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Retailers will shutter if they do not take proactive steps to open new revenue streams. This is not meant to be alarmist; it is the stark reality that COVID-19 has placed on traditional retailers that have trailed omnichannel frontrunners who are better equipped to weather the closure of retail stores. With physical retail shopping on ice and comfort levels with in-store browsing likely to take some time to thaw, stores should consider the value of alternative fulfillment channels like curbside pickup. Leveraging your physical location and existing personnel will give your retail operations the opportunity to endure the slowdown that COVID-19 has created.
Curbside pickup is a variation of BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In-Store), the core service of omnichannel retail. Together this capability is the main reason businesses buy retail order management systems. What follows are the top reasons why your operation would benefit from curbside pickup. Whether you call it click and collect, grab & go, trunk drop – this element of omnichannel retail is the key to success as we step forward.
1. Saves On Shipping Costs
Having customers pick up items on-location means you just saved on the shipping costs. That gives you more options. Lower shipping fees mean increased margins, the opportunity to run more promotions or deeper discounts. Maybe for a limited time, you encourage customers by offering them a limited time pickup discount or additional 10% off all additional items – over and above the pickup order.
2. Leverages In-Store Inventory
There is nothing better for a retailer than to use in-store inventory for order fulfillment. It increases the inventory velocity of your store stock. That means faster new inventory flow, less aged merchandise and reduces your carrying risk (merchandise damage, aging inventory that does not sell).
3. Increases Overall Sales
With even just a small percent of your online shoppers converting to curbside pickup shoppers, it means the sales for your chain will grow. In fact, retailers using click and collect or BOPIS showed an average growth of 23% in sales.
4. Makes Shopping Easier For Customers
A curbside pickup option let shoppers choose what they want, when they want it and how they get it. Make it easier than the next retailer and the advantage means your customers will keep coming back. If customers want to buy in-store, fantastic! If they want to buy online, ok. Then if they want to buy online, but get it NOW…that’s where your brand becomes the hero with your click and collect offering.
5. Strengthens Brand Image
Even though there is so much discussion about omnichannel retail, many, if not most retailers are still not there yet. That reality is setting in as COVID-19 reveals how well retailers are equipped to pivot to non-store buying journeys. Adopting omnichannel strategies means you will both differentiate and strengthen your brand image of being customer centric. Who wouldn’t want their brand to stand for giving the shopper what they want and giving it to them any way they want to purchase. Click and collect means your customers simply have more options. More flexibility than most other retailers means your brand wins.
6. Gives Customers More Flexibility
Flexibility is important to many shoppers. For example, many shoppers like online ease, yet live in apartments where deliveries can be a major hassle. Instead, offering customers on-location and curbside pickup gives them flexibility that could vastly improve their entire buyer’s journey. In a world with so many rules, policies and standards, showing some flexibility could be a loyalty-winning strategy.
7. Ensures You Are Not Left Behind
Let’s face it, omnichannel retail is gaining momentum. At the moment, it is still in the early stages of mass deployment, but this current retail disruption is accelerating adoption quickly. Whatever you do, you don’t want your retail brand to suffer for failure to adapt. That is a recipe for losing shoppers of every generation.
8. Boosts Customer Loyalty
The culmination of all customer experience elements build up to customer loyalty. Sure, you don’t hear about this anymore in retail. Shoppers are fickle. Yes, that is true. Yet, the retailers that provide a net benefit, show flexibility and offer a great shopping experience will be the winners. Make it an easy, flexible and positive experience with your brand. Offering curbside pickup isn’t going to do this all on its own, but it is a major step on the journey.
Editors note: This post was originally published here and has been updated for accuracy and relevancy