Remote ordering and curbside pickup arrived quickly during the pandemic- what will merchants deliver next?

For petroleum marketers and Quick Service Restaurants (QSR), the COVID-19 pandemic brought an acute need to quickly implement remote ordering, delivery and curbside pickup, along with flexible online payment options.  Having forever relied on customers coming into their locations to buy items and interact directly, their very survival was on the line.  Speed to implement became the sole criteria, with thoughts about customers, operational needs, and back-office impacts cast to the side.

Merchants are now taking stock of the multiple gaps these fast-paced minimum viable solution implementations created.  Loren Allston, Senior Consultant at W. Capra posited, “If, for instance, a retailer has worked with Grubhub and DoorDash to add integrated solutions into their mobile app, there’s now a gap in the retailer and customer relationship that the physical store and retail employees helped to bridge.  Not only are you now reliant on a third party consistently taking care of your customer, you also lose the face to face engagement with your customers to ensure their ordering and fulfillment experience was a positive one, but can also lose direct integration with your systems that track order execution, inventory management or financial tracking and reporting.”

 “Now is the time to take a step back and think how you would have done this with the benefit of added time.  How do you maintain ownership of the customer relationship? Working with third parties, what Key Performance Indicators do you have in place to manage the relationship?  What changes do you need to make to help ensure your solutions work seamlessly with your current operations?” Allston added.

Making changes to in-flight programs is a challenge, but a necessary one to face to introduce changes that benefit the customer relationship and engagement, improve operational execution and efficiency, and maximize returns.

“Delivering customers the wrong items or allowing customers to order items that you don’t have in your inventory only happens once.  Customer expectations are high and you have to continue to think about engaging in an efficient and seamless manner to meet and exceed those expectations,” Zach Pastko, Senior Consultant at W. Capra, suggested. Loren Allston and Zach Pastko are dedicated to assisting W. Capra clients with navigating the paths and assisting with implementing solutions.  For further discussion, contact Loren at lallston@wcapra.com or Zach at zpastko@wcapra.com

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