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Retail stores and quick-service restaurants (QSRs) are in a unique position to quickly build trust and loyalty with their customers as the world navigates this trying time. Social distancing has become the phrase heard around the world, but it doesn’t change the fact that people need access to essential items like food, drinks, and household products. While the public minimizes the amount of time they spend outside of their homes and non-essential businesses all over the world are being urged to close, some retailers have the unique opportunity to ensure the safety of their associates and customers through digital technology. And curbside pickup and delivery will be especially important.
Digital technology: The hero for quarantined people
Companies that invested in building great mobile apps are already ahead of the game because they’re able to continue online interactions while customers practice social distance. They are now optimizing their experiences to become even more contactless - a behavioral shift that we believe most customers were going to soon expect from retailers in the coming years. Mobile pay is a critical contactless feature, currently in high demand with users because it eliminates the need for the exchange of actual cash and reduces the spread of germs. As big retailers roll out this feature to ensure the safety of their communities, users will expect all of their apps to offer the same safety precautions during this time.
Protecting the at-risk populations with curbside
Curbside and delivery options are also great for some of the more at-risk populations that must be extra cautious. People who are 60+ or those with pre-existing conditions can stay in the safety of their cars while still ensuring they have access to the items they need. Beyond providing the pleasure of an outside meal or essential items to your guests, these trying times present a new opportunity for your brand to shine. Your store associates may be one of the few people guests see in a given day or week and they have the opportunity to be heros – providing both supplies and a smile. Consider other ways you can help guests as they figure out their “new abnormal.” If you’re a convenience store, could employees with tablets pump gas and help place food orders? Could your website or mobile app enable others to schedule regular deliveries to shut in neighbors or family members?
Be a part of the global effort to stop the spread of coronavirus by rewarding customers
Another opportunity that retailers and QSRs have during this time is to reward customers in a new way via their loyalty programs. Think about how adding additional rewards for ‘behaviors’ that keep communities safe and healthy could enable your restaurant or store to be part of the greater global efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus. For example, offering additional rewards for using curbside over in-store visits to limit social interactions.
Brands can also use these channels to reassure and connect with their customers. Sending a push notification to customers in certain geographical locations with helpful information, such as updated hours or in-store precautions that are being established for their safety is a great way to keep customers engaged and informed.
Minimize Friction with an eye toward the future
While the solution is time sensitive, you want to guarantee you’re enabling the safety of your customers and employees without adding additional friction to their lives. Make sure you look at the entire customer journey so that your efforts at deploying a contactless experience are both manageable for your employees, and easy to use and understand for your customers. This digital solution might be more top-of-mind in these conditions, but we believe that this contactless experience will be preferred by your customers even after this pandemic. Design an experience now that you can scale and enhance in the months and years to come.
Our work on curbside, mobile apps, and digital innovation
Mobiquity has implemented many mobile apps with curbside functionality for retail, quick-service restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores, and more. Read on to learn more about our experience.
Wawa, the beloved regional chain of convenience stores and gas stations, is a great example of how a mobile app can rescue hungry customers in times of need. Mobiquity partnered with Wawa on their Order Ahead application, which is focused on customer experience – the foundation of Wawa’s culture. We helped them redesign the Order Ahead app from front to back to provide the best possible experience for customers.
Vomar, a privately-owned Dutch discount supermarket chain and member of the Superunie cooperative purchasing union, engaged Mobiquity to design and build the Home Shopping Platform (HSP), a centralized platform for all aspects of the ecommerce experience - from product and offer management to analytics and order fulfillment, and home delivery via Vomar's own fleet of vans.
You can view a full sampling of Mobiquity work in our case studies.
In these trying times, let’s remember: We’re in this together
It’s important to take the right precautions for the health and safety of your families and businesses, first and foremost. Next, take a close look at your business model and think about how ready you are to embrace the new digital normal that this crisis is ushering in. It’s likely that we’re at the precipice of a new economic model that will be much more reliant on technology and innovative approaches to service. Are you ready? We have experts on-hand to help you think through your digital roadmap, design your curbside pick-up strategy, and implement or enhance your mobile app. Together we can create the best digital experiences for your customers and employees at a time when online connection is more important than ever.
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