Have you tried curbside pickup lately? Did you find that your experience was sometimes good and or sometimes bad? In other words, inconsistent. Since the pandemic, the most competitive service model in the e-commerce space, has been the curbside pickup. Almost all businesses had to create and implement some sort of curbside pickup in order to survive.
Today, it still remains the dominant mode of click-and-collect service globally, as curbside pickup allows your customer, with a vehicle, to avoid stepping foot in your potentially crowded store or business altogether.
Although the curbside pickup model was already growing in popularity prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, the adoption and implementation of the service skyrocketed in 2020. Many of your customers found they enjoyed the convenience of the service you provided, and a large number of your customers and consumers in general, indicate they want to continue to utilize curbside pickup beyond the pandemic.
With that being said, you would think that retailers and restaurants of all types would do well to develop their curbside pickup experience into a “magical” one. Based on my personal experiences some businesses seem to have had more success in rolling out this service than others.
Here is what I believe your customers want in their pickup experience and perhaps how to improve the opportunity for future prospects and positive customer reviews.
Update inventory in real time
Nothing dampens enthusiasm for curbside pickup faster than when your customer orders a product online only to find it is out of stock when they arrive at the store to pick it up. Businesses must ensure that they update the available inventory on their websites and mobile apps in real time, so customers cannot place an order for an item that might be out of stock when they arrive.
Provide easy-to-follow instructions
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Although most of us have now used curbside pickup, many of your customers have yet to try the service. Additionally, some who have used curbside pickup at one business may not be familiar with the protocols and procedures in place at your business. It is vitally important that your business provide clear instructions on your websites and mobile apps outlining how to use curbside pickup at your business. I suggest that you expalin clearly to your customers on the phone or also send a personalized email or text the detailed instructions on how to use the service to first-time curbside pickup customers.
Keep the customer in mind when setting pickup locations
While it might be more convenient for your business to designate an area around the back of the store near the loading dock as a curbside pickup location, this might not be convenient for your customers. It also might risk making your customer feel as if they are not appreciated. Whenever possible, curbside pickup access points should be located in designated parking lot areas in front of the store, with signage clearly indicating where your customers are expected to wait. Due to space constraints, this may not be possible for some businesses to pull off, but if your business is located in suburban and rural areas you should make this a top priority.
By the way, if you have a designated area for pickup and you tell your customers to wait in that location, please make sure you follow through on your instructions. In other words, I have parked my car in the designated area, followed the rules to text the business when I arrive, waiting 15 minutes or more in my car and be dissappointed that no one shows up. Now I have to repark my car and go inside for my items. Certainly not a very good experience.
One more thing to add…Don’t forget about impulse purchases
Many of my clients, they tell me that one of the biggest drawbacks of having curbside pickup service, is that it eliminates impulse purchasing opportunities. As a result, I help them to come up with and include suggestions to their customers as to additional items to purchase while on the phone or on your website, Facebook pages or mobile app during the online checkout process.
A simple suggestion is to add a, “Did you forget any of these items?” page, referring to a customer’s prior purchase history or a product or food item that compliments their purchase such as suggesting a pair of socks to go with their purchase of a pair of shoes, or french fries to go wth the hamburger order.
If your business can follow some of these curbside pickup best practices you will find that they will have an important advantage over your competition. Now that would be Magical!
Need help? Schedule your FREE Strategy Session Call with John today by emailing him at info@johnformica.