The Duck Store: In-Store Pickup
Promoting Safety. Improving Customer Experience.
In March of 2020, due to the Pandemic, The Duck Store had to temporarily close its in-store locations across Oregon and had to focus on online and in-store pickup sales.
However, the in-store locations didn’t yet have the capacity to handle the anticipated volume of orders (colloquially known as “Book Rush”) for the start of Fall term later that year. And with the amount of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 at the time, The Duck Store desperately wanted to limit the amount of interaction and exposure of customers to team members and vice versa.
In the midst of this crisis, I saw the opportunity to build an in-store pickup application which would not only allow students to safely pick up their orders, but also provide a scalable solution to the other Duck Store locations across Oregon.
Since 1920, the University of Oregon Bookstore/The Duck Store has served the book and supply needs of the University of Oregon.
With locations in Eugene and Portland, The Duck Store advances and fosters the educational goals of the University of Oregon by creating an enduring sense of community among all Ducks — past, present and future.
From what started as a solution to handle a new way of shopping during the Pandemic, the in-store pickup app that I designed has changed how students purchase their books from The Duck Store.
Specifically, the app allows customers to receive text messages and email updates on the status of their in-store order. And when customers arrive, they are able to check in via a URL or via text message.
Because of the success of the initial Book Rush in 2020, The Duck Store operations team decided to only give the option of in-store pickup when purchasing books. Currently, every Duck Store location which offers in-store pickup uses the application.
- The Duck Store
- Product Design
- Application Architecture
End-to-end Design and Development
Under such a tight deadline between March and August 2020, I needed to quickly provide mockups of both the customer-facing and employee interfaces; create a proof of concept; learn Twilio’s API; and design, develop, and test the application.
Integration with Twilio
Since the crux of the application relied upon students texting that they have arrived at the store, I needed to figure out how I would handle sending and receiving text messages. I needed an API that would integrate with the Node.js platform I was building upon. Eventually, I chose Twilio not only due to their easy-to-use API, but also because of their flexible pricing.
Optimizing the In-Store Teams
From The Duck Store’s perspective, the labor costs involved to orchestrate an in-person rush are high. For example, in the past at the Flagship location, there were usually around ten registers with team members working during the week from 8 am to 9 pm.
Now, The Duck Store can extend the time that its stores are open for Book Rush while only having three team members working. One to check in customers, one to retrieve orders, and another to receive orders.
Overall, the savings costs on the in-store pickup app continue to pay dividends.
Improving Customer Experience
In the past, customers had to stand upwards of ten to fifteen minutes in line waiting to checkout. There was even a time when The Duck Store used to have a wait line time estimate so students could optimize when they can go in-store during Book Rush.
After the launch, students can now easily pick up their order under five minutes.