- As retailers prepare for the forthcoming holiday season, Office Depot and OfficeMax have launched a "20 Minute Pickup Promise," an in store and curbside pickup service and guarantee at stores nationwide, the retailer announced on Wednesday.
- Shoppers can order goods online or via mobile app, choose in store or curbside pickup at checkout at least one hour before a location's closing time and then obtain their orders in 20 minutes, per the announcement.
- If orders aren't ready within that period, the company said it will provide shoppers with a $20 coupon for their next qualifying purchase.
Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers had to streamline their curbside pickup and buy online, pick up in store operations in preparation for a holiday unlike any other in recent history. But it's unclear just how consumers will shop this holiday season.
A report from Berkeley Research Group indicated that almost 60% of survey respondents said they're "very or somewhat concerned" about the coronavirus pandemic halting their holiday plans. However, 58% of respondents to a survey for The NPD Group said they are fine with shopping in brick-and-mortar stores now that vaccines are available.
Looking ahead, port delays threaten to complicate retailers' ability to transport inventory from the ports to stores and consumers. This comes at a costly time for retailers who need to meet customers' high service expectations.
"We know our customers value convenience and friendly, helpful service, especially during the holiday season, which is a stressful time of the year for many," Kevin Moffitt, executive vice president and chief retail officer for Office Depot, said in a statement. "Whether purchasing items to prepare your small business for the holiday rush, upgrading a home office, or thanking a favorite teacher with a holiday gift, our store pickup program is an industry-leading promise to customers to get them what they need in 20 minutes or less."
But as the retailer introduces its pickup promise, the company is making changes at the corporate level. In May, the office supply retailer's parent company announced plans to separate its business-to-business operations from its retail unit. Meanwhile, ODP Corporation, which owns Office Depot and OfficeMax, was approached by the parent company of Staples to buy the consumer business for $1 billion.