Curbside pickup explosion
Curbside pick-up has exploded in the last year. With traditional brick and mortar businesses not being allowed customers to enter their shops, they have had to adapt or die. The two options were to transform to an e-commerce business or offer curbside pick-up options and in some cases, both options were used.
Curbside pickup offered the opportunity for customers to still buy goods from their favorite stores. For the businesses, it helped keep the metaphorical doors open. However, quick adjustments had to be made to their services to accommodate the basic anatomy of curbside pickup. During this fast transition, a lot of efficiency and customer service was forgotten and some businesses suffered.
90 percent of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not they will do business with a company.Serviceskills.com
Curbside pickup is here to stay according to sailthru.com “when the pandemic subsides, 69% of consumers plan to use buying online, picking up in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup just as much.” So it’s time to think about evolving the customer service, and efficiency of curbside.
The anatomy of a curbside pickup experience
Taking a look at the basic process touchpoints of curbside pickup is a good start to finding areas of opportunity.
- Stores inventory visibility
- E-commerce site
- Curbside inventory availability online
- What is available
- Customer selects items to purchase online
- Customer pays through the site
- Store staff notified of the order and prepares it for pick up.
- Customer notified their order is ready for pick up.
- Or estimated pickup time suggested
- Customer arrives and notifies store via check-in
- Check-in via the app, call, or designated parking spot.
- The staff brings the order to the customers’ car to complete the order.
- Places order in the car or hands to the customer through the car window.
Looking closely at what gaps we might find in the curbside pickup process.
Your customer needs to know exactly where to go, especially if they are new or haven’t used your curbside service yet. So clear signage is very important. The fewer words and more arrows the better. Take a tip from your department of transportation signs, they say a lot with symbols and few words. You could even have a coded symbol system in your app showing a symbol to look out for during pick up and use the app or e-commerce site to explain it. This would remove any confusion as to what the sign means but allow for quick visual communication to the customer while driving.
Accuracy and timing
If your business is a cafe, having your food prepared and kept fresh as possible and timing it all with the customers’ arrival can be tricky. For example, online ordering apps like door dash will suggest to the customer that their order will be ready in 30 minutes.
What if the customer is only 10 away or 40 minutes away and they ordered a hot coffee? Unless you know exactly when they’ll arrive they could be waiting 20 minutes for a coffee or it could be cold by the time they arrive because it was made within the 30-minute window the app suggested.
Applications like FlyBuy and Glympse are trying to eliminate customer wait times by providing real-time location updates of the customers to the staff preparing the orders.
The 2-minute window
Regardless of the time to pick up suggested most customers do not like waiting more than 2 minutes in their car once they arrive. They are also more likely to become repeat customers if the order is received in less than 2 minutes.
That doesn’t necessarily mean get their order to them faster. What you should be asking is, how can I improve the customer experience and what opportunities can I create during that 2-minute window of time.
The opportunities are endless (This is not your typical drive-through)
Some ideas to take advantage of the 2-minute window are:
Have a curbside pickup staging area with those easy to forget items. Like napkins, plastic silverware, paper plates if someone wants to split a meal.
Upsell items that are easily overlooked or ignored when ordering on an app. For example, your store logo t-shirts, cups, and other gifts. Just make sure you have the capability to receive payment quickly, you don’t what to have to run back inside to process the payment.
You can further build on that by offering other nearby businesses to offer a few of their items at your staging area. This could really benefit a local business like a small boutique that doesn’t have the traffic a cafe or medium sized retailer has.
With the right type of location, your staging area could become a single pickup area for multiple orders. This would be an ideal opportunity for shared investment in a small business community.
Curbside is here to stay and is now as much a part of your business as the register. It’s time to elevate the pickup experience of curbside. I hope some of these ideas will help get you started thinking of ways to improve your own curbside experience.
If you would like to talk about your challenges toward improving your services please reach out and subscribe to get free workplace efficiency tips delivered weekly to your email inbox.