It will come as no surprise that consumers today demand effortless and expedited service!
Online retailers like Amazon have made shopping easier (24-hours a day, purchasing from the comfort of our home, with no lines at checkout) but they make customers wait for delivery (typically relying on UPS).
By contrast, brick-and-mortar businesses have products available for immediate purchase but often aggravate customers with slow or inefficient processes for completing transactions (e.g. lines at the cash register or slow point-of-sale systems).
Leaders at physical and virtual stores do have one thing in common. They all seek to leverage their respective competitive advantages while also enhancing customer ease and speed of purchase/product delivery.
From a virtual perspective, brands like Amazon are constantly innovating. For example, earlier this year Amazon began experimenting with ways to provide “on demand” delivery services. According to Reuters, Amazon, “is quietly inviting drivers…to handle its standard packages, as the online retailer…looks to speed up delivery times and tamp down its growing multi-billion dollar logistics bill.”
The move is the latest sign that the world’s biggest eCommerce company wants to control more of its own deliveries. Media reports have said the company plans to lease its own fleet of jets and CEO Jeff Bezos eventually wants to use drones to get packages to customers.
By contrast, many businesses with actual storefronts are looking to expedite their sales process and improve shopping ease. According to Business Insider, CVS Pharmacy launched, “CVS Express”, a mobile ordering and pickup program, in partnership with tech startup Curbside. With CVS Express, customers can pick up products ordered using the CVS App from outside the stores about an hour after placing their orders. Thanks to Curbside’s arrival detection technology, customers never even have to leave their cars.
At Starbucks, speed of delivery has been enhanced by drive-thru lanes and “mobile order and pay” (where you can use your app to order and pay for your drink in advance so your beverage is waiting for you when you arrive). In addition, Starbucks leadership is currently conducting a trial deploying curbside delivery.
It is estimated that 10% of business at Starbucks’ busiest stores is already being done through mobile ordering and payment and efforts like “curbside delivery” are being explored to make pre-purchase/expedited delivery even easier.
While the jury may not be in for Amazon’s “on demand” efforts or “curbside pick-up” at brands like CVS or Starbucks, one thing is clear – as long as you accurately deliver what the customer wants there is no way you can make that delivery too fast or too easy.
What are you doing to improve the speed and ease of the experience you are providing to your customers?