Thinking Outside the Big Box

Analytics/ Analysis

Step back and hear me out on this one.

While not a direct hit with the Managed Services Provider (MSP) small and medium business (SMB) space, it’s a technology story at its core: curbside pick-up.

First my journey. I recently started using curbside pick-up at a local grocery store “HEB” in the Austin, TX area. I am sold and will minimize my in-store visits moving forward. Here are a couple take aways.

Accuracy. The customer experience for online ordering has been awesome. The “stuff” I wanna buy is easy to find online. Also – there is an order history so I can simply repeat the last order (like copy-and-paste) and then make simple modifications.

Avoiding Impulse Buys. We all do it at some level. An end-of-aisle promo has us picking up unnecessary and perhaps unwanted items as an impulse buy. Basically, by targeting my purchases in advance online – I more than save the curbside fee by not over buying!

Time Saver. This is two-fold. First – there is “no wandering ‘round” looking for a spice packet or a sauce can that I’m simply not seeing or feeling. Trust me. I’ve gotten lost in stores before! The other aspect is that I can schedule the pick-up time with a 30-min window. That allows me to better plan my days.

Easy Pleasey. This customer experience just works. Born out of the pandemic where person-to-person contact was minimized, the logistics are very simple. They just place the groceries in my rear seat of my VW Golf station wagon. If you haven’t done this before, thee process is simple. You simply text a number with your parking spot location (as seen in the pic) and they resolve your order based on your mobile telephone number.

curbside pickup2

Curbside Fees. For me, the convenience fee is $4.95 to engage a personal shopper to trot around and gather everything. That’s cheap money folks. And it’s one of the few retail purchases where you aren’t asked to add on a tip (is that getting out of control or what?).

Tech implications

The geeks impacted by this are the Point-of-Sale (POS) Value-Added Resellers (VARs). Their lively hood is based on retail check-out names where they provide POS solutions and often participate in a cut of the “payments” flying by.

“Curbside pick-up and other technologies related to self-service are perhaps the fastest growing area in grocery and retail IT, so it’s a great opportunity for VARs and MSPs,” said Jim Roddy, President & CEO of the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA). “Solutions providers often pitch their technology will help protect a client or make them more efficient. Curbside pick-up is a technology that improves the customer experience and increases customer loyalty which ultimately leads to more revenue for the end user. That pitch will make the decision maker at any grocery store or retailer perk up.”

Hopefully this blog helped expand your thinking beyond hardcore infrastructure and cybersecurity where we spend like all of our time it seems as MSPs. Thanks for reading!