Mobile Commerce

Buy Online/Drive Through? FlyBuy’s BOPUS Innovation

ECommerce is quickly adopting the maxim to sell everywhere and anywhere, and one app is ready to help brick-and-mortar retailers reach customers to make sure even the busiest get what they want.

GeekWire reported that FlyBuy, a Seattle-based startup founded in 2014 that specializes in helping restaurants and retailers offer curbside pickup services, expects at least 100 merchants to join by the end of the year. By processing orders and notifying retailers when customers are en route and at the curb, FlyBuy hopes to allow any physical retailer to open up their own drive-through-like experience.

Ric Merrifield, president of FlyBuy, told GeekWire that the seemingly small benefit of not forcing customers to get out of their own cars and pay for parking — an additional cost that retailers might not factor into their calculations — has had a huge impact.

“On the customer side, there are many personas we talk about who benefit from not having to park to get what you want,” Merrifield said.

Merrifield’s app is drawing upon shifting consumer opinions on where and how to engage with brick-and-mortar retailers in an increasingly eCommerce-driven world. An April 2015 Nielsen study found that more than 55 percent of global consumers are willing to use online ordering for products like groceries in the future, and 25 percent are already doing so now. Adding another layer onto this process by facilitating curbside pickups of products beyond just food could have a major effect on brick-and-mortar business as usual.

FlyBuy is only available in select neighborhoods in Seattle at the moment, though its potential to grow is self-evident in apps that have come before it. GeekWire noted that most merchants choose to use FlyBuy as a complimentary service to others like GrubHub and Eat24. This gives Merrifield and his company a waiting field of familiarized merchants — and potential partners.

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