Grocers, Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs), and other retailers have traditionally been slow to adopt new in-store technology and ecommerce. Now, they are innovating at a fast and furious pace. In addition to keeping up with the competition, innovation is also being driven by customers in the “Convenience Generation”, who demand immediate gratification from simply pushing a button on their mobile device – aka ‘frictionless shopping’. The convenience Generation has forced all retailers to adapt to different service models. Customers expect their order to be ready in minutes, cost the same as if they were going into the store, and be delivered to them with minimal interaction with the staff.

So why is curbside pickup going to be critical to consumers:

Avoid shipping or delivery charges – While delivery is great, the “convenience generation” doesn’t want to pay extra for it. Most third-party delivery services charge a fee or increase the price of the goods being ordered over the in-store price.

Get their merchandise/order sooner – If you’re like me, you don’t want to wait for something that you just purchased. For busy millennials and young families, delivery is not completely predictable. If I order groceries, I don’t want to worry about being home during a 2-hour window. For restaurants, if the restaurant cannot perfectly time the food preparation with the arrival of the third-party delivery driver, the food is not fast, nor fresh.

Want to see the actual item – This is almost the reverse of what we used to do back in the early days. As someone who has been in the retail business for a while, I know that “showrooming” (going to the store to touch and feel the product and then ordering online for delivery) was popular and a huge problem for brick and mortar retailers. In 2019, customers will order online and pick up at the store at their convenience and so they can confirm the items are as they have ordered.

Convenience and Frictionless –  With the growing expectation of immediate order and receival of goods, customer behavior is demanding “just in time” service. Customers are pushing retailers to embrace the latest in technology, in order to create a smooth and convenient ‘frictionless’ customer experience.

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