Innovation

Curbside Pickup – A right option for local retailers

Saptarshi Das

The battle against Covid-19 will be ongoing into 2021 and perhaps beyond. The pandemic lockdown phase crippled economies and forced many businesses to close forever. The world economy is still recovering from the shockwave it received from Covid-19. Those businesses that will survive are forced to adopt technology at an even more rapid pace. Curbside pickup provides a customer experience that enables safety and convenience to shoppers and helps businesses accelerate even in the face of economic change. 

Curbside pickup saw a 208% surge during the pandemic, and it can be carried into the post-Covid-19 world too. The curbside pickup market is not a new thing. It has been a growing trend even before the pandemic.

The global forecast in February indicated close to a 40% growth rate for the curbside pickup option. New forecasts are suggesting a growth rate of 60% in 2020. These statistics are evidence that the curbside pickup retail method has amplified significantly and is building momentum. 

There is no doubt that the disruptions in logistics and shipping are a major factor in the increasing popularity of curbside pickup. The pandemic showcased to consumers how online shopping was less predictable with lost orders, order cancellations, delays in the shipment, and many other issues. 

Curbside pickup and delivery provide a better and improved shopping experience for the customers while improving their business confidence.

How will curbside pickup define retail in the post-Covid-19 world?

It is safe to say that consumers will not stop using curbside pickup options, even after the pandemic is gone. The reason for this statement is simple. It is safer, more hygienic, and curbside allows customers the convenience to select when they wish to receive their ordered products.

The online delivery options will prevail, yes, but curbside pickup is not going out of fashion anytime soon. Retailers must plan to offer the service permanently and integrate into their omnichannel customer experience strategy.

What does curbside pickup mean for retail?

When your business offers curbside pickup at your stores, mobile apps, and website, the customers feel safe that they will not have to leave their car or enter your store. You are assuring them that it will be a smooth contactless experience.

All they need to do is make their purchase online and drive up to your curb! Not having to leave their car is a key factor of convenience for many curbside enthusiasts. Target and Best Buy used to offer a similar service to their customers even before this pandemic. Back then, the reason was saving on shipping and packaging costs. Today, it is mostly about providing the desired service, keeping the pandemic at bay, and realizing that curbside is a necessary and popular component of a successful omnichannel technology platform.

Some various stores and businesses have been deemed essential services in their communities. This means safety of the community members is a necessary criterion for these stores to stay open.

Let’s now view curbside pickup from a business perspective.

As we mentioned earlier, there were disruptions in shipping and supply chains during the pandemic. This means that even the most tech-savvy businesses could not stock up effectively to meet surging customer demands. Some businesses became overstocked suddenly as the pandemic forces waned, leading to a glut of some SKUs for many retail and ecommerce outlets. With curbside pickup, you will slowly start moving out of the inventory. Which, in turn, will start bringing the revenue even if it decreased for the time being. Your employees will get a chance to earn and see the effort your business makes for a safer future, economically and health-wise.

To top it all, curbside pickup limits person-to-person contact. Many restaurants and fast-food chains have started contactless pickups via the drive-through window and even home delivery.

Digitization of curbside pickup

Curbside pickup has made it easier for customers to shop for their favorite products without the risk of catching the virus in an overly crowded store. Retailers can easily add curbside pickup into their omnichannel strategy. So how does the digitization of curbside benefit retail business owners?

For instance, you own both a brick-and-mortar and an ecommerce store; curbside will conveniently integrate into your “bricks and clicks” architecture. Curbside will also help retailers with brick-and-mortar stores who cannot allow shoppers inside the store, and curbside becomes their solely needed ecommerce component.

This is how curbside pickup digitization features will work smoothly for you:

  1. Add an order online
  2. Select the convenient delivery time slot
  3. Online payment options
  4. Order received notifications
  5. Customer drives up and parks at the chosen time (or enters a drive-thru area)
  6. Curbside pickup of the physical goods – seamless and contactless 
  7. Customer takes the product home, without stepping inside your establishment

What role does Rapidops play as your digital product development partner?

Rapidops has a significant presence in both the retail and ecommerce space. We have played the part of strategists and engineers in developing web and mobile apps, always keeping user satisfaction in mind.

We have immense experience executing proven scalable technology platforms and have partnered with various grocery and retail businesses. We have helped retail businesses reimagine the concept of shopping with our digital products’ help, enhancing their revenue generation permanently.

Our expertise in the retail and ecommerce sectors has enabled us to curate highly effective solutions that help retailers grow their business and achieve success, even in uncertain times.

Rapidops can help you setup a digitized curbside delivery system that allows you to innovate and provide better services to your customers constantly: 

  • Use AI route optimization
  • Allow customers to do rescheduling
  • Send out customer communication over email or text messages
  • Help customers track their product status in real-time 
  • Have a digitalized proof of delivery
  • Sort the data with reports and analytics
  • Create a delivery feedback channel

Rapid digitization of the retail sector in the pandemic

Digital in the retail sector has transformed various purchasing experiences. Customer can now:

  • Place orders from the comfort of their home
  • Purchase products that are unavailable in nearby stores
  • Access a much broader range of products
  • Research products, match prices among retailers, and bargain shop
  • Get detailed product information
  • Experience a more personalized shopping experience
  • Better connect with your brand daily

Retailers must understand that their digital ecosystem makes them available to their customers at the view of a screen, whether mobile, tablet or desktop. Retailers have to move towards more advanced methods to create deep relationships with their customer base and that can be done by providing more convenience to them and consistently better service (including new digital services).

In this graph, Forrester is enabling retailers to understand much needed digital transformations in the retail sector. 

Conclusion: Curbside pickup will define retail store operations

Curbside pickup is the next big thing in the retail industry and retailers must start preparing for it as the trend does not seem to settle anytime soon. 

It may seem that the curbside pickup segment in retail sprung up rapidly for many of our readers because of Covid-19. It might seem that way, but the major contributor towards its popularity is the self-fulfillment option.

Once they have placed their order, customers know that it will not get stuck anywhere and will not get delayed. They know instantly when and where they can get it.

The ease and convenience in shopping make curbside pickup popular amongst the early adopters and even the late bloomers, well, the majority of them. Some of them might even go back to the leisurely aisle browsing shopping post-pandemic.

The majority of the customers who have seen what a pandemic can do will enjoy this more streamlined and guaranteed way of getting their purchases.

As responsive retailers, if you make the browsing, buying, and collecting the customer’s journey smooth, you will earn a hefty market share and increase customer loyalty. It is important to notice that customers have product-specific preferences.

This is an important factor when deciding for curbside pickup for your retail or grocery brands. Every customer will have their unique preferences. If retailers offer flexibility and choice, a varied spectrum of shoppers will have a satisfying shopping experience.

If you are looking to make large strides in the curbside pickup segment and want a digital partner that can help you with this component and the entire omnichannel platform, then Rapidops is the right choice. Rapidops has experience deploying digital teams to launch and scale award-winning digital products and services. Inc. magazine has recognized Rapidops multiple times as an Inc. 5000 fastest growing company in America. 

If you enjoyed the details shared in this article and want to provide your customers with a convenient and satisfying shopping experience, let’s get in touch for further discussions.

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.