Announcing the ARRIVE SDK for Developers

Knowing when your customers are coming. It’s a problem that’s simple in theory, difficult in practice and more urgent than ever as physical and digital commerce continue to rapidly converge.

Today we’re proud to announce a public SDK for ARRIVE, our predictive arrival technology. ARRIVE is a tool for seamlessly bridging digital and physical worlds. It’s the first thing we built when we started the company, which made a lot of sense given our backgrounds working on location technology for iOS at Apple. Now, we’re excited to be opening it up to the broader developer community to incorporate into any iOS or Android app.

ARRIVE makes a predictive determination that someone is approaching a physical site using their smartphone, without draining their battery. ARRIVE also provides a definitive understanding of when your users are at your locations as well as visualization, metrics on how long they spend there and more. It alleviates the need for check-ins. We think of it as air traffic control for real-world locations.

The ARRIVE SDK already runs on millions of smartphones, built into the apps of Sephora, Nordstrom, Pizza Hut, CVS and many others. We’ve helped our partners service tens of millions of customer trips across thousands of locations. ARRIVE alerts our partners when their customers are approaching, allowing them to provide a premiere curbside pickup experience, better in-store service, food that’s out of the oven just as the customer pulls up, or a dressing room ready with reserved items inside when the customer walks into the store.

ARRIVE continually learns from patterns of arrivals – taking into account real-time traffic, real-world patterns of approach on road networks, and hundreds of other inputs to make a confident determination of when a customer is arriving.

THE ISSUES WITH GEOFENCES AND BEACONS

Developers sometimes assume they can use geofences or beacons to know when users are approaching (or have arrived). Several of us on the Curbside team worked on iOS geofencing technology, and one reason we built ARRIVE is that we understood geofencing’s limitations for mission-critical use cases.

Geofences are a distance-based technology, essentially setting up a radius around a location. If the radius is too large, you’ll get false alerts when customers aren’t really on their way. If the radius is too small, alerts are likely to occur after the customer has already arrived, if at all. ARRIVE gives a time-based notification, which corresponds to a very different distance in a dense urban area than it does if the customer is approaching on a freeway in the suburbs.

Beacons also don’t work for mission-critical arrival alerts – some 40% of users disable Bluetooth on their devices (42% of Curbside app users disable Bluetooth; other app developers also report rates between 35% and 45%). Even when Bluetooth is on, beacons have a high failure rate for outdoor use and can be painful to deploy and maintain.

ARRIVE is built to help people creating apps around physical world locations to overcome the limitations of geofences and beacons.

UNDERSTAND AND INVENT

The ARRIVE dashboard offers real-time visibility and analytics on customer trips, including valuable statistics such as how long users are spending at a location or how long they are waiting for an action (like an order handoff) to complete. Alerts and customer trip status can be consumed wherever and however you want, with an SDK for native apps and a REST API and webhooks for desktop, web, or other systems like point-of-sale. Or you can use the ARRIVE Console to get alerts, visualize trips, and close out orders.

At Curbside, we focus on helping our partners build great experiences without aggregating and selling their users’ location data for advertising purposes. As digital and real-world commerce continue to blend, new opportunities to innovate on customer experience are opening up across retail, food, hospitality, travel and other domains. We built ARRIVE to help you explore those applications. We know there are many more possibilities than we could ever dream up, which is why we’re so excited to be putting this tool into the hands of the developer community today.

What could you do if you knew exactly when your customers was arriving, every time? We can’t wait to see. Contact us to learn more about how ARRIVE can help your business.

Amazon and Whole Foods partnership

Amazon + Whole Foods: Quick Convenience Coming to a Location Near You

Making local stores shoppable from their digital properties has been a key strategy for retail leaders serving customers who increasingly start their shopping online. With Whole Foods becoming a part of Amazon, connected stores will fast become table stakes in the competitive retail industry. Amazon has long competed on selection, price and logistics. Connected stores with same hour convenience in 450 locations are likely on the way.

The strategy is simple — offer mobile shoppers a quick and convenient way to shop online from local store inventory. Build the experience into a mobile app, often promoted through a loyalty program. Let the store become an efficient pickup point. Promote and reward regular in-store shopping trips. Offer curbside pickup in an hour or less for time-crunched customers who like quick convenience. Retailers like CVS who have established these programs are better prepared to compete with Amazon. They have a head start offering new options that are likely to come to Whole Foods locations in their trading areas.

Amazon has been a tough competitor, but has largely struggled to gain traction with quick convenience. In most markets, Amazon has not been able to offer immediate gratification to the consumer. Amazon has had difficulty fulfilling digital orders in an hour. That is likely to change, if several of the programs currently piloted by Amazon come to Whole Foods locations.

This news is a call to action to refine current order ahead programs or get a branded, connected store program quickly in place. Fortunately, there are best practices, mature technologies and great metrics that allow retailers to scale these programs quickly. The key for the retailer is to choose the experiences that are right for their customers, consistent with their brand and sustainable over time.

At Curbside, we work with retailers and restaurants on digital ordering programs that deliver quick convenience to consumers. We offer a full suite of products, including a white label platform for digital ordering and a pick/pack tool for efficient fulfillment. We connect apps and websites to local stores. We have a passion for developing great new customer experiences for the digital age. With the news today, that digital age is coming more quickly.

Curbside Partners with Yelp Enabling On-the-Go Convenience

As consumer shopping behavior continues to evolve towards mobile, it’s become increasingly important for merchants to connect with their customers where they spend a lot of the time – on their phones on leading digital properties. At Curbside, we build products that bridge the gap between digital and local, making it faster and easier for consumers to find and pick up products at local retail stores and restaurants.

Today, we’re announcing that Curbside has partnered with Yelp to power for the first time ever a feature that will enable consumers to shop within Yelp. They will pick up their items at a local store, within an hour, without ever having to get out of the car. Yelp with Curbside pickup marks a huge opportunity for retailers and restaurants. Local stores can now streamline the shopping experiences for Yelp users by bringing locally available products and promotions into Yelp and offering a quick pick-up experience which is so convenient for today’s busy consumers. Yelp wants to expand its deep local connections to more restaurant locations and to traditional retail stores.

The functionality will expand nationwide to thousands of CVSs across the United States where Curbside pickup is already available. This partnership will now provide CVS customers with another convenient way to buy and pick up their products on the go through an app they already use to connect with great local businesses. We’ll also be adding additional retailers and businesses, including Pizza Hut, which is currently live in select markets and will be expanding in the coming months.

At Curbside, we know that retailers and restaurants focus a lot of resources to bring consumers to their properties. We want to offer a way for local merchants to extend their offerings into digital properties like Yelp, where consumers already are spending a great deal of their screen time. This is the beginning of a number of partnerships that will help retailers and restaurants reach customers on any mobile device, however they prefer to shop.

Jaron Waldman, Co-founder and CEO

Shoppers are Moving Online and Away from Stores

During the 2016 Black Friday weekend, 10 million more Americans shopped online than the year before. The record-breaking shopping spree generated $3 billion in online sales with more than $1 billion through mobile. And store foot traffic suffered as a result, “overall for the month of December, store traffic was down 13.4 percent, with corresponding decline in sales of 10.7 percent. The result of the 2016 holiday shopping season as a whole was that online sales completed on smartphones reached an all-time high, increasing 23% over 2015 mobile sales.

With the seismic shifts taking place in consumer shopping habits, it’s imperative that retailers evolve their offerings to provide shoppers with what they need, when they need it. While investing in online offerings could be seen as a direct threat to in-store sales, the opposite is actually true: investing in transparent inventory, operational success and seamless fulfillment will improve the customer omni-channel experience.

We recommend the following immediate steps for retailers to achieve omni-channel success:

Invest in accurate, real-time inventory management across all stores and channels.  Accurately knowing what items are on the shelf will allow retailers to unlock inventory for local shoppers to find and buy online and from their mobile devices. Querying inventory across thousands of SKUs at hundreds of stores at scale is a difficult technical problem.  Partnering with technologies that analyze and predict draw-down patterns while incorporating real-time store employee feedback will give your customers confidence that the item they select will be in stock at their local store when they arrive.

Reorient and train staff to fill orders quickly using pick-and-pack technology to prepare items for pickup. By empowering their workforce with flexible tools to fill online orders, retailers can recapture shoppers that have moved from in-store shopping to online.

Building the “Connected Store” is The Future of Retail

The future of retail is in creating the “connected store” – a reimagined hybrid store/fulfillment center that blends the digital and physical in a shopping experience that meets the needs of shoppers’ hectic, on-the-go lifestyle. That means having a mobile shopping experience with a seamless, one-click checkout and instantaneous fulfillment. It means getting shoppers what they want, when they want it. The opportunity cost of not being omni-channel today, according to research in the 2015 RIS/EKN Customer Engagement Tech Trends Study, is 10% in lost revenue.

Connected retail isn’t just a set of random point solutions, such as an improved mobile app. It’s having an integrated connected system with two seamless touchpoints – perfect online and in-store experiences for shoppers.

The Curbside platform is built from the ground up to provide four foundational pieces needed to connect a network of retail stores. Retailers can choose just the pieces they need or opt for the entire solution to move quickly on lighting up siloed brick and mortar locations.

  1. Inventory. Curbside helps retailers tackle the difficulty of knowing what is available in-store with its predictive inventory search capabilities.
  2. Knowing the Shopper is Coming. Curbside enables reliable, delightful curbside pickup experiences by leveraging the shopper’s smartphone to notify store associates when they approach.
  3. Pick and Pack. Curbside builds best-in-breed tools for store associates to fill orders in the store.
  4. E-commerce. Curbside powers a seamless shopping experience for retailers’ web and mobile apps, making brick and mortar stores available to online shoppers.

Click and collect is a key survival tool for retailers to capitalize on their biggest strength. For more information on how Curbside works and how it’s powering the future of retail, contact us here or at sales@curbside.com.

Download the full whitepaper here.

 

 

Surviving in the Age of Amazon

Amazon dominates online sales

In 2016, Amazon accounted for 55% of product searches and 53% of e-commerce growth.

Amazon is also aggressively optimizing home delivery, reducing wait times, as well as high shipping costs by doubling down on their investments in fulfillment centers.

Matching the billions of dollars of investment in fulfillment centers is likely impossible even for the largest brick-and-mortar retailers.  So how can retailers stave off potential extinction in a world where most consumers are starting their shopping journey online? It starts with something that frequently has been identified as a weakness of traditional retail, physical stores themselves.

 

Connect Your Stores to Mobile

Decades of investments in physical store locations located along the corridors on which we live, work and travel provide brick-and-mortar retailers the right strategic points of presence to meet consumers online and fulfill quickly using them as forward-deployed “fulfillment centers”. However, retailers’ stores have not yet been connected to good online experiences. Omni-channel and flexible fulfillment efforts across the retail landscape have been weak, leveraging technology platforms that were not designed for fulfillment from stores.  Consumers need seamless online experiences, paired with flawless execution at the physical store.

The clock is ticking for retailers to capitalize on their their physical stores.  For more information on how Curbside works and how it’s powering the future of retail, contact us and read the full white paper now.

 

Consumer Habits And The Retail Landscape Are Changing

Across most retail verticals, the long term viability of physical stores is being called into question. In 2016, a comScore/UPS study marked the first time consumers made more of their purchases — 51% — online than in stores, a number that will only continue to rise. Consumers are increasingly starting their shopping journey online, and at the same time are  mobile, on-the-go, and seeking instant gratification. Delivery times, a source of friction for consumers that shop online, are now dropping down to just 1 to 2 days or less as Amazon has led the charge in providing the most cost-effective and convenient way for consumers to get everything they need.

Retailers must evolve to meet the changing demands of consumers and they need to do it fast because Amazon is accelerating their domination of the online channel, where most consumers begin their shopping journey.  

To get this right, brick-and-mortar retailers must:

  • Be fast. Quickly put in place a core set of capabilities that deliver convenient, frictionless online shopping experiences around local stores.
  • Be future-focused. Go on the offensive by leveraging their proximity to shoppers,  having their order ready, ideally in under 30 minutes, a feat even Amazon struggles to match in a cost-effective way.
  • Be dedicated. Conduct fulfillment at local stores flawlessly, using a set of highly efficient software tools.   

For more information on how Curbside works and how it’s powering the future of retail, contact us. To learn more about how retailers can compete in the Age of Amazon, sign up now to read the white paper “Click and Collect: Not if, but when and how.”

Curbside at National Merchant Day in NYC

New York City, NY. – February 16, 2017 – Curbside, reinventing the local shopping experience for the era of instant mobile commerce, will participate in National Merchant Day, hosted by PYMNTS.com. Showcasing Arrive™, Curbside’s arrival detection software, retailers can reliably be notified when shoppers are on approach, enabling a quick and efficient pickup experience for millions of products across thousands of retail locations.

Jaron Waldman, CEO and Co-Founder, will take the main stage Thursday, February 16, 3:05pm to discuss the future of brick-and-mortar stores and instant mobile gratification to convert shoppers into buyers. NMD attendee’s get 50% off Curbside’s platform free for 3 months. Visit us at our booth to learn more.

Delivered with Uber

Curbside offers retailers the option to integrate Delivery with Uber through our platform. By doing so, retailers can offer their brick and mortar stores an efficient and cost effective way to provide same-day delivery options to customers without the overhead costs. Now you can meet the demands of your customers where and when it’s most convenient for them.

Curbside has teamed up with Uber to make delivery from local retailers quick and easy.

  1. Shoppers can order everything they need from local stores, either online, through the free Curbside app, or through a custom white label shopping solution.
  1. The shopper can choose from Curbside pickup or Delivery with Uber at checkout. The order will be prepared and delivered within 3 hours after being placed.
  1. When the delivery is on its way, Curbside sends a link to track the order and will let the customer know as soon as the delivery arrives.

Delivery with Uber is available on the Curbside platform. To find out how to add delivery to your locations, contact us and try the service out at a store near you.