2 minutes

Forrester's Emily Pfeiffer says large retailers should focus on creating a great curbside pickup experience — or stop offering the service. 

Emily Pfeiffer, principal analyst at Forrester Research, says large retailers that struggle to create a great curbside pickup experience should stop offering the service.  

However, large retailers that struggle to create a great experience around curbside pickup should stop offering it.  

“It’s not worth creating bad experiences,” she says. “And it’s not worth pulling resources away from in-store experiences if that’s the choice.” 

Kohl’s discontinued curbside pickup, and more retailers are considering canceling the omnichannel service. Retailers scrambled to launch curbside pickup during the pandemic. But now that many consumers resumed in-store shopping, retailers must determine if offering curbside is still worth it.

She offers six steps to retailers to create an effective curbside pickup experience.

Pfeiffer’s 6 steps to make curbside pickup effective

  1. Communicate curbside as an option as early and clearly as possible during the shopping process online. 
  2. Allow consumers to filter products by fulfillment options. 
  3. Let consumers add items to cart by fulfillment option — for curbside, for in-store, for shipping — so that all the way through the shopping experience, the customer is in control and knows exactly what to expect.  
  4. Make it abundantly clear in the cart what the various fulfillment methods are. Make it really obvious, especially if there are multiple. 
  5. Communicate very well via text or email or apps. Have options, and make sure the customer can say they’re on their way. They can check in. They can describe their vehicle.  
  6. When the customer arrives at the store, it should be extremely clear where to go. When they arrive, make it obvious where they should park, what they should do, and what the status is.  

Pfeiffer says if retailers struggle to staff enough employees for curbside pickup but still want to offer the service, they can try making pickup only available at certain times of day when shopper data shows a store will be less busy. 

This expert quick take is part of a larger story on retailers deciding whether to commit to curbside pickup.

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