5 Cons of Current Curbside Solutions
As retail continues to mold itself to the new “normal” established by Covid-19, many retailers are finding themselves piecing together makeshift solutions to meet their customer’s needs. While this tactic may work in the short-term, customers have had their logistics expectations exceeded by powerhouses like Amazon, often leaving retailers struggling to close the gap.
While these hacked solutions satisfied customers in the short-term, issues from an expedited launch are starting to emerge. As curbside becomes increasingly normalized, customers have formed expectations of what this experience should look like in relation to the other channels they utilize. Based on feedback provided by both retailers and customers alike, we have summarized 5 cons of current curbside solutions.
#1: Limited Visibility
In a rush to get a service up and running, the backend user experience was likely overlooked. Current curbside programs often highlight a disconnect between customer and store, with both parties struggling to update one another on the current status of the order. As a result, customers end up continuously calling in to the associates who are scrambling to pick the order in a timely manner. The limited visibility of current curbside systems also leaves minimal room for improvement as there are no trackable metrics, such as wait times and overall customer satisfaction that curbside efficiency solutions include.
#2: Clogged Phone Lines
Due to the limited visibility mentioned above, customers are likely forced to call the store to let an associate know they have arrived. This leads to a poor customer experience when the store landline is inundated with calls, on top of adding frustration to the associate’s workload. When customers have to solely rely on calling the store as their means of communication, this takes away valuable time from the associate and prevents other customers from being able to call in. Newer systems rely on various channels such as SMS, email, and other apps to alert associates while keeping the phone lines free.
#3: Staffing Allocation
Given the uncertainty of retail closures, store volumes have greatly fluctuated from their typical states. It is difficult to estimate how many staff are needed at any given time, often leaving both customers and associates frustrated with a poor experience. Current curbside programs often overlook this important factor and overschedule curbside pickups during high volume in-store times. This leads to stores being short staffed to handle both curbside deliveries and in-store sales, often frustrating all parties involved in the process.
#4: Employee Frustration
As employees take the brunt of the pressure associated with poor staffing allocation, it is only natural for them to feel frustrated as a result. Running back and forth to fulfill the expanding duties of their job, like curbside and BOPIS, associates are unable to meet expectations of delighting customers. Current systems often leave employees jumping from one task to another, frequently missing tasks and key milestones in the customer journey along the way. By having a clear understanding of the timing of orders and when customers have arrived thanks to new curbside systems, employees are able to feel more autonomy in their work and prioritize tasks to deliver a better experience.
#5: Limited Parking Spaces
With the overnight evolution of curbside systems, one of the biggest headaches arose from parking, or lack thereof. Being that many stores are not equipped with ample parking, limited slots for curbside have created a logistical nightmare for both customers and associates. With existing curbside systems lacking planning features such as client arrival alerts and virtual queuing, customers are left waiting in the parking lot for long periods of time, occupying the spaces needed by incoming customers.