Curbside Pickup: Deployed In Six Weeks To Meet Rapid Shift In Consumer Shopping Habits

Executive Summary

As part of a business innovation initiative and as a result of sudden shifts in customer shopping habits accelerated by COVID-19, Petco, a large North American pet supply retailer, partnered with JBS to quickly get curbside pickup to its customers. The partnership was expected to increase the functionality of their mobile eCommerce app, with the goal of allowing customers to easily buy online and conveniently pick up curbside.

In order to properly fulfill curbside orders, employees had to be informed when customers were approaching and or arrived at the store location. To facilitate this, an "in-store order pick app" was developed. The app alerted employees when customers were close to the store, giving employees ample time to fulfill the order and make sure it was waiting for curbside pickup when the customer arrived.

In turn, customers needed a way to communicate when they had arrived to the employees, as well as view real-time order status - including when a Petco employee was coming out with their order. This functionality was integrated into the existing customer-facing eCommerce app.

JBS worked with multiple internal teams to coordinate the end-to-end architecture of this feature, including cross-service communication contract definitions. With close collaboration between JBS and Petco, curbside pickup went live on-time, in just six weeks. Curbside pickup now accounts for 60% of all pickup orders and generates revenue in the range of $300,000 to $400,000 weekly.

Challenges

Consumer expectations for new delivery options were already on the rise, but the 2020 pandemic made providing contactless delivery more of a necessity than a nice-to-have. This rapid shift in shopping patterns created an extremely aggressive timeline to deliver on.

The location of the user and real-time updates meant that performance and data accuracy were key areas that needed special focus. There were multiple internal systems involved:

  • mobile app
  • petco.com
  • OMS
  • in-store app

Rakuten SDK and API Integration

Once a user places a pickup order, the mobile app needed to track the user's location and detect when in proximity to the pickup location, which would trigger an alert for in-store employees. It was necessary that the Rakuten Xamarin SDK would need to be integrated quickly, and store location information would need to be loaded into the Rakuten location database to serve as a collection of possible pickup locations.

Then, the in-store app used by Petco employees would need to leverage the Rakuten API webhook event updates to know when a customer's status changed (in transit, arriving, arrived, ETA updates, etc.) so store employees could see in real-time when customers would be arriving soon or when they had arrived on-site.

How JBS Helped

JBS worked with multiple internal teams to coordinate the end-to-end architecture of this feature, including cross-service communication contract definitions (API requests to the in-store app to update user trip status for more accurate location updates and ETA). Our team successfully integrated the Rakuten Arrive SDK into the mobile app client to track GPS coordinates and handle order placement to order pickup lifecycle. This included setting up the app to respect location permissions properly, managing background service states/support, and setting up trip metadata properly so the in-store app could properly leverage Rakuten API webhook status update requests for in-store notifications/paging.

Internally, JBS developers worked together closely to ensure order and user information was aggregated and monitored in real-time for store employees to have the most up-to-date view of incoming pickups possible.

JBS helped deliver this solution through close collaboration with Petco within 6 weeks by:

  • working closely with all teams and products involved up-front to quickly establish an end-to-end architecture
  • working with UI designers and product owners to "trim the fat" and deliver viable MVP that was still robust and attractive for users
  • prototyping and integrating third-party SDKs quickly to locate and work around any technical deficiencies or requirements that would not be fully supported

Results

Using JBS’s hybrid microservices approach, microservice wrapper applications were built that exposed functionalities of legacy systems—including management of shopping cart, order, products, user profiles, payments, and more. These microservices were then supplemented with workflows to support the overall curbside pickup process.

The close collaboration between JBS and Petco resulted in a solution that provides a seamless ordering and fulfillment experience for both customers and employees and was completed and online in less than six weeks.

Curbside pickup now accounts for 60% of all pickup orders and generates weekly revenue in the $300,000 to $400,000 range. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 20% of all app orders were pickup orders. That number has since grown to an impressive 39%.