More and more brands know that the primary way they can compete in today’s overcrowded retail environment is by making customers’ lives easier. And, increasingly, in today’s hectic world, that means giving them time back in their day.
As the busy holiday season approaches, brands are also using every tool available to make themselves indispensable to their customers with an easier, more streamlined shopping experience. And they’re finding that same day pickup model offers clear benefits for time-starved shoppers who want an alternative to delivery.
But just as retailers can hit a homerun with a well-executed same day pickup strategy, they can also strike out. Fortunately, Rakuten Ready has extensive experience helping brands implement same day pickup, and through its extensive research, has discovered best practices that are critical to success.
Recent adopter True Value is one brand that has “nailed” it, so to speak, while other retailers are finding some aspects of execution a little trickier. In both cases there are valuable lessons to share with brands grappling with implementing a successful order-ahead and pickup option.
True Value—Finding Success Through Localized Information
When you’re in the middle of a home improvement project and need that one product to finish it up, you want to know it’s available. And that’s why same day pickup is proving to be such a benefit to True Value’s customers in a new pilot program, says Dave Elliott, senior vice president of marketing for True Value Company.
The brand’s research shows that while home improvement shoppers typically begin their path to purchase online, they most often make their purchase in-store. “Showing what’s in stock at the neighborhood store is very helpful to those who are planning weekend projects, as well as those who have an immediate need—like a leaky faucet that needs to be fixed right away,” Elliott says. “It all comes down to giving the customer visibility to what’s in-store today.”
But the real test of success happens when the customer arrives. “Store associates need to be knowledgeable and confident when handling online purchases, so defining a clear and easy-to-use process is key,” he explains, noting this is no small task since all 4,600 True Value stores are independently owned and operated. “We conduct extensive customer service training to ensure that the store team is trained, connected, staffed and ready.”
While creating workable execution can be a challenge, the payoff has been worth it, Elliott says. They’ve found average order value using the same day pickup method to be significantly higher than the typical in-store purchase, and initial survey results show a high degree of satisfaction from these shoppers.
“We continue to see the online influence of home improvement purchases—both in-store and online—grow each year,” he said. “Enabling our local stores to show what’s in stock as well as their local prices will keep them relevant and competitive in the growing omnichannel world.”
Some Retailers Still Working Through The Logistics
Other brands have also identified the importance of meeting customers exactly where they are, which has led to a robust blending of omnichannel sales. And while the same day pickup model has proven desirable for busy shoppers, recent feedback has identified that many retailers are still struggling to achieve smooth implementation.
The study found that logistics is a critical area many retailers still needed to address. While the stores had a designated counter for retrieving online orders, it was challenging to locate from the entrance. And then, even when shoppers queued at the right area, they found it wasn’t exclusively staffed, which often led to aggravating waits until a team member acknowledged their presence. Shoppers also reported incidents when the order wasn’t ready, causing them to wait while an associate collected the items, and even worse, on occasion, the item wasn’t available in the store at all – which meant a wasted trip.
The takeaway? “Your Order for Pickup experience has to be ready when you introduce it,” says Rakuten Ready Co-Founder and CEO, Jaron Waldman, noting that shoppers will notice everything from parking and signage to service and timing. “If you don’t start by building the experience around the customer, their expectations will not be met and that will negatively impact your program.”
Creating a Customer-First Experience
As evidenced by True Value’s experience, it’s not just tech-heavy brands using this future-proofing strategy. Embracing the promise of Order for Pickup can enhance customer loyalty and boost sales.
Are you a brand wondering how your Order for Pickup experience compares to others? Rakuten Ready’s Benchmark Time Study for 2019, coming this fall, illuminates best practices and areas for improvement among many top retailers. The insights can help any brand improve its process, specifically customer wait time, to reap the benefits of Order for Pickup. Learn more about Rakuten Ready today.