COVID-19 has forced some retailers to close stores, leaving many tasked with speeding up fulfillment plans, quickly implementing new ones, and, in some cases, being thankful they already have services such as curbside pickup already in place.
As shopper habits change in the face of the coronavirus, total e-commerce sales were up 3.1% in March. Yet, whether closed or not, the brick and mortar store is not obsolete. As retail executives learn how to navigate supply chain and fulfillment issues, an RIS audience poll finds more than half (57%) of retailers are shipping online orders from stores. Only 14% reported being unable to ship at all due the coronavirus, RIS’ found in its online survey conducted April 2-16.
When the poll dove deeper into exactly how retailers are getting online orders into shoppers’ hands, or at least to doorsteps and trunks, it revealed that 38% of retailers offer direct home delivery through an owned delivery service, while 33% offer home delivery through a third party, such as Instacart. On the flip side of the coin, 43% said they have no interest in delivering through a third party and 38% had no interest in delivering through an owned delivery service.
While in the past, delivery drivers often would hand over a package or even ask for a signature, with social distancing many retailers are turning to contactless delivery at doorsteps, leaving packages unattended. The worry of package thefts has taken a backseat for the time being with 35% reporting they offer contactless delivery currently and 25% trying to implement this now. Another 15% hope to have this implemented within 12 months and only a quarter of respondents had no interest in the option.
When it comes to buy-online-pickup in store (BOPIS), many retailers have been exploring and implementing this option for online fulfillment long before the coronavirus came to the U.S. However, now, exactly how shoppers are retrieving packages at the store has become a spotlight issue. The poll found 47% offer BOPIS via counter pickup, while 44% of retailers offer curbside pickup. Only 5% currently offer pickup through a locker or other unmanned retrieval method, but 16% are trying to add this option now. Retailers who don’t offer curbside pickup but want it are rushing to get the service up now (33%), while those who want to offer pickup inside the store are taking a little longer: 16% are trying to implement the service now, while another 16% say they want to have it within 12 months.
Editor’s note: This survey was intended to be a quick survey of our retail readers. While respondents identified as retailers, we did not request they identify the size or location of their company.