Christmas is the perfect time to perfect 'the curb'

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With continued in-person restrictions, holiday shopping has become another challenge to navigate this year. The surge of online shopping is rapidly approaching its peak with Cyber Week behind us and the winter holidays just around the corner.

It is essential for retailers to take this time to revitalize their software processes to deliver a smooth and stable curbside pickup process with a plan that prioritizes customers and employees.

As businesses implement digital experiences left and right, their employees must remain an essential ingredient to a successful customer journey. When employees aren’t given proper training on new store technology, businesses will likely experience countless logistical nightmares.

To set customers and employees up for a successful holiday shopping experience, retailers should keep these three things in mind:

Take time to make sure all systems are go. New solutions that look flashy are not always conducive to a retailer’s long-term strategy. Quick wins may have been effective in March or April of 2020, but as digital traffic continues to increase, retailers need to ensure the digital transformation provided by the solution aligns with the core goals of the organization. When embarking on a new digital strategy, your business must be willing to pivot and change course when data or behaviors indicate something isn’t working.

With the holiday shopping season underway, retailers need to get their back-end systems up to snuff to avoid friction points along the customer journey. Elements like digital payment, identity verification and application programming interfaces (APIs) have become more important to the success of a digital solution over the last year. Giving customers all of the tools they need for a successful shopping experience up front will lead to better experiences and increased customer loyalty.

Train employees how to troubleshoot. The retail world has not gone completely digital just yet. Employees are still packing orders, running them out to cars, taking phone calls and helping customers troubleshoot digital issues. Retailers must provide all employees with in-depth training on their mobile app or online tool’s most common friction points and teach them how to troubleshoot.

Employees must also be aware of the time expectations set with the customer through the mobile app. If the mobile app promised the customer’s order to be ready in less than 10 minutes, associates need to move on the same timeline or have a way to make customers aware of any delays. Push notifications triggered by associates, real-time status updates and adding credits to a customer’s order are a few ways to continue elevating the customer experience when human error could be involved on the fulfillment side. Full app engagement from both the customer and employees will make the overall digital experience stronger.

Prioritize curbside to avoid logistical challenges. At this point, retailers should have enough data in place to predict curbside traffic trends based on past customer behavior. With the expectation that it will increase even more in the coming weeks, retailers need to refocus their business processes to prioritize curbside.

Setting aside extra parking spaces, adding more instructional prompts to a mobile app to make sure customers go to the right location and hiring additional staff to fulfill curbside orders will give customers a better shopping experience. Additionally, encourage customers to go curbside by providing personalized promotional offers or in-app prompts based on an individual customer’s prior behavior.

By taking the time to prioritize effective mobile solutions and proper employee training, retailers can set themselves apart from the competition with effective “Curbside Christmas” strategies. Moving into 2021, curbside will continue to be a significant element of the retail experience as customers grow to prefer the convenience. Getting a head start on streamlining operations now will set your company up for success in the next digital decade.

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E-Commerce Digital payments Mobile payments Payment processing Coronavirus Contactless payments