Article

86% of Consumers Want Contactless Now

Rakuten Ready

Posted by: Rakuten Ready / April 23, 2020

We all instinctively know that safety is at the heart of everyone’s concerns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. But brands have been slow to meet the Contactless desires of their customers. We hope to help brands understand the current state of consumer desires, and what you can do immediately to address them.

Rakuten Ready did a nationwide consumer study last week and learned that 86% of consumers said cleanliness was VERY IMPORTANT in their decision to visit a business these days, with another 12% saying it was important. So, basically, it’s a priority for just about EVERYONE.

While consumers in our survey did not explicitly say they wanted Contactless Services (as this is a relatively new term), it is fair to assume that the majority of consumers would appreciate them.

So, What is Contactless?

Contactless is a method in which people can get goods and services they need, without increasing their exposure to COVID-19, by eliminating contact with any other person involved in the process. Here are a few popular use cases:

  • Contactless Pick Up: Online ordering, with In-Store or Curbside Pickup of food and goods, is table stakes for many today, in order to maintain business:
Restaurants 

Brands such as Chipotle and Little Caesars were ahead of the curve in offering Contactless Order Pickup. They provide open shelves and heating units, allowing customers to quickly grab their order and go. In-store pickup was already growing, but with COVID-19, Curbside Pickup, where the least amount of contact is required, is especially growing in popularity. Both forms of Contactless Fulfillment are now table stakes for restaurants, as more consumers begin to avoid delivery (aka additional hands touching your food), more and more.

Retail

Whether you are an essential retailer (grocery, pharmacy) or less essential, but still vital (i.e. wine retailers) or Staples, rules still apply – consumers want Contactless.

Staples is offering free delivery, curbside pickup, and implementing new protocols to ensure cleanliness and service that is as contactless, as possible.

Kroger is even testing a store that is closed to the general public and only offering Curbside Pickup

 

Two other Contactless Services are gaining important traction now:

  • Contactless Payments: with retailers and restaurants forced to close up stores and restaurant seating areas, many quickly defaulted to Order for Pickup/Delivery, but many forgot to consider payment. Merchants need to keep in mind that order handoff is only half of the equation, and offering Contactless Payments – Apple Pay, Google Pay, or at least Credit Cards only (as debit cards still require touching of keypads) – helps to round out your consideration of a concerned customer’s experience. 
  • Contactless Delivery: Good for Employees, Good for Customers. By imposing protocols such as online payment, PPE and Sanitizer use for doorstop drop-off, or standing 6+ feet back, contactless delivery (whether implemented by in-house deliveries or 3rd parties), is good for your employees as well as for your customers.

It’s Not Just About Contactless

At the heart of the desire for Contactless services, is the need to feel at ease that your brand is doing EVERYTHING it can to deliver goods in the cleanest and safest manner possible. Look at what consumers recently said about restaurants (Data as of March 27th, 2020): 

Almost 80% of respondents said they have avoided even takeout and delivery, amidst COVID-19 concerns – and 66% of them said that if restaurants proactively communicated safety precautions being taken, it would increase the likelihood of them ordering from restaurants again.

This tells us that there are additional steps to reassuring customers before we can consider how to drive business, at this otherwise uncertain time:

  1. Tell the world that you are open
    • It’s not just about being open – but what channels can your goods/services be received? Tell the world on your website, send texts/emails and be vocal on social media
    • Promote deals/incentives on all channels + platforms
  2. Communicate what safety precautions and protocols are being implemented
    • Again, your website, email and social channels are key to communicating effectively
    • Throughout your eCommerce experience, integrate relevant consumer messaging – particularly post-Checkout, to make it clear to customers how fulfillment will occur, step-by-step
  3. Implement Contactless Pickup, Delivery, and Payments
    • If you have a large volume business (i.e. grocers) and thousands of locations, this may not be something you can implement overnight. If this is you, consider taking the approach that Krogers has, and start by testing Order for Pickup Only in just one or a few locations first, then scale
    • Simple technology, that you can integrate quickly, will help you scale. Learn how Rakuten Ready can help your business at this time

According to our latest survey, over 82% of consumers have changed their buying habits as a result of COVID-19.  It is critical that your brand find the right balance between serving your customers needs and keeping your business alive.

Rakuten Ready Can Help

We have never seen so much change, so quickly. Order for Pickup is now top of mind at every restaurant brand we talk to as it is one of the only options available to keep their businesses running. To do this, brands must make the fulfillment experience as efficient and safe as possible for customers and employees.

If you’re looking for a partner who has experience with brands of all sizes, we can help. Our Rakuten Ready ARRIVE product predicts customer arrival times so employees can optimize order throughput and provide a better, safer (ideally Contactless) fulfillment experience.

Connect with us to better understand how ARRIVE can assist your brand through these troubling times.

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