BOPIS, curbside pickup, and retail: New fulfillment strategies are changing customer expectations—and how retailers meet them
Since the pandemic began, curbside pickup and buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) shopping has exploded. Surveys show 80 percent of consumers expect to increase their BOPIS and curbside pickup practices in the coming months, and a majority expect all retailers to provide mobile or contactless pickup/check in options too.
With major retailers like Walmart, Target, and The Home Depot among the most popular brands offering curbside pickup and BOPIS shopping, it’s safe to say these fulfillment options—particularly BOPIS, which was gaining momentum even before COVID-19 hit—are here to stay, pandemic notwithstanding.
BOPIS is a sound investment
Twilio research shows retailers whose leadership indicated stronger intent to invest in BOPIS and order fulfillment technologies in the past 18-24 months are outperforming their peers in the stock market since the onset of the pandemic.
That sort of ROI has retail leaders paying attention: according to the Forrester Q1 2020 Omnichannel Panel Survey, 79 percent …
Don't just regift, rethink: Personalizing your customer's digital holiday shopping experience
We’ve all received a present that felt like it had been sitting in someone’s basement or re-gifted with more emphasis on urgency than thoughtfulness.
Oh thank you, you said meekly as you opened it with feigned enthusiasm. You shouldn’t have, you declared quietly as you stuck it your own regifting pile.
In holiday gift exchanging, as with holiday customer engagement, personalization matters.
During a typical holiday season, shoppers are already inundated with emails, alerts, and targeted content from every corner of every device they own. This year in particular, though, as more shoppers go online and navigate new norms of BOPIS and contactless delivery practices, communicating with your customers requires more mindfulness than ever—and personalization is one core component of that.
Never has ‘there’s no place like home for the holidays’ rang more true than in 2020. After nearly a year in quarantine, U.S. consumers are shopping …
Making a list: The retailer’s complete guide to a pandemic holiday season
The hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season will look a bit different this year, but the season is far from cancelled. As consumer digital spending habits morphed and changed over 2020, retailers reacted in stride— educating, shifting, and pivoting themselves to better handle this year’s holiday season.
Learn how they are preparing (and how you can too!) for a COVID-19 shopping season with a shift from brick and mortar to digital storespaces, aiding customers in shopping safely with contactless commerce, and an entire three months devoted to shopping from home, in our holiday retail coverage below.
Where are you, Black Friday? Retailers kick off holiday shopping early to pace shoppers and avoid crowding
In an effort to keep customers safe and crowds at bay, many big box retailers are offering holiday sales as early as October as well as completely closing down on Thanksgiving to encourage consumers with …
The pandemic is driving more companies to hand customers the wheel
While the difficulties we’ve collectively faced as individuals, businesses, and a society in 2020 are impossible to ignore, this year and more specifically, the COVID-19 pandemic, has also ushered in some silver linings in how we approach communication technology and helping (as opposed to merely selling to) customers.
In particular, this pandemic has highlighted the universal need for easy, digital-based access to health care and education, and the importance of safety and security across both. Because of this, more companies are creating technology that hands the reins over to their customers to access information on their own terms.
In seeing this shift, we’ve identified seven major ways that businesses have used COVID-19 as a time to build a better customer experience model focused on autonomy. Scroll to find examples of how innovative organizations are using tech to make people healthier, safer, and more educated about the world today.
Self-service—addressing common …
Think outside the big box: What SMBs can learn from leading retailers' COVID-19 response
COVID-19 has made all businesses—no matter the size—reconsider how they attract and retain their customer base.
Some big-box stores have been quicker on their feet than others in responding to the crisis. The credit, in part, goes to the marketing and customer experience strategies implemented beforehand, and the agility to react to rapidly changing customer needs during the crisis.
Meanwhile, small and medium-sized businesses are having a more difficult time pivoting with fewer resources, short staffing, and smaller budgets.. Despite these limitations, SMBs also can be more nimble and have a greater chance of recovery once the risk from the virus subsides.
In some ways, it’s easier for smaller and medium-sized businesses to do what big brands are able to do; for example, a small business can test different channels for customer engagement and make their customer experience highly customized, instead of being held back with generic, one-size-fits-all solutions.
Reopening retailers must remain flexible and agile in a COVID-dominated world—but these three principles always apply
Retail has been at the forefront of trying to interpret what a post-COVID world could look like.
Retailers have been planning how to restart physical operations as the pandemic has worn on, but now are also navigating the need to remain flexible, and revise their initial reopening plans, given the possibility of having to revert to more restrictive measures as infection rates change.
They are refining their priorities as such, looking to make more strategic use of their stories while prioritizing ecommerce for a COVID-impacted consumer base.
A survey of retail executives found most of them expect store traffic to return to pre-crisis levels, but not for at least several months after stores reopen—and, despite that expectation, most retail leaders are also realizing that reopening is not predictable, and they must remain flexible at least until a vaccine is readily distributable, and perhaps longer.
In order to succeed, retailers must …
Igniting change and breaking down barriers to innovation: Survey reveals how COVID-19 impacts retailers’ digital communication strategies
COVID-19-induced shelter-in-place orders and social distancing have driven a drastic increase in online shopping and remote shopper engagement since the onset of the novel coronavirus.
And the trend toward online, omnichannel retail experiences shows no signs of slowing down: consumers intend to continue to shop online even as the crisis subsides, with some shifting almost entirely to online. Many have also adopted more digital and contactless services, including buy online-pick up in store (BOPiS) along with curbside pickup, delivery, and drive-through.
To better understand the effects of COVID-19 on businesses, Twilio surveyed 368 retail and ecommerce enterprise decision makers in the US, UK, Germany, Australia, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, Singapore about how COVID-19 is impacting digital engagement strategies.
Overall, responses indicated a few main themes:
- Digital transformation was accelerated, in some cases drastically, in response to COVID-19: 70 percent of retail leaders say the pandemic sped …
COVID-19 shatters myths about companies and their digital transformation: Introducing the Twilio COVID-19 Digital Engagement Report
In the last 20 years, companies have transformed as they adapt to new customer engagement demands born out of the internet and growth of mobile.
The onset of COVID-19 and its impact on the entire world, though, led companies to shrink decade-long digital transformation roadmaps to just months—even weeks.
To better understand the effects of COVID-19 on businesses, Twilio surveyed more than 2,500 enterprise decision makers in the US, UK, Germany, Australia, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, and Singapore about how COVID-19 is impacting their digital engagement strategies.
The responses show that as companies reacted rapidly to ensure business continuity in the face of a global pandemic, three long-held myths about digital transformation were shattered:
- Digital transformation requires lengthy advance planning;
- Digital transformation takes a long time;
- Massive barriers to evolution prevent change from happening.
Social distancing has given rise to a sudden expansion in digital customer engagement: 92 …
How COVID-19 is changing retail: A checklist to adapt and respond
COVID-19 has altered huge swaths of our world over the last few months, and the retail industry has had to adapt faster than ever before.
Within weeks, all industries were forced to quickly rethink business models and customer relationships, and in many areas, retailers became the silent heroes that kept things moving.
They rapidly switched to online models, enabled employees to work from home, and navigated the complex logistics of order fulfilment in a drastically different ‘normal.’
During this accelerated and intense experience, it’s become clear: technology and communication channels are the lifeline of the new world we live in.
Trends shaping the retail industry
Companies that had already begun to or fully embraced new technology in retail, like omnichannel engagement, personalization, AI, chatbots, and BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick-up In Store)—trends that were already affecting the retail industry before the pandemic—were able to respond faster and adapt their business …
What crisis can mean for customer engagement and customer loyalty
Prior to COVID-19 upending life as we know it, each of us was getting an incredible stream of seemingly endless emails, notifications, pushed content, and banner ads that are at the very least confusing in its volume, and at worst annoying and distracting. In contemporary buzz speak, we were unable to separate the signal from the noise because we were overwhelmed by the volume.
But then the coronavirus came along, and the context changed. As more and more information flowed at global, national, and local levels, the reliability of that information and the value of reliable or useful information became a lot more important. It’s what I call an “escalated scenario.”
This shouldn’t be a surprise. An escalated scenario like the global pandemic brings out two very human reactions and desires even more vividly than normal. First, the desire for information. Second, the desire to communicate with others for multiple …