With Black Friday over and Holiday sales in full swing, you may think now is probably not the ideal time to focus on your Order for Pickup program for next year, but it is. According to the latest NPD Holiday Purchase Survey, 1 out of every 5 online purchases will be picked up in the store this year. This means mobile-first customers are offering you a gift, a chance to impress them so much during the holidays with your Order for Pickup or Click and Collect programs that they keep ordering again in 2020 and beyond.
Over the last 3 years, based on data from Rakuten Intelligence, Order for Pickup orders have spiked 50% in the holiday season over the previous quarter. The interesting part is that there is not the same level of order drop off in Q1, meaning customers are coming back to the places where they had a great brand experience during the holidays. The goal is to minimize or even eliminate this drop-off. By doing so, you will see higher sales, increased profits and more loyal customers.
See the chart below. You need to seize this opportunity with Order for Pickup customers.
Customers love to save time
A study by PWC highlights that 73% of customers point to experience as a critical factor in their purchasing decision. As mobile-first customer expectations continue to evolve in this on-demand economy, the pickup experience is more important than ever, not only during the holidays but year-round. However, you need to differentiate by saving your customers time and offering a great brand experience.
Across tens of millions of orders captured by Rakuten Ready, the data very clearly shows that customers who wait less than 2 minutes to receive their order are 4x more likely to reorder in the future than customers who wait 10 minutes. So saving customers time during the holiday season increases the odds dramatically that they will return again to buy more.
To better understand the impact of real-time consumer experiences across Order for Pickup programs, we launched the inaugural Rakuten Ready 2019 Time Study. We sent secret shoppers to 25 top brands across QSR, Retail, and Grocery to capture who is winning with the Order for Pickup experience and who has room to improve.
The mobile-first customer demands a pickup experience that stretches beyond traditional infrastructure, processes, and capabilities. Our study identified 5 best practices that are critical to a successful Order for Pickup program.
1. Prioritize low customer wait times
Even among the highest-performing brands, customer wait times and experiences varied at different locations. Leverage data to focus on any issues. The lower the wait time, the better the customer perception of the experience.
2. Focus on logistics and infrastructure
Clear signage, dedicated parking and pickup areas will reduce wait times and positively impact the customer experience. By making customers feel comfortable about the process when they arrive, you eliminate the risk of frustrating or alienating them.
3. Optimize technology
Predictive arrival technology, like Rakuten Ready ARRIVE, can minimize wait times, optimize throughput and improve order quality by letting employees know exactly when customers will arrive so they prepare orders at the right time, every time.
4. Provide dedicated employee training
Training knowledgeable employees is critical to a superior customer experience so they are prepared to handle different online order scenarios. Customers are happy when orders go right but also forgiving when employees efficiently handle things when they go wrong.
5. Promote your program
Brands must ensure dedicated marketing campaigns that promote your program and drive usage. Without telling the world about your available pickup services, you run the risk of underperforming due to a lack of customer awareness.
Evolve faster than the competition
Only the brands that take this philosophy to heart all year-round will come out ahead with valuable mobile-first customers. To thrive in 2020, you must evolve the Order for Pickup brand experience at every step of the customer journey, especially during this holiday season. Don’t squander the gift of loyalty you will get this holiday season. Optimize your program so you can drive more revenue, bigger profits, and happier customers to your brand next year and into the future.