Immediacy and speed are becoming table stakes in the battle to win consumers. Across industries and channels, consumers increasingly expect shorter wait times. Consider the recent proliferation of venture-backed delivery start-ups, like Gopuff and Jokr, which entice urban residents with promises of 15-minute delivery times.
Traditional grocers haven’t been spared from this trend. Whether shopping in-store or picking up an online order, consumers value their time. Data from Bain’s NPS Prism® benchmarking platform reveals that customers are only willing to spend up to one minute looking for staff to help, up to five minutes checking out, and up to 10 minutes picking up an in-store or curbside order (see Figure 1).
When customers wait longer than these “drop-off” points, their Net Promoter Score℠—a measure of their likelihood to recommend a store or brand—tends to decline (see Figure 2). This is especially true for laggard grocers, whose customers experience longer wait times across the board.
Some grocers, however, are keeping pace with customers and reaping the rewards. When it comes to curbside pick-up, Stop & Shop, Wegmans, Food Lion, Fred Meyer, and Publix lead the way (see Figure 3). These grocers have wait times of less than 10 minutes for almost 95% of their customers. Industry laggards, on the other hand, meet that expectation only around 80% of the time.
Of course, speed isn’t the only thing grocers need to get right for a smooth curbside pickup experience. Shoppers also want easy points of contact and an accurate, well-packed order—having all cold items packed together, for instance. In addition, there are ways to make up for long waits: For example, NPS Prism data shows friendly and knowledgeable staff can dramatically improve customer satisfaction with online pickups and in-store shopping.