Consumers are continuing to shift their shopping behaviour to Click & Collect and home delivery as they seek to comply with social distancing practices to protect themselves and the community. Localz has seen a lift in daily collection volumes of over 100% with some of our clients, particularly in the grocery sector.
As heightened lockdown measures continue, stores that aren’t able to provide a 4-square metre social distance in each aisle for customers to pass may be forced to restrict access and operations to a collection and delivery only model.
In addition to consumer safety, protecting essential store workers and not exposing them to unnecessary risk is also a top priority.
We are receiving multiple enquiries every day from retailers seeking advice on how they should update their Click & Collect operations to improve the safe social distancing for all involved while also being able to handle the increased workload, so we thought we’d publish this quick checklist to assist.
1. Keep The Consumer In Their Car
- Car park - do you have, or can you easily rezone parking bays exclusively for Pick Up? Keeping customers in their vehicles through the process is a great way to enhance social distancing and reduce close interaction at store.
- Drive Thru lanes - can you reorient to be able to make drive thru available for all collections? Can you create drive thru lanes instead of parking bays through the use of temporary signage, traffic cones etc? If you share the parking lot with other stores, engage with the owners corporation on this.
- Trade desks - are you able to convert any dedicated trade drive-thru areas and yard-based service desks into Collection zones.
2. Move Collections To The Front Of The Store
- Many stores have their storage area and collections desk at the back of the store. Traditionally this has been for quick access to back-of-house shelving with the side benefit of enticing some additional cross-sell and attachment rate.
- Can you repurpose shelving close to the store entrance for storage and rapid retrieval and handover of collections?
- Consider how to manage the flow of the queue so that if possible you can have separate entry and exit points to avoid a doorway bottleneck.
3. Free Up Collections From Your PoS
- If your order retrieval process is currently driven via your PoS system, you’re likely having to pull customers into your checkout or service desk area.
- Separating the retrieval and handover process onto an existing in-store mobile device enables you to fulfill from the front or external to the store (i.e. parking lot). Existing handheld terminals used for stock counting and control should be able to be used for this purpose, along with your team members own mobile device if required.
4. Create Distance In Your Handover Process
- People are afraid to be close to others right now. Many current handover processes force people closer than they should be - for example checking a credit card matches a number in a system is hard to do from 1.5 metres away.
- Consider use of a unique 1 time PIN per order. A 6 or 8 digit PIN can be read out and tapped in faster than a name, speeding up order detail retrieval and reducing time spent in proximity.
- Are you able to leverage digital ID and other online systems to remote validate or bring up a picture of the individual in your checkout system without them having to get close to show their government issued ID.
5. Make It Simple To Nominate An Alternate Collector
- As usage of collections continues to rise, you can help protect the vulnerable in the community by letting them easily and securely nominate someone else to collect goods on their behalf.
- A simple online nomination process captures the nominees name and contact details. This information can be added to the order system so that store colleagues can verify regardless of whether the original purchaser or the nominee arrives (as plans constantly change).
- A one time PIN can be issued to the nominee so that sharing of other personal and sensitive information isn’t required (i.e. credit card number etc) which also has the benefit of minimising contact between the original purchaser and the nominee.
6. Communicate Through The Process
- Even subtle changes in process can confuse regular customers. Consumers also want to know in advance what you have done to make the collections process both safe and easy.
- Communicating to the customer in advance of the collection window with clear instructions on how the handover process will work and what they are required to do, and not to do (i.e. stay in your car, park here).
- Enable the customer to communicate with you when they’re on their way so the order can be collated and brought forward ready to handover.
- Ensure the customer can advise you remotely from their car when they’ve arrived and where they are (i.e. Bay 3) to minimise dwell and handover time.
7. Create Collection Time Windows
- Creating timed collection windows has the benefit of avoiding having too many customers in one area at the same time. It also smoothes out the pick and pack workload which reduces the number of colleagues that need to be in close contact in the store at the same time.
- Collection time windows can be added as a post-checkout screen to avoid having to make changes to your online cart/checkout which often takes a large amount of time and can be an expensive development effort.
8. Protect Against Fraudsters
- In times of major disruption, the instance of fraud always increases as criminals take advantage of the distraction and uncertainty sudden change creates.
- While waiving the need to sign on glass/paper to accept and legally acknowledge the transfer of ownership and liability for goods and services may be a simple interim fix, we have already seen the instance of claims for non-delivery and lack of proof of service starting to spike.
- Issuing a unique one time PIN per order to the original purchaser and the ability to reissue a separate one for a nominee eliminates the ability to guess or socially engineer a team member into handing over product to someone not authorized.
- The PIN is also linked to the name of the purchaser or nominee, so a simple contactless ID check creates a second factor of authentication.
9. Don't Forget The Basics
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as disposable gloves for all staff picking and packing as well as those in closer proximity to customers at handover.
- Frequent cleaning of totes, shelves and storage areas and particularly counter tops that customers come into closer contact with when collecting their order.
- Use online payment methods and avoid cash on collection wherever possible.
- Make it easy and intuitive for your team to use and adhere to these new processes.
The technology you need for Contactless Collections should be intuitive and not require training. It should not take longer than two weeks to implement across your entire store network, including any effort needed from your IT department.
Posted by Tim Andrew - CEO and Co-Founder