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How to enable a seamless curbside pickup experience with SMS

By September 4, 2020

Even before we got accustomed to the new normal, retailers were already adopting a blend of digital and physical engagement strategies for their enthusiastic customers. Retail innovations like omnichannel customer experience, order pick-up delivery services, and same-day delivery have grown exponentially.

 

Read more: Omnichannel Customer Experience Makes All the Difference

 

Last year, by leveraging same-day pickup, and multiple other delivery options, Target doubled its sales from the previous year. These options are bound to offer convenience, reliability, and speed to the customers and are financially fulfilling for the retailers.

In the last couple of months, retailers have faced drastic, accelerated momentum in terms of offering convenient shopping experiences for customers. While being mindful of the current prevalent safety SOPs, retailers have to innovate in their delivery methods. According to a survey by Medallia Zingle, 87% of 1000 American consumers say businesses should continue to offer options like a curbside pickup, which limits the need for in-person visits.

Rising to the challenges: Curbside Commerce

To prevent their businesses from getting obsolete, many retailers have relied on curbside commerce. Multiple big-box stores and small businesses are allowing customers to shop online and then drive to the designated locations to pick their orders. According to the research by Adobe Analytics, for April 2020 in the US, the number of online orders and curbside pickups has increased 208% when compared to the last year’s numbers.

Curbside delivery is a wise choice as it prevents retailers from disruptions in logistics, order cancellation, shipping delays, and other issues. Moreover, this model is appreciated by customers because it is more convenient and safer.

However, it is challenging to offer precise communication of orders’ statuses along with speedy delivery and accurate delivery without a communication-centric and efficient curbside pickup solution.

Other than offering prompt order updates, retailers find it challenging to:

  • Integrate this process with their already existing eCommerce platform and order management system (OMS)
  • Contactless, seamless communication between staff/sales associates and customers
  • Answer queries and manage complaints
  • Track the order status

So, what is the solution?

Need of the hour: An SMS-centric curbside pickup experience

An ideal curbside pickup solution should integrate well with the retailer’s ERP platform, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce, and offer near real-time communication throughout the journey – from order placement to curbside pickup.

 

Read more: Omnichannel capabilities of Dynamics 365 Commerce

 

In this hyper-connected ecosystem, customers want retailers to connect with them across all channels, from constant updates on order status to customer support they want everything just a tap away. According to research conducted by Bandwidth, with 90-second response time, 36% click-through rate, and a 98% open-rate, short message service (SMS) gets attention and engagement like no other communication channel.

Considering these staggering stats, you can use SMS as a secret weapon to complete curbside pickup experience and keep your business afloat. SMS enables instant notifications to customers with order status alerts as well as a “Thank you for shopping with us” message on their phones.

Introducing Visionet’s SMS-centric curbside pickup solution

To quickly enable curbside delivery for retailers who are struggling to adapt to the new normal, Visionet offers CurbsideConnect for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce customers. With powerful integration with Twilio, this solution will help establish a consistent, seamless line of communication between sales associates, let us say, at an apparel store and a customer, waiting for the peplum dress she ordered.

From order placement to curbside pick, the goal is to provide seamless, precise, and near real-time two-way communication between sales associates and potential customers. Your customer can easily place an order on your online store, which is integrated by Dynamics 365, choose the curbside option, and enter required information such as name, delivery address, etc.

An “Order received” message will pop on your customer’s phone screen in near real time. At the same time, your sales associates can see the order in their Dynamics 365 integrated POS system. The potential sales associate will pick up the line order, and the customer will receive an SMS saying that a certain Mr. John is handling you order.

Once your customer gives you the green light by confirming order via SMS, your sales associate will start packing. In case you run out of peplum dresses, an ideal communication-centric curbside pickup solution enables you to send an “Out of stock” message or a customized apology to the customer. As this solution is well integrated with Dynamics 365, sales associates can keep a record of conversations between them and customers. It allows them to gather insights from customer behavior and personalize their next campaigns accordingly.

Retailers are allowed to customize messages for each order stage. Once the order is ready, the customer goes to the designated pickup place, picks the order, and makes the payment – hence completing the contactless cycle of curbside pickup. To improve your curbside pickup service further, you can even share customer care surveys via SMS with your customers.

Conclusion

Curbside commerce is the way forward. Visionet’s CurbsideConnect, integrated with Twilio, allows retailers to enable contactless delivery, ensure employee safety, and maintain a line of communication on a platform that has the highest response rate.

If you are looking to enhance your retail experience with disruptive capabilities tailored to take on critical business challenges, get in touch with our experts.