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Second to None

Top Best Practices for Grocery Curbside Pickup Services

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Found in:    engage | Grocery

Now that curbside pickup has become one of the top expectations for today’s grocery consumers, grocery retailers must stay on the pulse of their curbside experience to deliver the best curbside pickup service and set their brand apart. 

Competition in the grocery industry has always been fierce, and now that retailers are discovering new ways to offer customers grab-and-go meals and light grocery selections, there are more competitors than ever before. 

Convenience stores, general merchandise retailers, and even restaurants are now pulling your customers’ grocery dollars away from your basket sizes. So, what do customers want in a grocery store? Everything. Giving your customers all that they need with a seamless, safe, and timely curbside experience can help combat attrition if you prove to be their favorite one-stop shop for all their needs.

Here’s how you can keep grocery consumers coming back to your curb, every time.

Keep your focus on convenience 

Your grocery consumers will be expecting an intuitive, convenient online experience, as well as suggested purchase items to complement the ones they have already selected and even purchased before. Here are some tips for streamlining your online experience as a curbside pickup grocery store:

  • Ensure your brand’s ordering app retains each customer’s purchase history so they can easily re-purchase items they need on a regular basis.
  • Enable your app to suggest complementary items, which will enhance the experience for customers and boost basket size and customer attachment to your brand. This shows that your store cares about covering their every need and making them happy each time they shop with you, boosting long-term customer loyalty.
  • Link your rewards program to the online app, so customers can seamlessly apply rewards they’ve earned to new purchases. 

Keep your eye on the time 

Consumers who use online grocery services expect convenience throughout the entire experience, from online product selection to their bags being safely and carefully loaded to their car by a store associate once they arrive for pickup. 

As curbside pickup gains popularity across shopper demographics, stores will need flexible and responsive teams to handle increases in online orders. Inclement weather, major holidays, and seasonal factors will influence the volume of curbside orders. Store teams may need to accommodate more than double their standard volume on any given day. 

Grocery store brands should consider offering multiple channels for order pickup, similar to the way fast-casual restaurants have diversified pickup options. Consider utilizing secure coolers and dry goods lockers that allow the customer to access their order using a punch code sent to their phone via app or text. This will keep purchases cool and safe, while reducing the need for store associates to run orders to cars for consumers who wish to pick up and handle their purchases themselves.

We’ve seen a lot over the last 30 years, having worked closely with some of the most prominent grocery retailers in the world. We know what your consumers are looking for.

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Ensure customer preferences and order accuracy 

Another imperative best practice for curbside customer service: ensure order accuracy and respect the customer’s substitution preference. 

Customers can get very attached to specific brands or items, which makes it even more critical for their favorites to be accurately listed as in-stock or out-of-stock. Selecting their favorite items through the app and later finding out that one or more items weren’t in stock can quickly create a loyalty issue that takes time and effort to recover. Linking your point of sale (POS) system to your app to ensure stock levels are updated in real-time is critical to avoiding issues with unavailable items. 

Customers should also be able to select their substitution preference if their chosen item isn’t available. A choice between store brand, national brand, and any available brand helps customers feel in control when their desired item isn’t fulfilled. 

Curbside pickup quick wins

Keep these quick wins in mind when streamlining your customer’s online and curbside experience:

  • Link your POS system to the online ordering app to ensure stock levels are updated in real-time.
  • Text the customer proactively with order status, especially if there is any chance their order may be delayed. 
  • Apply a small reward to the customer’s account should a time delay of more than an hour past their pickup time be required.
  • Offer full item selection and real-time stock updates through the app.
  • Connect the customer to their order shortly after arrival to pickup.
  • Offer both store associate delivery to the car and self-service lockers/coolers accessed with a security code for order pickup. Customers should be able to select their preferences when completing their online order to maximize convenience and keep order pickups flowing seamlessly.
  • Reward customer loyalty by applying earned rewards to their future purchases.
  • Also, ask customers in the app if they’d prefer to automatically apply earned rewards to future purchases or save up to earn more significant rewards after spending milestones are achieved ($100, $500, $1000, etc.)

Read more: 3 Pitfalls to Avoid in Grocery Curbside Pickup Service 

Engage with your curbside customers

Second To None’s Engage solution gives your customers a quick and easy way to provide feedback on curbside successes and opportunities. A consistent listening post will ensure your brand stays ahead of the competition and retains maximum basket size, building your base of loyal customers steadily over time.

Learn More About Engage