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Going Curb-side: A Contactless Shopping Story

My Curb-side shopping experience and where this industry is heading. by Rachel Hammermueller, Content Writer

Ironically, the week I write about the changing retail experience is the week I experience several different ones myself. From independent bulk food stores to restaurant take-out to large grocery chains, my week has been a study in the many approaches businesses are taking to comply with social distancing guidelines, and providing an ideal customer experience in the wake of COVID-19.

Photo by Erik Mclean

Take last night’s dinner for example. We ordered sushi from a restaurant and while most restaurants are utilizing the “click & collect” style, this one was not. I walked in, and the take-out bags were lining the table at the front of the restaurant. Instead of knowing which order was mine, the hostess physically took my phone to see my order number, strangely carried it to their kitchen to check they had all my items, and gave it back to me. After having to rapidly Lysol-spray my phone, I considered how this experience could have been safer. The day before, while picking up a bulk food order from a popular grocery chain, I had to call the store once I was in the parking lot, give them the make of my car, and then they kindly put the order directly into my trunk.

We have to consider how to minimize friction on the logistics of this new consumer-norm. Social distancing, curb-side, and click & collect are not trends that are going to fade come autumn. So what should the retail and shopping experience be in this new reality?

PC Express and Ikea are two examples of companies offering click & collect and curb-side pickup. Most websites follow a similar cadence: select store, pickup time, begin shopping, deliver to car. My aunt had a problem where her grocery order had ambiguity on an item, so a store employee had to call her twice to confirm her product choice. This isn’t practical for the business or the customer, and a practice like this can’t last the long term as more customers opt for this contactless option. The experience should be streamlined, keeping safety a top priority for worker and consumer.

I’d love an app that I can order my groceries through, define my pickup location and time, and use this app to notify the store who I am and where I am upon pickup. Many retailers and restaurants are already making head way on this — but the process could be more user-friendly — that’s our end game as software development firms, isn’t it?

TribalScale curb-side pickup design. See more on our Dribbble

Those who design and implement end-to-end user experiences that make shopping in a COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 world smooth and even enjoyable will be what companies lead this new “touchless” market. Taking into consideration various factors like how different demographics use an app, a human-centred design and development approach is critical. Awhile back we wrote a blog about our idea for the Dashero app that allows drivers and passengers to order goods via voice capabilities from their car and retrieve it curb-side. I say to companies, use this concept as a guiding light. TribalScale is thinking our way through these considerations in order to partner with companies and strategize how to best solve these consumer problems, because they are no longer hypothetical. Our Designers have even created several curb-side pickup app screens as a visual example.

Here are the key points we’re considering to develop these ideas into reality:

  • How do we minimize friction on logistical steps of the click & collect process in eCommerce like plugging in my address to order sushi nearby?
  • How can restaurants better prepare and assist via app the non-curb-side pick up method to avoid my phone coming into contact with a worker?
  • Creating cool user profiles so people can easily find the product they want to order or reorder; and,
  • Integrate said ordering app with touch-free capabilities, such as voice or gesture controls, to minimize the amount of Lysol wipes I have to use!

Rachel is the Content Writer here at TribalScale. She works to write alluring content that reflects the focus, goals, and values of our workplace. When she’s not writing about tech or culture, she often re-watching British TV shows.

TribalScale is a global innovation firm that helps enterprises adapt and thrive in the digital era. We transform teams and processes, build best-in-class digital products, and create disruptive startups. Learn more about us on our website. Connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn & Facebook!




Not a massive development shop, VC firm, or design agency. But a unique group of skilled individuals, all feeding on one another’s talent. Empowering businesses to grow their success.

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