Experts, retailers and consumers all agree that this year’s holiday season is already shaping up to be unlike any other, with e-commerce sales expected to significantly increase and consumers starting their shopping earlier than in previous years. Delivery carriers are already warning of potential delays and capacity issues.
With concerns that purchased goods won’t arrive on time, curbside pickup is becoming a more popular option, especially as the pandemic continues.
A recent Deloitte survey on the upcoming holiday season found that curbside pickup demand is expected to more than double from last year’s holiday season. More demand means even more pressure for retailers to ensure the success and safety of their curbside pickup programs.
So how can retailers ensure a seamless and safe curbside picking experience for both their customers and employees?
1. Apply voice software to handheld devices
One of the best products to enhance employee productivity working on curbside pickup can be held right in the palm of their hand. Workers fulfilling curbside orders often use handheld devices that indicate the order in which they should pick each item from the shelf for maximum efficiency.
Voice capabilities can guide employees through the required tasks to complete curbside pickup processes. As workers complete each step, they speak a verbal confirmation into the microphone, letting the system know they are ready for the next task, making the selection process quicker and more accurate. Speed and precision are key for curbside pickup and this holiday season will be no different.
2. Ensure employee handheld devices are both efficient and safe
This year, handheld devices must be incredibly safe to use, considering employees will be working during a potential second wave of the coronavirus and flu season. Some safety measures employers should add to their hand-held devices include:
- Disinfectant-ready housings utilizes plastics capable of withstanding frequent cleanings and sanitizing protocols with harsh disinfectants without compromising the integrity of the housing.
- Checkout/in and device cleaning management establishes processes to check out and in devices during a worker's shift, giving employers device tracing data and alerting workers on when to clean workplace assets.
- Remote control and remote wipe give IT administrators the availability to quickly take control of a device in any location to investigate and fix issues remotely and digitally wipe devices to original factory settings, allowing IT professionals to maintain social distance.
3. Implement order picking technology in warehouses
Employees are one part of a successful curbside pickup program — a strong process in fulfillment centers and warehouses is another. As the pandemic drove many consumers to embrace delivery and curbside pickup options, retail companies were faced with an unexpected acceleration of e-commerce adoption. Companies should look to automation technologies and fulfillment capabilities to keep up with the heightened demand, especially during the holiday season.
One key technology solution for curbside pickup is order picking technology, which can revolutionize curbside pickup by maximizing throughput, ensuring accuracy of fulfillment and decreasing the time it takes to assemble orders.
Considering the predicted increase in curbside pickup demand, retailers should begin implementing measures now to ensure their curbside pickup programs’ successes for this year and years to come.
Karen Bomber is the marketing director for Honeywell Productivity Solutions and Services.