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Study: How to drive satisfaction, win more customers for online pickup

Short wait times and other factors drive retail, grocery and restaurant customer satisfaction when it comes to picking up goods ordered online.

That’s according to the Rakuten Ready 2020 Time Study, which reflects the growing influence on customer loyalty driven by the online pickup experience since the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic.Since shelter in place restrictions were enacted in many parts of the U.S. in March, the volume of online order for pickup transactions increased by over 200%. More than 82% of consumers said they have used the service to purchase from restaurants, grocery stores and other retailers in the last six months.

"Order for pickup is a differentiator helping merchants enhance customer loyalty in the pandemic and will continue to provide a competitive advantage in a post-pandemic world," said Jaron Waldman, co-founder and CEO of Rakuten Ready. "Our study underscores that merchants have a tremendous opportunity to grow traffic and revenue by redefining and optimizing their order for pickup experience to adjust for consumer worries and gain their trust."

The study found that reducing customer wait times for pickup continues to be a key factor for producing long-term customer loyalty. But the pandemic has made it even more important for consumers to spend as little time as possible in stores waiting to pick up orders. This extends the trend identified in last year's report that found customers who wait under two minutes for an order are four times more likely to repeat purchase from the same retailer or restaurant. 

While speed is crucial to a superior pickup experience, new data in this year's study suggests that retailers who fall short on wait times may be able to compensate with other factors. Brand loyalty, ease of process and uniqueness/value of products also contributed to customer satisfaction for brands that scored poorly on wait times.

"Our research found that time is precious for consumers, but overall satisfaction with the order for pickup experience hinges on more than speed alone," said Waldman. "Delivering a seamless pickup experience from start to finish is key to customer retention and satisfaction - starting from the moment a customer chooses a pickup option to the final step of safely picking up their order."

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