Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US last year, all sorts of businesses have pivoted to more creative ways of meeting customer demands. In hindsight, some of these innovative approaches were no-brainers that could have improved both sales and customer experience long ago. Others, depending on your business and business model, are honestly a bit of an inconvenience — though a necessary one to weather this pandemic and its economic effects.
The Rising Popularity of Curbside Pickup
Curbside pickup has been a popular addition over the past year, and it’s one we believe is here to stay for grocery and some types of retail businesses.
We recently surveyed 500 US shoppers, and the survey results were eye-opening. More than half of respondents have used curbside pickup in the past year, and 80% of those did so because of COVID-19.
Here’s the kicker: 65% of those who have changed their habits plan to continue even once the pandemic has subsided.
Are you interested to learn more about what curbside pickup is, how it works and what benefits it can bring to your customers and business operations? Below, we’ll walk through the details and what kind of opportunities it has to offer.
What is Curbside Pickup and How Does it Work?
Curbside pickup usually starts on your website, although some smaller retailers may also initiate curbside orders over the phone. The customer uses your website to select the needed items, creating an order that’s designated as curbside pickup.
From there, staff at your store fulfills the order, picking and bagging items ahead of the customer’s arrival. The customer is usually given a window (say, 30 minutes) during which to arrive.
When customers arrive to pick up their orders, they either check in online or via app or call the number you’ve posted in front of the store. They either pull up curbside or park in designated pickup spaces a la Walmart. An employee takes the order out and loads it into the customer’s vehicle, and the process is done.
When curbside pickup orders initiate online, customers may pay for the order when placing it. Assuming you already have an e-commerce system set up, this is typically the simplest way how you can start with the implementation of pickup operations.
Customers could also pay upon arrival, but you’ll need a mobile POS to make this work. That’s very simple in some contexts and logistically challenging in others.
Add Value to Customers with Curbside Pickup
Curbside pickup adds all sorts of value to your customers. It helps health-conscious customers avoid crowds and potential COVID-19 exposure, for one. It also saves customers time, and it can be a massive benefit to customers with mobility challenges, for whom walking the length of the store could be difficult or painful.
Depending on which technologies you already have set up and integrated, adding curbside retail operations could be very simple or fairly complex. The nature and complexity of your business can make a difference here, as well.
If you wonder about how to implement curbside pickup in your business, we have good news: Anyline offers a simple-to-use barcode scanning solution that simplifies the process. Your staff can use it to pick and fulfill orders straight from any smartphone. And combined with ID scanning, you can quickly verify customers’ identities when they arrive to pick up their orders.