What's in store for online shopping? If recent trends are any indication, businesses and consumers are looking for more ways to shop than ever before.
The intersection of online shopping, mobile commerce (m-commerce) and in-store purchases is quickly changing how consumers shop, and blurring the lines between online and offline sales channels into one, unified customer experience.
For a while now, stores like Best Buy, Walmart and Target have allowed customers to place orders online and then pick them up at a local store. Now, online e-commerce giant Amazon and mobile retail companies Curbside and Square are following suit, potentially changing the way retailers and restaurants do business in the future. [5 Trends That Are Shaping Mobile Commerce]
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday (Oct. 10) that Amazon will be opening its first brick-and-mortar store in Manhattan, just in time for the holiday season. The company plans on using the physical location to let customers pick up orders that they've made online, as well as handle same-day deliveries, returns and exchanges.
It isn't clear yet whether Amazon will also be using the physical retail space to hold inventory and fulfill order pickups for local businesses already selling on Amazon, but two other companies are prepared to do so. Here's how the Curbside and Square Order mobile apps can help your business.
You've probably heard of curbside orders at restaurants: You place a to-go order by phone or online, but instead of going inside to pay for and pick up your food, a server brings it out to you curbside. Now, the same thing is possible for brick-and-mortar retailers.
This week, Curbside launched its mobile app, which lets customers place orders on their mobile phones for same-day pickup. Customers can either enter the store to pick up their items, or head to a local Curbside location. For the latter, a Curbside rep will have already prepared the purchase and will even bring it out to your car or essentially act like a drive-through service.
According to its CrunchBase profile, Curbside works by searching real-time inventory of partner stores, allowing customers to make purchases straight from the app on their mobile phones. The app then uses location-based technology to alert stores when customers are on their way for pickup.
If you own a restaurant or café, the updated Square Order app can make your customers very happy.
Part of Square's mobile, e-commerce and point-of-sale business solutions, the Square Order iOS and Android app lets customers skip the line — and the wait — by allowing them to place orders on their mobile phones.
Now, the new arrival feature makes it possible to determine exactly when a customer will be there to pick up his or her food. That way, the food is ready right when they arrive — not sitting in a to-go box on the counter, getting cold and stale because you have no idea exactly when it will be picked up.
With this new feature, the Square Order app can help businesses better manage their time and flow. And because they know exactly when a customer will arrive, they can also make sure they are serving the quality drinks and meals that best represent their establishment.