Data Drivers

For Retailers, Building Curb(side) Appeal

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Consumers don’t like paying more for anything, unless it’s to get what they want, when they want it. Specifically how many of them do that is just one of three key data points that Curbside CEO Jaron Waldman and Karen Webster chatted about in this week’s Data Drivers.

 

In commerce, speed matters. In eCommerce, speed matters even more. Our always-on, always-connected, always-transacting culture can be stymied at the point of pickup if friction exists. In the latest installment of Data Drivers, Curbside CEO, Jaron Waldman, offered insight to PYMNTS’ Karen Webster as to why curbside pickup, with a focus on mobile, can streamline the continuum between shopping and pickup, often within an hour.

Data Point Number 1: 61 percent

This is the number of consumers, percentage-wise, who are willing to pay more for the ability to take advantage of same-day delivery/pickup. That’s an interesting data point, said Webster, as most people would be ostensibly drawn to this service in an effort to avoid shipping fees.

To explain that seeming incongruity, said Waldman, “that’s a compelling number, and it is close to something that we have seen, which is the importance of near-instant gratification for consumers when they are considering their online purchasing options.”

The executive went on to say that digital commerce is moving steadily toward mobile activity and that 20 percent of that buying activity is done on mobile devices. And mobile, he said, places a real premium on getting things done quickly and with little friction.

That’s one of the key advantages of pickup in-store and curbside choices, said Waldman, speed — as “you can get [items] right away.” The preference for this time-focused model is especially apparent across groceries, said Waldman, who noted that those firms charge between $3 and $8 for the convenience of the pickup service in-store as consumers shave time off the shopping experience.

Data Point Number 2: 57 percent

Webster noted that, in the context of curbside or in-store pickup, this is the percentage of consumers who have engaged in the behavior of buying online and picking up in person. But, the CEO added, “many buy-online-pick-up-in-store experiences have been difficult” as there may be friction in checking out for consumers once they are at the brick-and-mortar destination. Knowing what to do upon arrival at the store may be confusing, and Waldman stated that there frequently is a counter combined with customer service that exists at the point of contact, with a lot of back and forth on getting the goods into consumers’ arms.

“It’s not obvious where you should go,” said Waldman, in a retail environment that, in its tangible form, may be noisy (and may even have “digital noise,” too). The seamless experience, he said, for curbside or in-store pickup transactions have a level of attention to detail surrounding the consumer’s journey, without segmentation between the online and offline processes.

He noted that curbside pickup is less staffing-intensive and easier to organize than an in-store pickup model, as there need not be staff sitting in a store at the counter waiting. That’s a feature that makes sense, said Waldman, only for bigger-box retailers. With the Curbside model (that’s the company), he told Webster, staff can be inside completing other tasks. The retailer is notified when the customer is close to the store and again when they pull up outside so the customer can be met with the order and then be on their way.

Curbside pickup activity is also marked, said Waldman, by increased frequency of visits and a boost in ticket size (or spend) by consumers to the tune of as much as 25 percent. Waldman also noted that opportunities exist for retailers and brands to capitalize on the window of time that exists between when an order is placed and when it is picked up.

Consider the scenario where a consumer places an order before going to bed via mobile phone, for the following day, to be picked up after work. That, said Waldman, leaves time to give the customer other offers and promotions as they have “declared a very strong intent to come to the store the next day.”

“What we’ve done is tried to treat curbside as an open valve, if you will, to keep adding items on.”

Data Point Number 3: 2 and 9

Checkout conversion, online or via mobile, is pretty poor, by anyone’s standards. But Waldman said that Curbside’s data shows that when Curbside pickup is offered as an option, the benchmark conversion rates on desktop increases by two and mobile by nine.

The key, said Waldman, lies in a streamlined checkout experience, helped by the speed of the curbside experience itself, where completion of transactions — from placing an order to actual pickup — cannot be matched by even the quickest of eCommerce services (such as Amazon Prime).

Suburbia, with its manicured lawns and ample parking lots, is a markedly enthusiastic market for Curbside. Which just goes to prove that time, spent online, at least, is the enemy of all.

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