Consumers have turned to online ordering in bigger numbers than ever before since the COVID-19 crisis started, for both the convenience as well as its contactless experience that cuts down the time the customer needs to be in a store. From March through May alone, ‘Click and Collect’ order volume was up 202% and delivery was up 253%.
Rakuten Ready wanted to understand the impact of this shift in consumer behavior and the desire for a safer contactless shopping experience. Our new Playbook for Contactless Experiences takes a deep dive into the contactless experience with guidance and insights every business needs to not only understand but implement throughout the entire customer journey.
Not surprisingly, contactless protocols were ranked #1 by consumers, according to our playbook, as the most important factor in feeling safe while shopping in-store. In our playbook, we explore the impact of the contactless experience on the customer journey and highlight the three pillars that merchants must focus on:
Brands need a seamless digital experience starting with contactless ordering and payment along with personalized communications. Consistent and transparent communications to customers, whether it is about safety protocols, new hours, or offerings are critical to personalizing your digital comms as much as possible.
The contactless experience requires you to rethink order preparation to place the customer at the center of the process (vs prepping orders when your staff is ready) while keeping employees safe. When order preparation is timed perfectly, you will have time to stage orders and be prepared for a safer, contactless handoff.
Customers want minimal wait times with their orders when they arrive. They also want very clear contactless protocols like designated pickup parking spots or pick-up areas, social distancing and contactless handoff. Audit your handoff experience to ensure you optimize the safety and well-being of your customers and employees.
Consumer buying behavior has not only upended how merchants approach their business model but has also brought forward a more challenging environment for the future where a significant portion of consumers are likely to continue to want a contactless experience even after the current crisis subsides.
With a massive shift towards Order for Pickup (or ‘click and collect’), we believe that the majority of consumers who experienced the speed and convenience of the channel will repeat ordering for pickup, and many will not go back to their old in-store shopping habits anytime soon.
So what does this mean for merchants? The top insights from our latest playbook tell us the successful execution of a long-term contactless Order for Pickup strategy:
1. Enhances your brand reputation of one that prioritizes health and safety
2. Thereby increases customer satisfaction and loyalty
3. Enables you to be prepared the next time anything like this upends operations again
Our playbook also confirmed that, in the future, consumers are going to expect much more from technology in improving their overall experience with brands. Consumers are willing to adopt new or innovative technologies if it will lower risk and improve experience, specifically…
Now is the time to completely rethink your customer journey, to find opportunities to innovate and implement technologies that make purchases and fulfillment, easier and faster, for both customers and your store employees.
The brands that best recognize and react to the new landscape, with an evolving set of expectations and consumer behaviors, will be the ones to endure over the long-run.
At Rakuten Ready, as the leaders in predictive arrival technology, we focus on delivering a seamless, efficient, and safe contactless experience. Connect with us to understand how Rakuten Ready can assist your brand with planning and executing superior contactless Order for Pickup experiences.
Explore our Playbook for Creating Contactless Experiences
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