Davide PetramalaJune 04, 2020

How Smart Curbside Pickup Solutions Benefit Customer Loyalty

During and following the global pandemic, automation and self-service around curbside pickup for retailers is proving to be critical for customer success and loyalty!

The current global crisis has affected businesses everywhere around the world. No matter where you are or what industry you work in, you’re feeling the effects of social distancing and stay at home mandates. Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are feeling the pain as many have had to close outright or switch to delivery. Stores that are open or just re-opening are looking for new ways to protect their workers and customers while they provide the products and services customers want.

Retailers of all types are either launching or enhancing their curbside pickup services in the hope of driving customer engagement with their brand. Curbside pickup allows your customers to buy from you online, or by phone, and then drive to your location to get it, without having to leave their car. It provides the convenience and ease of on-line ordering without the wait for delivery. This is a win-win for the retailer who has an opportunity to satisfy their customer quickly, enhance their brand loyalty by providing an excellent curbside pickup experience, save the cost of delivery charges and for the customer who can experience the instant gratification of immediately obtaining their order.

Curbside pickup has become an increasingly more common way to shop that helps serve customers while helping both retail employees and shoppers remain safe through social distancing. The impact of this way of shopping will be with us for the foreseeable future as many customers will resist entering busy stores. The convenience of instant pickup of online orders will encourage customers to continue with curbside pickup service. Retailers will want to encourage this buying process because when done right it will drive customer loyalty and satisfaction while providing a more profitable alternative to at home delivery.

The key to success for most retailers implementing curbside pickup will be the customer experience! Stores that are overwhelmed with calls and orders are at high risk of generating a negative customer experience due to notification and pickup delays, resulting in frustrated shoppers. Busy tones and no answers are the death of the retail experience and will drive consumers away to the competition. For this reason alone, the implementation of a curbside pickup Virtual Assistant can tremendously alleviate issue and drive an amazing and intelligent customer experience. This means retailers can ensure themselves of success with their curbside services, especially as consumer buying behavior ramps up.

There is also the question of why curbside pickup is important to retailers moving forward into the long-term:

  • Avoid shipping or delivery charges – While delivery is great, customers no longer want to pay extra for it, especially considering how common free delivery is. Most third-party delivery services charge a fee or increase the price of the goods being ordered over the in-store price.
  • Get the order fulfilled sooner, and with higher predictability – Customers don’t want to wait for something that they just purchased. For busy millennials and young families, delivery is not completely predictable especially after COVID-19.  For example, for grocery delivery, customers don’t want to worry about being home during a 2-hour window. For restaurants, if the restaurant cannot perfectly time the food preparation with the arrival of the third-party delivery driver, the food is not fast, hot, or fresh.
  • Want to see the actual item – Customers will order online and pick up at the store at their convenience. This way they can also confirm that the items are they expected before bringing them home.
  • Convenient and Frictionless – With the growing expectation of immediate order fulfillment and receipt of goods, customers behavior is shifting to “just in time” service, at their convenience. Customers are pushing retailers to embrace the latest technology, in order to create a smooth and convenient ‘frictionless’ customer experience.

What are the key experiences retailers need to deliver successfully to have curbside pickup delight their customers?

Automate the customer experience

Once a customer has placed an order, don’t make them think. Allow them to go to the store at their leisure and not have to announce themselves when they are on their way, nearby, or at the store. This can all be automated so the customer does not have to lift a finger.

Have the order ready just-in-time

Store needs to synchronize the arrival of the customer with the timing of the order for pickup. When customers need to wait for their food or merchandise order, they are quickly unsatisfied and are often lost for good and even worse can be a huge resource strain.

Provide an accurate and real-time estimated time of customer arrival to staff

In order to accomplish the above two bullets, locate services and geo-fencing, can help alert the store of when the customer is on the way, nearby, or on the property. With this information, staff can prepare the order just-in-time for customer arrival ensuring the order is waiting for them when they pull up.

Know exactly where your customer is

For the best experience retailers need to quickly find the right person or car. Whether the customer has arrived in-store, in a designated pick-up zone, or even the entire parking lot, knowing the location and timing the arrival saves staff time and makes for a seamless curbside or in-store pickup experience

Avaya’s Cloud Virtual Assistant for Curbside pickup powered by Google Cloud CCAI can help retailers instantly add automation and self- service to any curbside pickup service. It is essential to think of how to schedule and organize ordering, and pickup logistics based on local inventory. The Avaya Cloud Virtual Agent can easily be overlaid on single or multiple store locations and can conduct intelligent conversations with customers about the process for pick up, hours of operations, status of order and even automate the arrival and pickup time. The Virtual Assistant can be the perfect starting point to an initial launch of curbside pickup as well as massive enhancement to an existing service.

Some of the key value Virtual Agent for curbside pickup include:

  • Flexible cloud can scale to answer overflow of calls: callers are always answered ensuring loyalty and no missed orders
  • SMS and outbound notification can ensure timely responses and interaction in the customers preferred method of communication, most often text messaging.
  • New callers can be easily switched to SMS interaction if they wish or be directed to the website for orders and general information.
  • Over the Top services that can be deployed in any environment, on top of any existing platform, to solve problem of unanswered calls
  • Consumption model so you only pay for what you need and when you need it
  • Multiexperience engagement   to drive a better customer experience
  • Scoped and deployed in days for instant consumption

A great customer experience will drive satisfaction and loyalty as it provides shoppers safety while delivering convenience and automation in a way that makes the buying process smooth and enjoyable.

Learn more about the Avaya Virtual agent for curbside pickup. To listen to a live demo experience, call into +1 844-871-3495/ +1 613-703-2186

How Smart Curbside Pickup Solutions Benefit Customer Loyalty

Davide Petramala

Davide is an accomplished business development leader offering over 20 years
of experience evangelizing and promoting disruptive technology around communications and collaboration. He is driven to evangelize how mobile and cloud technology will disrupt and change the way businesses operate and collaborate.

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