Top 3 Reasons Curbside Pickup Will Be Your Holiday Hero

Even before the world went into lockdown in 2020, online shopping was growing at unprecedented rates. The COVID-19 pandemic only increased the phenomenon leading to over $4 Trillion in online sales in 2020, and by 2023 that number is expected to be around $6.5 Trillion (Statista). Curbside pickup became one of the safest alternatives to in-store shopping during the pandemic, and it isn’t going away.

Aside from being safe for shoppers, it is also wildly more convenient. The average American spends about 45 minutes shopping per grocery store trip (USDA). Curbside pickup provides a quicker alternative to the time-costly chore of in-store shopping.

The Consumer Mindset for Holiday Shopping 2021

Consumers are shifting away from viewing shopping malls and brick-and-mortar stores as a place to peruse and hangout. They are adopting the perspective that sees them as fulfillment centers where they can quickly pick up their online orders. According to Google Ads & Commerce, 70% of consumers are leaning into the blended online and in-store shopping experience, with digital-first behaviors like curbside pickup and buy-online-pick-up-in-store likely to continue as we head into the holidays. It’s a sign that omnichannel is becoming a mainstream approach with brick-and-mortar stores functioning as extensions of a customer’s online shopping experience. It is no longer enough for retailers to offer multiple channels of distribution. They need to integrate them and make them available to the customer on demand.

Even with vaccination rates increasing, consumers still view in-store shopping as a risk. Nearly 85% of shoppers have significantly increased using curbside pickup since the start of the pandemic (Business Wire). Shoppers prefer to feel safe rather than risk their health to get the in-store experience.

Top of Mind: Convenience in a Digital World

Convenience, convenience, convenience. It is top priority for shoppers in today’s digital world. According to the National Retail Foundation, 97% of shoppers have backed out of a purchase because it was inconvenient for them. The shoppers’ craving for convenience is on the rise, too, with 83% of consumers saying that convenience is more important to them now than it was 5 years ago (NRF). Providing convenient buying options is imperative for retailers to stay competitive.

Inconvenience also plays a role in curbside pickup. Poorly or mismanaged curbside pickup solutions cause shoppers to become irritated. Business Wire found that an overwhelming majority of consumers found it easy to place an order, but that there was “significant friction getting there, both online and in-store.” Retailers need to implement curbside pickup solutions that are easy to use and fully integrated from every channel.

Peace of Mind: Safety in a COVID-19 World

The start of the pandemic pushed Americans to try out low-touch shopping activities, but convenience persuaded many of them to continue with these new activities. Restaurant curbside pickup was up 29% at the start of the pandemic with 39% of consumers stating an intent to continue (McKinsey). Store curbside pickup was up 22% with 47% intended to continue (McKinsey). It is an option that helps consumers feel safe while saving time.

Consumers value the health and safety of their families. As of September 2021, 79% of Americans view the COVID-19 situation to be stagnant or getting worse (Gallup). Consumers realize that the crisis is not over, and they feel safer turning to low-contact shopping options. 

Frame of Mind: On Demand Purchasing in a Time Crunched World

Services like Amazon Prime and Netflix have changed the landscape of how consumers view product availability. Shoppers can order almost any product imaginable and have it arrive at their doorstep in 2 days, and gone are the days of waiting to record movies to the DVR. Now, there are thousands available instantly. It is not enough to offer a product that is easily and safely attained, it also must be available to the consumer ASAP. Shoppers want their products, and they want them now. The ability to place an order online, and pick it up within hours or minutes sets curbside pickup solutions apart from deliveries. Consumers are so accustomed to receiving their products immediately, that even Amazon’s 2 day shipping is too long in many scenarios.

The key for retailers this holiday season comes down to making products:

  1. Easy to buy
  2. Safe to buy
  3. Quick to buy

Curbside pickup is the solution to all of these consumer trends.

How Holiday Shopping in 2021 Will Be Different

This holiday season will be set apart in three key ways:

  1. Holiday shoppers starting earlier than in years past
  2. Majority of shoppers buying online
  3. Significantly higher spending

The Supply Chain Crisis Has Holiday Shoppers Starting Early

The shortage of products in dozens of product sectors is the result of the bullwhip effect from COVID-19. It is causing a crisis for global supply chain management. Consumers are attuned to this issue with 59% of shoppers stating they will start shopping earlier than in years past to avoid an item being out of stock (Google Ads & Commerce). A significant majority of holiday shoppers will start their shopping before Thanksgiving, with 66% completing their shopping as early as possible and 30% starting earlier than last year (RetailMeNot). This is more reason for retailers to ramp up their curbside pickup solutions as soon as possible.

The Majority of Shopping Will Be Done Online

Consumers will take advantage of any way they can save their precious free time. That includes doing their holiday shopping online. Nearly 90% of holiday shoppers plan to purchase at least one holiday item online (PYMNTS), and 62% of all holiday purchases will occur online (Deloitte). This holiday season trend is consistent with the overall shopping trend that consumers prefer online or hybrid models of shopping.

Holiday Shoppers Are Spending More in 2021

Consistent with trends from the past several years, holiday spending will increase again in 2021. Consumer forecasts predict that holiday spending will increase around 10% from last year, nearly topping $207B (Adobe). This will be a big year for holiday shopping.

Find Your Holiday Hero

Now is the time for retailers to find their holiday hero with curbside pickup solutions. Holiday shoppers want convenient, healthy, and on demand methods of shopping that only curbside pickup can provide. Since holiday shopping trends show that consumers are spending more, buying online and starting early now is the time to install curbside pickup to make the most out of the holiday shopping frenzy. Advanced Wireless Communications can help your business implement seamless curbside pickup solutions

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