More and more brands are turning to contactless fulfillment to improve speed to customers during the final purchasing journey. Contactless fulfillment, or curbside pickup, is becoming a preferred, long-term method of shopping for customers, putting more demand on retailers to limit the number of people who physically touch products and provide new pick-up options.
Contactless fulfillment allows for limited person-to-person contact, while still getting products into the hands of customers during store closures. It offers speed, agility and engagement throughout the journey. With fulfillment, customers can place orders online or by calling the store and have a notification sent to them when their order is ready for pickup or has been shipped to their homes. With a positive online experience comes an increase in customer loyalty and a greater chance of driving customers back to the store. There are also other benefits such as improving performance, maximizing productivity, increasing profitability and elevating brand loyalty.
With expanded contactless fulfillment options, retailers can make the shopping experience more enjoyable for customers. Here are some ways retailers can strengthen the customer experience with contactless fulfillment:
Reduce the amount of physical contact in the purchasing process
Contactless shopping demand is at its height right now. Retailers should offer a full contactless experience as much as possible, reducing the amount of physical touch the product has before it reaches the door or hands of the customer. Brands should offer a variety of pickup and delivery preferences for customers to choose from at the start of the purchasing journey such as Curbside Pickup, Buy Online Pick-Up in Store, Ship from Store, and Delivery.
Retailers can also add contactless pre-payment options so that customers can spend less time in store or can access their items curbside. For those that require ID verification for product pickup, stores can offer QR or barcodes to easily scan and verify receivers. As well, it’s important to provide clearly marked parking designations near the store entrance for easy and convenient Curbside Pickup.
Showcase flexibility in operations with contact-free delivery options
One thing is for certain, customer demands are constantly changing and in order to adapt to the unexpected shifts, retailers need to anticipate and offer delivery options that are well-suited for their customers. Many customers are already expecting faster delivery when ordering online. Retailers can meet their needs by turning their stores into mini distribution centers. They can also offer Ship from Store capabilities to deliver from store locations that are closer to the customer. Store associates, with the help of an in-store application, can use stock from the store and fulfill orders faster with shorter delivery lead times.
Increase contactless loyalty with a convenient and personal touch
Stores can offer a similar in-store experience online during the contactless shopping journey. Bring in-store pickup to the forefront of online channels so that customers know that they can book an appointment or visit their local stores at any time for pickup. Also, retailers can add promotions to certain methods of pickup to encourage store visits and potentially convert online sales into store pickups. Another way to increase loyalty is having store associates communicate with customers throughout the journey through automatic messaging to help them view and track the order from start to finish. This creates greater transparency and builds trust.
Optimize in-store picking and coordination
Increase speed and efficiency by providing store associates with intuitive technology to effectively deliver a contactless experience. Through accessible and easy-to-use technology at their fingertips, associates gain control of the order and are able to manage and queue orders right from the start. Store associates can also easily map out optimized picking routes based on the store layouts and assign designated team members to help streamline the picking and packing process.
Contactless fulfillment offers brands the opportunity to deliver fast and seamless omnichannel experiences using the physical floor, while implementing health and safety protocols to keep customers and associates safe. Retailers can add to the customer experience through reduced physical contact services, clear and continued customer communication, and adding a personalized touch to the omnichannel experience. Although order fulfillment and contact-free delivery have grown this past year, customers will continue to demand simple and personal alternative delivery and pickup methods well into the future.
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