Retail was the fastest industry to embrace digital transformation as the world pivoted to remote and distributed workforces. In-store, supply chain, and logistical uncertainties prompted retailers to kick off 2020 holiday efforts earlier than ever with online deals and promotions last October. This forced thousands of businesses to completely transform the way they conduct business and to adjust their supply chain systems to make them more flexible and efficient.
Fulfillment modalities like “buy online, pick up in-store” (BOPIS) and closely associated curbside pick-up will be just as popular this year, even as stores open again. These approaches allow businesses to maintain continuity even during uncertain times. And with nine out of ten consumers saying they’re more likely to choose a retailer based on how much convenience they offer, perfecting these modalities will continue to be a key component to offering convenience to customers.
Getting products across the “last mile” to consumers is typically the most expensive and complex side in fulfillment. In order to handle in-store pick-up and coordination efficiently, retailers are empowering their teams with omnichannel communication that helps them deliver convenient, safe, and enjoyable pickup experiences. Twilio’s research shows 92 percent of leaders say enabling digital communications for customers and stakeholders was critical in their responses to COVID-19.
In addition to adding efficiencies to operations and customer experience, retailers are also leveraging communication solutions that can integrate with other applications like CRM, ERP, knowledge bases, or even in-house applications. Once configured, store associates can access individual customer information and are able to personalize each experience. Order information pulled from a marketplace integration ensures store reps have all the context they need to validate the order. With inventory management integrations, sales associates can confidently fulfill orders and get them out the door. Unified single panes of information decrease response and total transaction times, ensuring that stores avoid lines and back-ups during heavy traffic hours.
Agents can also communicate with the customer across multiple channels (SMS, Whatsapp, webchat, and more) from the same single interface, to confirm changes to their orders, confirm anticipated wait times, and even manage parking spot assignments, and queues for contactless pickup. The ability to keep all of these conversations in the same thread helps the customer feel fully supported and equipped for their pickup. Notifications also offer customers convenience, flexibility, and safety through updates on safety protocols, store operations, inventory alerts, and order status.
These types of communications help instill consumers’ confidence in the brand. With eight out of ten consumers saying that being able to trust a brand is now a deciding factor in their buying decision, investing in this type of technology prior to the holiday season will pay back ten-fold in your customer’s overall shopping experience.