With the government’s new announcement that non-essential stores in England will close during the national Q4 lockdown, contactless curbside click and collect services will play a pivotal role in powering retailers’ online sales in the weeks ahead.
Curbside click and collect is still a relatively new concept here in the UK. Many retailers had marked the initiative on their future roadmaps but there was uncertainty around how the public would respond to the largely US-based idea, and none had been so bold as to make it widespread across their store portfolio.
The Coronavirus pandemic put an end to all this hesitancy, with big brands all rushing to roll out curbside click and collect initiatives in a matter of weeks.
And there’s a huge consumer demand for it. According to Qudini’s September survey of 2,000+ UK consumers, 69% of consumers said they would find curbside click and collect services useful – this goes up to 86% for GenZ consumers and 79% for Millennials.
How contactless curbside click and collect generally works
Generally speaking, this is how the curbside click and collect process normally works:
- A customer arrives at a retail store and parks in a designated click and collect car park.
- They check-in via their mobile phones by clicking on a link in their order confirmation email, scanning a QR code or texting a code via SMS.
- Store staff are alerted of the customer’s arrival and prepare the order.
- A store associate brings the order out to the customer at the car park, identifying them by their licence plate number or car description (part of the check-in process).
- Customers are asked to open their car boots beforehand, so that the experience is 100% contactless.
Here are four examples of contactless curbside click and collect done right:
1) Currys PC World
In future lessons on retail business strategy, perhaps Currys PC World will be known as the UK pioneers for curbside click and collect. To our knowledge, they were the very first major brand to roll out curbside click and collect services to their consumers, launching the service at a number of their stores towards the end of May while stores didn’t reopen until June 15.
The service is now available across their UK store portfolio and allows customers to easily check-in from their smartphones by texting an SMS code or scanning a QR code. The products are then brought out to customers waiting in their cars and placed securely in their car boots. (All this without coming into contact with the consumer.)
What we love: Customers have the option of collecting items on foot, which is particularly useful for stores in urban areas where customers are less likely to have cars.
Watch the demo below from Qudini’s CEO, Imogen Wethered:
Currys PC World creates a contactless collection service with Qudini
2) Brown Thomas
Luxury Ireland-based department store retailer, Brown Thomas, rolled out its curbside click and collect offering this week – and the service has already proved immensely popular.
The luxury sector is often hesitant when it comes to embracing click and collect services, perhaps because the demand for luxury shopping often comes down to the high-touch and high-end customer experience (or perhaps because it seems rather frivolous to have a £150k handbag delivered directly to your doorstep).
However, our new survey of 2,000+ UK consumers shows that luxury brands should be offering the service, too. The survey found that 89% of consumers with a household income between £150k to £300k per year want curbside click and collect – significantly higher than lower income households.
And Brown Thomas, which is home to brands including Chanel, Dior and Dolce & Gabbana, has taken the lead during the lockdown by embracing click and collect in stores and creating a curbside click and collect option.
Customers are now able to scan the QR code outside Brown Thomas stores to let them know they’re outside and the store teams will bring their order right to them.
What we love: Brown Thomas has taken omni-channel to the next level by enabling customers to book appointments with style and beauty experts both online and in-store, as well as book times to enter stores, and now, seamlessly collect online orders from the comfort and safety of their cars.
Home improvement retailer, Homebase, which is classed as an essential retailer and will continue to be open during the lockdown, has still been doing its part to reduce the amount of consumers inside its stores at once by rolling out click and collect across its store portfolio.
The retailer has recently made it available for customers to collect items from their cars or from outside the store.
What we love: Click and collect orders are typically made available within an hour of purchase, making it super easy for consumers to get their hands on items they want immediately without entering a store or waiting for delivery.
4) Pets At Home
Largescale UK pet supplies retailer, Pets At Home, uses Qudini’s Click and Collect Software to offer its customers a safe, efficient and engaging online order pickup experience.
Customers arriving at store to collect their online orders are able to check-in from their phones, informing store teams that they have arrived, who then locate and prepare their orders and bring it to them. Meanwhile the customer will receive SMS updates and an on-screen countdown while they wait.
The system offers customers a fast and convenient collection experience that encourages them to return more frequently.
What we love: Pets At Home actively promotes its curbside click and collect service to existing customer (as seen in the image below).