Dunkin’ Donuts, Ahold, and eBay Show New Ways to Personalize Your Shopping and Your Coffee

JOLIET, ILLINOIS / UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 31, 2015: Dunkin' Donuts is open on New Year's Eve, for people who wish to celebrate the holiday by eating doughnuts.

eBay is doing its best to make shopping – holiday or otherwise – a bit less maddening, adding recommendations and filtering to its mobile app. And it looks like we’re going to be buying more of our food online, although Amazon may turn out to be less of a player here than expected, at least in the short term. Meanwhile, we’re excited for the advent of omnichannel coffee (no joke): Dunkin’ Donuts is experimenting with letting customers order via an app, then delivering the java curbside.

Thanks to Dunkin’, the Phrase “Omnichannel Coffee” Suddenly Makes Sense

Craving your daily peppermint mocha coffee? Us too. Now, Dunkin’ Donuts has a new way to get it to you. Dunkin’ is testing a new feature for its DD Perks members, who can order their coffee on their phones and pick it up curbside at the company’s Natick, Mass. location. “Guests love the convenience of not having to get out of their cars, but some store formats (and) locations don’t allow for a drive-thru,” Sherrill Kaplan, the company’s vice president of digital marketing and innovation, explained to Mobile Commerce Daily.

Curbside pick up mimics the benefits of drive-thru ordering without the infrastructure necessary to support a traditional drive-thru. Oddly, the app isn’t using GPS or testing to tell crew members when a customer has arrived. Instead, crew members will be able to see customers arrive via camera and will then bring their orders out, according to The Boston Herald. Depending on the results of the test, curbside pick-up may roll out nationally in 2017.

Just-In-Time Personalization from eBay and Bed Bath & Beyond

Many online retailers dug deeply into personalization this year, continuing an industry-wide transformation. Among those who jumped in just before the holidays: eBay and Bed Bath & Beyond. eBay added product recommendations and search filtering to its mobile app, giving customers a more personalized and flexible shopping experience. Bed Bath & Beyond dove into old-school personalization, buying PersonalizationMall so it could offer customized products for shoppers seeking unique gift items.

Recent research confirms that new-school personalization, at least, continues to be a smart move. A fourth-quarter survey from Deloitte Consulting reports that 66% of consumers “want to manage the journey themselves, directing the ways and times in which they engage retailers rather than following a path prescribed by retailers or marketers.” The study also found that 48% of shoppers are willing to share their personal data in return for personalized service. The study concludes: “The most effective way to capture wandering shoppers is to let them engage and buy anywhere along the journey they choose.”

Amazon Is Not One To Give Up Easily, But This Looks … Challenging

Amazon Go gets the prize for futuristic grocery shopping—No lines! No cashiers!– but traditional grocery stores are winning in online sales, according to new report from industry consulting firm Brick Meets Click. The average online order for traditional supermarkets is between $120 and $180, compared with $84 for Amazon Fresh.

Online grocery shopping could be one area of online retail where traditional players may have enough of a head start to fend off Amazon, at least for a while. Still, online sales are only 2% of the $675 billion U.S. grocery market, according to Morgan Stanley, which leaves a lot of room for growth.

Personalization could be just the strategy that moves the needle. Ahold Delhaize, the owner of Peapod, Stop & Shop, Hannaford, Giant, and Eagle, is in the lead here. MediaPost reports that personalization generates 20% of sales at Ahold’s Belgian online grocer.