- On September 21, 2021
- 0 Comments
The pandemic brought about drastic changes in consumer habits when all kinds of businesses, from retail stores and restaurant chains to locally-owned restaurants, began offering curbside pickup. Did this evolution, spurred on by pandemic restrictions, open the door to the next phase of customer service that wasn’t accessible before? Or did it simply accelerate a change that was already bound to happen in the future?
We believe history points to the latter. Store pickup and online orders weren’t necessarily new before the coronavirus pandemic, but new restrictions made these practices a necessity, and accelerated their widespread implementation. The necessity for social distancing and contact-free services inevitably led to changes in the restaurant and retail industries. Online shopping, contactless delivery, and store pickup became essential to maintain the flow of business. Among global consumers, 60% have changed their shopping behaviors in 2020 and 75% of U.S. consumers have done the same.
As these new developments are becoming more familiar to consumers and workers, how does digital signage fit into the picture? And can more advanced signage technology improve upon the systems developed during the pandemic? We’ll be exploring these questions and more throughout this blog.
What are the advantages to curbside pickup?
For the most part, curbside pickup orders have been viewed as a necessity for local store owners, and not necessarily an improvement on the current norms of customer service. But some consumers and businesses have realized the advantages that come with this new system and how it could benefit their business beyond the pandemic. A few of those benefits include:
- Health and Safety – Curbside pickup allows both consumers and workers to maintain social distancing and avoid coming into contact with Covid-19.
- Customer Experience – The system that businesses developed for curbside pickup ultimately maximizes convenience and eliminates discomfort. Shoppers no longer have to wait in long lines, they can pay in advance with a credit card and show up when products are ready.
- More Service Options – Curbside pickup provides a better service option for people with disabilities. Disabled people often have far more obstacles that make a trip to a store or restaurant difficult and time consuming. For many of those individuals, curbside pickup provides a better service option.
- More Visits – Curbside pickup reduces the hassle of going into the store, so people are more likely to visit make return visits to places with convenient pickup options.
- Easier to plan – For both the consumers and the workers, knowing when a product needs to be ready for pickup allows you to plan ahead.
Digital Signage and Curbside Pickup
If you’re wondering what digital signage is and why it’s relevant to the topic of curbside pickup, let us explain. In 2020, businesses both big and small had to come up with solutions to facilitate curbside pickup. Some used static signage, some had employees direct consumers, and some utilized the existing digital signage they had. Everyone’s goal was to provide an efficient and safe customer experience amidst the changed conditions of the pandemic and post-pandemic consumer habits.
Let’s walk through how curbside pickup typically works:
- You want food from a restaurant or an item from a retail store and decide to place a pickup order.
- You get digital updates and see pickup time through a business’ website, app, or a confirmation email. This part of the process varies depending on the business.
- You drive up to the pickup location at a designated time and park in the designated parking spots and are directed by signage, however advanced or basic that might be,
- There’s no need to go inside to checkout, you’ve already completed the online order. You receive your order through minimal contact.
Depending on the type of business you’re purchasing a product from, this may look slightly different, but the same basic structure tends to remain. And the tools used at the center of these services (such as signage) are always an important component of the flow of business.
However, there’s a big difference between using traditional static signage and advanced digital signage technology. The automation and customization capabilities of digital displays make curbside pickup for online orders from physical stores run smoothly and more efficiently. They also allow businesses to create a more streamlined flow of business with less hiccups.
Expanding on Digital Signage Use Cases
The pandemic brought about a reduction of in-store experiences and opportunities for messaging, which means that digital signage has had to branch out and find other ways to connect with audiences.
This shift in services and consumer habits opens the door to expanding use cases for digital signage technology. Traditionally, the main purpose of digital signage has been messaging, with some technology bridging over to self-service. For example, interactive kiosks have been implemented throughout more businesses in recent years. Now, there is an opportunity to bridge that gap even more and expand the use of digital signage.
For example, digital displays can be utilized to direct cars, keep customers informed, and notify them when their orders are ready for pickup. A few signage display options that are perfect for these use cases include:
The Future of Curbside Pickup
Where does curbside pickup go from here? Is it just a pandemic necessity or will consumers see the continued need for curbside pickup?
Our prediction is that these types of service options, whether it’s curbside pickup or digital-only restaurants, will only get more efficient and dynamic. The end of the pandemic won’t be the end of curbside pickup because consumer habits are fundamentally evolving. Due to the continued risk proposed by variants of the virus, many consumers may prefer to continue to buy online and utilize curbside pickup services. To facilitate these changed habits, the digital signage industry will be advancing along with restaurants and retail businesses to provide the best technology possible for evolving consumer needs. Curbside pickup solutions are just one important component in a newly expanding selection of digital restaurant and retail services.
Digital signage industry is well prepared for this future. With years of developing screens that last long term in any weather conditions and have great visibility in the sunlight, digital signage companies are ready to provide long-term curbside pickup solutions.
Contact us Today for a Free Consultation
Are you interested in taking the leap and investing in professional digital signage services to provide curbside pickup for your customers? We’re here to help with the next steps. Let Keyser’s experience do the work for you and we’ll take care of your digital signage needs throughout the installation process. Contact us to discuss your next project.