Consumers have turned to ‘Click and Collect’ or Order for Pickup in bigger numbers than ever before since the COVID-19 crisis started, for both the convenience as well as its contactless experience that cuts down the time the customer needs to be in a store. Since the beginning of the pandemic through June 2020, Order for Pickup order volume has risen 202% with almost 30% of orders being driven by customers new to the channel (source: Rakuten Intelligence).
Rakuten Ready wanted to understand the impact of this shift in consumer behavior and the desire for a safer contactless shopping experience. Our new Playbook for Contactless Experiences takes a deep dive into the contactless experience with guidance and insights every retailer needs to not only understand but implement throughout the entire customer journey.
Not surprisingly, contactless protocols were ranked #1 by consumers, according to our playbook, as the most important factor in feeling safe while shopping. In our playbook, we explore the impact of the contactless experience on the customer journey and highlight the three pillars that brands must focus on:
The 3 Pillars to a Contactless Experience:
1. Digital first
Merchants need a seamless digital experience starting with contactless ordering and payment along with personalized communications. Consistent and transparent communication to customers, whether it is about safety protocols, new hours, or promotions are critical to personalizing your digital comms as much as possible.
2. Customer-centric order prep
The contactless experience requires you to rethink curbside order preparation to place the customer at the center of the process (vs prepping orders when your staff is ready) while keeping employees safe. When curbside order preparation is timed to customer arrival, you will have time to stage orders and be prepared for a safer, contactless handoff.
3. Contactless handoff
Customers want minimal wait times with their orders when they arrive. They also want very clear contactless protocols like designated pickup parking spots or pick-up areas, social distancing, and, a contactless handoff. Audit your curbside handoff experience to ensure you optimize the safety and well-being of your customers and employees while taking advantage of the space that is available.
Consumer behavior has changed for the long-term
Consumer buying behavior has not only upended how merchants approach their business model but has also brought forward a more challenging environment for the future where a significant portion of consumers are likely to continue to want a contactless curbside experience even after the current crisis subsides.
With a massive shift towards Order for Pickup, we believe that the majority of consumers who experienced the speed and convenience of curbside ordering will become loyal, and will not go back to their old in-store shopping habits anytime soon.
So what does this mean for retailers? The top insights from our latest playbook tell us the successful execution of a long-term contactless Order for Pickup strategy:
- Enhances your brand reputation of one that prioritizes health and safety
- Increases customer satisfaction and loyalty
- Enables you to be prepared the next time anything like this upends operations again
Now is the time to completely rethink your customer journey, to find opportunities to innovate and implement technologies that make online purchases and curbside fulfillment, easier and faster, for both customers and your store employees.
Here to help with your contactless strategy
The brands that best recognize and react to the new landscape, with an evolving set of expectations and consumer behaviors, will be the ones to endure over the long-run.
At Rakuten Ready, as the leaders in predictive arrival technology, we focus on delivering a seamless, efficient, and safe contactless experience for brands of all sizes including Nordstrom and PetSmart. Connect with us to understand how Rakuten Ready can assist your brand with planning and executing superior contactless Order for Pickup experiences.
Download our Playbook for Creating Contactless Experiences to learn more.