Coronavirus has impacted several sectors and retail was one of the worst hit. From large grocery stores to small local stores, everyone has had to suffer and the impact was different for each. Retailers have had to work at unprecedented speeds to adapt to this challenge. And in just a few short weeks, retailers responded with new and innovative ways by adjusting inventory, reimagining store operations etc. to meet their customers’ needs.
With the worldwide lockdown, consumers opted to buy online and retailers started to see the shift in online sales or pickup in-store sales going up. Suddenly, ‘curbside pickup’ emerged as a breakthrough customer service star during this crisis.
What is Curbside Pickup?
Curbside pickup service is when retailers allow customers to place an online order for pickup in-store also known as – Buy Online, Pick-Up in Store (BOPIS). When the order is ready, the consumer waits in a designated area near the store, and a store associate brings the pickup order. Because of the convenience this provides for shoppers, this option has become an effective way for retailers to create or enhance their omnichannel retail strategy. Retailers providing this service have noted that many of their stores have seen an uptick in sales, especially given home delivery delays caused by the pandemic. It has not only become a great way to help customers feel safe when they shop but also for retailers to deliver their goods safely.
Why is Curbside Pickup So Popular?
When it comes to a new retail service trend, creating a seamless experience is crucial and success often depends on how convenient the service is for customers and curbside pickup is just that.
Below listed are some benefits that prove curbside pickup will be the next big thing-
Customers can get all the benefits of a retail store without having to enter the physical building. Grocery shopping can be done just in a few minutes, without compromising on safety. Curbside is the fastest and most convenient shopping options available.
2. Improved Brand Identity
Curbside allows for greater interaction with the customer than delivery and is more personal than a small drive-through window. There’s something about having a smiling person handing you a bag of your deliverables in just no time
3. Low-Cost Delivery
Curbside pickup has been indicated as a cheaper alternative to delivery. For customers, this is an alternative to paying for online delivery services and just directly picking it up by themselves. There might be an effort to driving to the store but it is always cheaper than delivery services.
4. Less-Contact Solutions
‘No-touch’ has been the new behavioral driver during this pandemic. As difficult as it has been, no contact has become our new normal. Ordering and paying through apps and websites have been a big part of making it easier when it comes to ordering grocery or meal from a restaurant.
You order and pay in advance, you stay in your car, it’s handed to you through the window or placed on the curb where you pick it up and there’s no delivery person touching things.
Also Read: Is AI and Predictive Analytics Transforming Retail Decision Making?
5. New and Improved Technology
There is already a solid base of technology to enable curbside services, including online ordering, tracking, map guidance and frictionless payment. With the growth and popularity of curbside, more technology solutions will be created.
For instance, Walmart is reportedly removing its in-store giant robotic towers for online order collection as they noticed a spike in the curbside pickup option.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, the company is reacting to a consumer shift toward curbside pickup and hence 300 of these towers had been removed so far and around 1,300 switched off as quoted by the CEO of Bell & Howell, a company that installs and maintains these machines.
Image Source www.inquirer.com
Interested in knowing how does it work? Watch the below video
With curbside pickup services, retailers can create stores in which customers can shop without actually entering in the store. And with social distancing still existing, curbside pickup is another opportunity to make customers feel catered to and cared for.
As we look forward, we see the retail Industry emerging from the COVID crisis and we see curbside being a key growth driver for the industry. Consumers and retailers both are embracing it and the reasons are clear.