How to Build and Scale a Successful Pickup Program
Jaron Waldman, Curbside
The double digit sales growth opportunity for retailers is Buy Online, Pick Up in Store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup. 66% of shoppers have used BOPIS in the last 6 months and 90% of retailers are expected to offer BOPIS by 2021. Retailers like Lowes are now seeing 60% of their online orders being picked up in stores and Target saw a 10% increase in orders while testing of its curbside pick-up service. It’s probably clear by now that you need a pickup program, but how do you get started and what factors determine whether a program will be successful?
Any successful mobile order ahead program starts with the right technology. Companies need the right tools to consistently deliver exceptional pickup experiences that provide convenience and expected time savings for the mobile customers. Your mobile order ahead technology should integrate easily into your existing mobile app, provide an interface that simplifies fulfillment and handoff for store personnel serving order ahead customers, and provide accurate and reliable arrival alerts so you can deliver 5-star customer experiences, every time.
In the past, businesses have only had available low-accuracy technologies like cameras, geofences and beacons. Unreliable technology meant that processes required that customers checkin, designate a specific pickup time, and/or reach out to the crew by phone if anything changed. At low volumes, those approaches were adequate, even though many customers don’t follow directions. Regardless when order volumes exceed 100 per week, standards and reliability become important and exceptions need to be minimized.
Curbside’s arrival prediction technology, ARRIVE, opens up new possibilities for taking the friction out of real-world customer experiences by reducing customer wait time, increasing overall throughput, improving employee productivity, and enabling simple communications from customers to crew. In fact, it is now possible to greet customers by name with their order ready just as they arrive, making a one-minute pickup an attainable goal. It allows the crew to know where a customer is and can provide a work queue of “next served” like an old butcher shop, without the customer needing to check in or pull a number.
Your order ahead technology can only be as effective as the store associates using it. Unfortunately, many retailers fail to invest in training employees in new tech. According to a Training Industry Report by Training Magazine, 68% of retailers are not increasing their training budgets. By failing to invest in training, companies are unable to utilize the full potential of their tech investment. They will often see negative results from their pickup program, but may not associate the failure of their program to the insufficient training of their staff.
It is critical to the success of your program that staff are not only equipped with the right technology but also fully trained and empowered to maximize the ROI on your technology investments. Technology is a tool that is meant to simplify processes for both the customer and store associates. By investing in the right technology and training associates on how to use it effectively, you can remove friction from the entire pickup experience, from fulfillment through handoff. Even though pickup programs can often introduce expanded responsibilities for associates, the proper tech and training will allow associates to take on this added responsibility through more streamlined order fulfillment.
Our ARRIVE web console makes it easy to get staff up to speed quickly on your pickup program as it was designed specifically for less experienced associates serving order ahead customers. It can be accessed from any existing store device for instant visibility into pickup order status, arrival ETAs, and customer wait time.
After investing in an order ahead technology and training store personnel to execute flawless pickups consistently, businesses need to ensure they have the right data to optimize and scale their pickup program. Partnering with a solution provider that offers advanced data and analytics will help you to understand key performance metrics like customer wait time, dwell time, and customer satisfaction. These metrics help refine a program that has just launched and spot training needs as crews change and the program matures.
One of the most important metrics to keep an eye on is customer wait time. The amount of time a customer waits is directly correlated to their likelihood to make a repeat purchase. The benchmark that retailers should strive for is 2 minutes or less. Customer that wait less than 2 minutes are 2x more likely to make a repeat purchase. Wait time can sometimes be difficult for retailers to capture, since it requires staff to close out pickup orders immediately after handoff. In these cases, dwell time can be a good surrogate for wait time. Dwell time is the time period that your customer is at your location from wheels/feet on premises to wheels/feet off premises. This metric can be especially useful as it can be measured solely with location technology, like Curbside’s ARRIVE technology, and does not require changes in processes and systems.
If you’ve just started building your mobile order ahead program, or if you’re not seeing the results you’d like from your current program, contact us to discuss how Curbside can help you build and scale your order ahead program. Poor technology, lack of training and inattention to key metrics might be sabotaging your offering holding back repeat sales and referrals
About the Author
Jaron Waldman, CEO of Curbside
- Curbside helps retailers build and scale their mobile ordering programs with cutting edge mobile technology. Created by former Apple experts in location technology, Curbside provides premium arrival prediction tools to leading retailers like as HEB, CVS, Sephora, and Nordstrom. Our lightweight set of software tools integrate seamlessly into your mobile app to give your operators 98% accuracy, while using less than 1% of the consumer's battery. ARRIVE is already in use on millions of phones and driving pickups in thousands of locations every day. Try it for free today.