Curbside Pickup Gets The Nod From Santa

As PYMNTS data has repeatedly shown, consumers are reluctant to enter stores to expose themselves and their loved ones to COVID-19. But people still need to eat, buy shoes, restock their wardrobes, and buy other physical goods – and sometimes they need those goods a little faster than delivery services can guarantee. Roadside pickup offers the immediacy of real-world shopping as well as the relative security of seclusion that online shopping offers. They are packed into a neat package that enables consumers to take advantage of the most ubiquitous technology in their lives: the mobile phone.

Unsurprisingly, the roadside pickup was a hit during the pandemic, especially with American consumers. What has proven to be a little more surprising, however, is the myriad of ways traders use their roadside skills. Nordstrom, for example, set up the roadside not only to pick up last minute Christmas gifts (prepackaged and ready to be given away), but also to drop off a letter to Santa and a 15 minute zoom call (instead of sitting on his lap ). In order to further increase the attractiveness of its roadside offering, Nordstrom used it as a contact point for distributing free gifts to selected consumers.

But now the holiday season is over and the COVID-19 pandemic is drawing to a close (hopefully) as vaccines are distributed. But it looks like roadside pickup, with its popularity as a handy tool for consumers, is likely to stay here.

“Roadside collection has changed the way people think – not just about the way they live, but also about the way they pay,” said Norm Marraccini, senior vice president of digital payments, ACH and RTP at FIS, Karen Webster in a Master class interview earlier this year. “Curbside pickup is something we’ve never done in the past because it was a novelty. Now I think it will stay something as it is also a third option for merchants to earn extra funds on top of in-store and online purchases. “

And according to the data, it is an option that consumers are increasingly convenient to pursue. A quick look at the latest version of the PYMNTS / Visa How We Will Pay consumer report reveals this story pretty clearly. Consumers who used to be reluctant to order products like groceries digitally are increasingly feeling familiar with the activity, and a growing number are in favor of the roadside pickup option. The number of consumers ordering groceries online, at least intermittently, has nearly tripled over the past year, with around 76 million Americans currently doing their grocery shopping digitally.

While some of these orders are digitally delivered to your doorstep, the latest PYMNTS Global Digital Shopping Index has highlighted the growing consumer interest in curbs, especially when compared to buying BOPIS options online. Research by PYMNTS shows that interest in curbs has increased significantly. 15.5 percent of those who shop digitally cite it as their preferred shopping method in July, up from 10.8 percent in March. BOPIS, meanwhile, hasn’t received a similar boost as the stock it prefers fell slightly to 13.8 percent over the same period. Curbside has shown particular strength in the food segment during this period, with 70 percent of those who use the roadside pickup say they use it for groceries.

Consumers have never had to drive on the side of the road, and so many did not. But when they were forced to try it out, many found that they really liked it. The How We’ll Pay report finds that almost three quarters of consumers used to buy groceries on weekends, now just over half of them do. The rest of them have realized that it takes a lot less time to order online and pick up at the roadside – every day of the week.

And while COVID-19 is likely to end sometime next year – and hopefully Santa doesn’t have to schedule Zoom calls for Christmas – we envision consumers will still be driving on the side of the road even if they don’t have to dismount Letter.

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Over: The PYMNTS Subscription Bundling Report polled a census-balanced panel of 2,962 U.S. consumers to determine how their attitudes toward bundled subscription services have changed during the pandemic, particularly those offered by companies in the streaming sector. The report also examines how knowing that a COVID-19 vaccine will soon be available in the U.S. could affect their perceptions.

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