Curbside Pickup and Delivery Keep Growing

An overwhelming number of consumers prefer these services over in-store purchasing, study says
curbside pick up
Photograph: Shutterstock

WEST NEW YORK, N.J. — An overwhelming number of consumers continue to use digital ordering mechanisms during the coronavirus pandemic, further emphasizing the need for retailers to offer these features and position themselves for success.

About 80% of consumers expect to increase buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup use over the next six months, and 90% said they prefer home delivery compared to in-store visits, according to a new study by consumer insights firm Incisiv. Beyond that, 85% of consumers said they have significantly increased curbside pickup orders compared to pre-pandemic times, while 79% said contactless store pickup is very important to them.

Since April, convenience-store chains including Casey’s General Stores, Ankeny, Iowa; Cumberland Farms, Westborough, Mass.; QuickChek, Whitehouse Station, N.Y.; and Wawa, Wawa, Pa., among others, have launched curbside pickup in response to the pandemic.

“Shoppers view and value stores very differently today than they did pre COVID-19. More than ever before, it is all about safety, speed and convenience," said Gaurav Pant, chief insights officer for Incisiv. "And this change in behavior will impact high-touch retail categories such as apparel, luxury and specialty in unique ways. We recommend retailers make it easier to find store inventory online, simplify the in-store pick-up experience, and help their store associates build stronger relationships with customers digitally. As importantly, retailers must arm their store teams with tools to fulfill online orders more efficiently—and ultimately, profitably."

And there’s more. Although most (91%) of consumers said they miss shopping in stores, only 28% plan to increase in-store shopping in general during the next six months, according to the study. This negative outlook towards in-store shopping depends highly on consumer safety standards, Incisiv said.

Still, retailers should expect in-store shopping to increase once stores reopen, especially as the holiday season rolls around, Incisiv said.

“E-commerce fulfillment, including home delivery and in-store fulfillment, will be crucial for the 2020 holiday shopping season,” said Kevin Swanwick, vice president of store solutions for Manhattan Associates, the supply-chain solutions company that commissioned the study. “Shopper demand for an optimized purchase journey has only increased with the pandemic. Retailers who have applied learnings from the past several months and made the right technology adjustments will be better positioned to manage the expected demand for e-commerce fulfilment. Once customers feel safe, converting those returns into sale-exchanges in a frictionless way will be critical for maintaining revenue in stores that are open for socially distanced selling.”

Incisiv’s study was conducted between July 29 and Aug. 6, 2020. The company surveyed more than 2,500 U.S. consumers who plan to purchase items in-store or through curbside pickup during the next six months.

West New York, N.J.-based Incisiv helps retailers and brands navigate digital disruption in their industry. The company offers consumer industry executives responsible for digital transformation a trusted platform to share and learn in a noncompetitive setting, and the tools necessary to improve digital maturity, impact and profitability.

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