CALGARY — Now that the Canadian economy is showing signs of reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some companies are rejoining the retail market to provide services once more.
IKEA Canada, which closed all of its locations coast-to-coast on March 16, is now offering curbside pickup for customers in every province except Quebec. That province’s stores are expected to launch the service on May 11.
Curbside pickup won’t be available Sundays, the company says in a release, and all customers who choose the option will be charged an additional $5.
All stores are still closed to customers for the time being.
“We thank customers for their patience as our teams work hard to take the necessary steps and precautions to ensure a safe, warm welcome back to store for our co-workers and customers,” IKEA Canada said.
The company says the curbside pickup fee is the same charge associated with their “click and collect” service that was in place before the pandemic.
“So to be clear, while we temporarily suspended Click & Collect and are now relaunching a contactless Curbside version, the fee has not changed,” wrote Kristin Newbigging, IKEA Canada spokesperson, in an email. “This is a flat rate fee, so you can Click & Collect an entire kitchen if you wish.”
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says many Canadian retailers have adopted the practice of curbside pickup to help with sales. It says if business want to charge associated fees, they need to make it clear to customers on advertising materials.
“It should also be communicated to consumers from the moment they call in or place an order online,” says Shawna-Kay Thomas with the BBB serving southern Alberta and east Kootenay in an email to CTV News. “If customers are faced with an undisclosed charge at the point of pick-up or when they cash out online, it can be very frustrating and may be a turn off for many.”
No ‘business as usual’
The BBB says the new option of curbside pickup should be seen as an opportunity for retailers to make up lost sales but also a way to build relationships with customers.
With customers having been stuck at home for weeks in some situations, many are eager to make connections. So, when businesses offer positive experiences, they build customer loyalty.
The BBB says businesses can also benefit from curbside pickup services by:
- Providing hassle-free ordering and ensure all orders are filled correctly
- Pay attention to your brand values and always communicate it with customers
- Make the experience enjoyable by using lighting during evening hours and possibly even radio advertising to reduce perceived wait times
- Train all employees tasked with curbside pickup protocols properly
- Update all online information including your business’ product inventory, curbside pickup availability and any promotions
- Make sure all the directions for customers who have requested curbside pickup are clear and concise to prevent any confusion
The BBB says all businesses and their employee must always remember to adhere to proper health and hygiene practices as well. For those in need of some guidance in that area, the agency has offered a toolkit to help out.
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