Google has rolled out a new omni-channel feature that allows customers to pinpoint stores with contactless service options, such as curbside collection and buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS) services – or, as we in the UK like to call it, click and collect.
Keeping up with the latest omni-channel trends should be a top priority for any retailer, but even more so when the world’s largest search engine is highlighting which stores are offering services like curbside pickup.
These new features have been put into place after a tenfold increase of Google searches for options such as “curbside pickup” and “safe shopping” in the last few months as retailers seek to offer safer shopping experiences by relying on click and collect software.
Instead of waiting for items to be shipped or delivered, consumers using Google’s Shopping tab can search with the “nearby” filter to see what’s locally available – customers can also see hours of store operations and items left in stock.
Consumers who are still wary about going in-store will be shown which shops offer curbside or in-store pickup options.
Covid-19 has sparked a wave of interest in curbside collection and in-store pickup
During the Covid-19 lockdown period, where consumers were up against relentlessly long lines outside of supermarkets, banks and pharmacies, as well as delivery dates spanning weeks into the future instead of days, a number of leading retailers invested in expanding their in-store pickup and curbside collection offerings to make it easier, safer and quicker for customers to get their hands on much-needed items.
Now, months after shops have reopened, consumers have become accustomed to this new way of shopping. New research from GlobalData has found 68% of US shoppers are going to make more use of drive-up curbside collection facilities at stores in the future and almost 60% say they will make greater use of collect from inside store services. A similar pattern has emerged in the UK, with more than 40% of Britons saying once things are back to normal they will use curbside pickup for online orders more than they had before Covid-19.
Leading retailers across the globe invest in curbside collection
To meet this increased demand, and in the light of the realization that Covid-19 won’t be going away any time soon, many leading retailers are expanding their curbside collection offerings.
A survey commissioned by PayPal revealed that almost half (46%) of retailers are in the process of expanding their curbside pickup process, with front runners including Kohl’s, Best Buy, Walmart, Kmart, Target, Home Depot and Macy’s.
Leading UK retailers are also following suite, such as Marks and Spencer, John Lewis & Partners, Waitrose & Partners, Dunelm, Currys PC World and Pets At Home all offering the experience.
How curbside collection works
- Customers buy an item online and arrive at store to collect it
- They park in a designated collection only car park and scan a QR code on a nearby sign
- They submit their personal details such as their name and license plate number
- The customer receives a position number and an estimated wait time if there is a wait
- The retailer is informed that the customer has arrived and prepares their order
- A store associate brings the item directly to the customer’s car trunk.