re-usable “digital assets” for the customers using the most advanced technology, design, and analytics.

Author

Saptarshi Das

I am a content writer and a geek in the digital marketing sense of it, who likes to read and write about revolution, expertise and startups.