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CSA Interview: How Batteries Plus Bulbs pivoted to curbside pickup amid COVID-19

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A specialty electronics retailer is realigning store operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As an “essential” business, Batteries Plus Bulbs is keeping its 700-plus stores across 47 states open during the coronavirus crisis. Providing healthcare resources such as batteries for thermometers, patient wheelchairs and beds, Batteries Plus wanted to respond to customer concerns about coming in store. 

Collecting customer feedback with the Medallia Experience Cloud customer experience management platform, the retailer pivoted its brick-and-mortar business model to curbside pickup within 48 hours. This swift pivot has allowed Batteries Plus Bulbs to remain open, and the retailer credits an “unparalleled view of the customer” gleaned through Medallia customer experience technology for the success of the realignment.

“Our Medallia platform is our primary tool to gather customer feedback,” said John Kollm, director of store development, Batteries Plus Bulbs, in an interview with Chain Store Age. “In addition, we gather other review insights from product reviews and e-commerce experiences, and we have a dedicated customer care team that customers can access directly by phone or email as well.”
Batteries Plus Bulbs was also able to leverage an existing buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) platform it had been using for years. The retailer made key process changes quickly with its stores, which allowed rollout of its contactless curbside option for customers within 48 hours.

“We have highlighted our curbside pickup option front-and-center on our website,” Craig McNair, chief retail officer, Batteries Plus Bulbs, told Chain Store Age. “Once customers place their online order, they can indicate curbside pickup. They can call the store when they arrive, and our team will deliver their order right out to them.”

According to McNair, launching curbside pickup is just the latest example of Batteries Plus Bulbs modifying its operational strategy based on customer feedback. 

“Several key areas we have focused upon include our customer service program for store associates, with a new model launched in 2019; in-store repair work order management, with a new platform coming in 2020; website experience, with a new platform coming in 2021; and even store site selection criteria.”

Kollm said response from customers to curbside pickup has been overwhelmingly positive. 

“Since COVID-19 became a regular part of our daily customer experience, we have seen the highest net promoter scores (NPS) in the history of our program with record high response rates,” he stated. “Customers appreciate what our stores are doing to continue to be able to serve our communities during this time, and that positive feedback is highly motivating for those teams to continue to stay engaged.”

Editor’s note: To read more about Batteries Plus Bulbs’ curbside pickup program, click here.

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