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What is Curbside Pickup? Best Practices, DOs & DON'Ts

What is curbside pickup and how to take advantage of it for your business? Read this article for some best practices, DOs and DON’Ts!

What-is-Curbside Pickup-cover

This has to be the best era for humanity. Why is that?


Think of it this way: you can get your hands on pretty much anything in a matter of hours, especially with services like in-store and curbside pickup.

  • You order whatever you want via apps or a website.
  • You drive up to a store and let them know you’re there.
  • You go inside to grab your package or they bring out the order to your car.
  • You go home and enjoy your products.

What a time to be alive!


It’s the age of convenience, and that means businesses need to offer a curbside pickup option to stay competitive. But what exactly is curbside pickup?


Shopping for groceries can be a hassle. You have to find time to go to the store, navigate through the aisles, and wait in line to check out.


Not only is grocery shopping a time-consuming task, but it can also be frustrating. You never know what you’re going to find on the shelves, and you have to fight through crowds of people to get what you need.


Curbside pickup is the solution for busy shoppers who want the convenience of online shopping with the ease of in-store pickups. With curbside pickup, your customers can buy from you without ever leaving your car or waiting in line at checkout.


For them, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of clicking “add to cart” on your online store. But the wait for their order to arrive can be agonizing. That’s why more and more stores are offering click-and-collect services— and you should too!


Services like in-store and curbside pickup (aka BOPIS and BOPAC) allow your customers to buy items online and pick them up at the most convenient location, most often within hours. This is especially great news for impatient shoppers.


Why Should You Offer Curbside Pickup?


Customers love the convenience of online shopping, but sometimes they don’t have time to wait for their items to be delivered. 


This is where curbside pickup comes in. It offers the best of both worlds— customers get the convenience of online shopping with the instant gratification of picking up their items themselves.


Curbside pickup is a great way to increase your customer base and keep them coming back for more. Plus, it’s an easy way to boost your bottom line without having to do much extra work.


In fact, consumer behavior has changed these past several years with U.S. BOPIS sales more than doubling in 2020 and are predicted to maintain double-digit growth rates.

Want to see in-store and curbside pickup in action?


Want to see in-store and curbside pickup in action?

How Does Curbside Pickup Work?


There’s nothing quite like the convenience of curbside pickup. Just place your order online and then drive up to the designated spot to have your purchases brought right to your car.


Curbside delivery is actually quite straightforward.


The customer places their order on your online store, chooses the curbside pickup option, and proceeds to pay online.


You receive their order and start preparing it at the store of their choice.


Ideally, you send out order status update notifications every step of the way, alongside instructions to follow upon arrival.


After the customer checks in virtually, a store associate goes out and places the order directly in the car.


Once everything is in order (quite literally), you let the customer know when and how they can pick it up.


Once your customer arrives at the parking lot or the designated area, one of your store associates can bring out their order.


And that’s how curbside pickup services work!


DOs and DON’Ts of Curbside Pickup


Online shoppers expect excellent customer service and a positive post-purchase experience, whether they’re choosing standard at home/office delivery, curbside or in-store pickup services.

End of story! 👏


If you want to meet their requirements and expectations when it comes to curbside pickup, consider the following:


✅ Do Provide Pickup & Wait Time Estimates


Take Best Buy, for example: Once you arrive at any of their physical stores and tap on the “I’m here” button, you’ll see the estimated wait time so you know exactly what to expect.

Using WeSupply, you can choose to show the average wait time that is calculated automatically as you move orders from the Ready For Pickup section to the Picked Up section.


❌ Don’t Keep Your Customers Hanging


Even if your estimated wait time is not accurate, at least you owe your customers an explanation. Make sure you reach out first and let them know if something came up and their order is taking longer than expected.


Make sure you tell them when the order is ready for pickup and if there are any delays they should be aware of. Best Buy does this exceptionally well, sending text messages every step of the customer journey:

✅ Do Remind Customers to Wait For Confirmation


Another great example from Best Buy is how they do their best to remind customers not to head to the store before they receive the Ready For Pickup confirmation.

This ensures social distancing guidelines are thoroughly followed while taking some pressure off your employees who are always in a rush to fulfill orders and meet customer expectations.


❌ Don’t Be Vague in Your Pickup Instructions


This happens to the best of us— including Target.


For instance, in the case of Target, they did not specify in advance that curbside pickup is not available in bad weather conditions. Customers find themselves in a situation in which they cannot request the product to be delivered curbside because curbside delivery is out of service at that moment due to unfavorable weather.


Make sure you let customers know about this prior to their arrival by making this clear in your pickup instructions.

✅ Do Have a Dedicated Curbside Pickup Area


What do both Target and Best Buy have in common?


They have dedicated curbside pickup areas!


That can save your store associates so much time while making the entire experience more organized for your customers. They know where to pull over and wait, and your employees know exactly where they need to arrive, rather than walking around the parking lot. See Best Buy example below:

❌ Don’t Ignore Employee Feedback

It’s no secret that curbside pickup may be inconvenient for your staff in certain situations. Your store associates may be overwhelmed unless you have an effective system in place and enough people to handle the workload.   Think of the store clerks doing front counter, running around, and being in charge of curbside delivery. Some areas might screech to a halt while they walk across the whole parking lot to meet your customers.   Take their needs and struggles into consideration and be open to an honest discussion. This way, you’ll make the entire curbside experience more convenient for your employees who will then be nicer to your customers.   Everybody wins!  

How to Implement Curbside Pickup

Setting up in-store and curbside pickup in WeSupply is as simple as it can get.   All you need to do is to:
  1. Log into your WeSupply account
  2. Upload a CSV file with all of your stores
  3. Enable Curbside & Store Pickup in the Stores section
  4. Optional: Choose another Package Update Processor (i.e., Magento)
  5. Head into the Notifications tab to enable & customize Email/SMS notifications
  6. Optional: Enable the Store Pickup Feedback functionality
For more details, check out our How to Set Up In-Store Pickup into WeSupply? article.

Conclusions on Curbside Pickup

Most people love convenience, and curbside pickup offers them exactly what they want: a quick and effective way to shop online, but without having to wait for days or even weeks in a row to have the products in their hands.

They can just pull up to the curb, and someone will load their order into their car, saving them a lot of time and hassle. This ensures customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and might even give you an advantage over your competition. Besides, all the big players in the retail industry are already doing this. It’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon!

What matters the most is to ensure a positive experience from the moment they place an order online to the moment when the customer arrives at the pickup location!

Are you ready to get started with Buy Online Pickup in Store (BOPIS) and Curbside?

Book a quick call and we are happy to chat.

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Want more details about curbside pickup in retail?

Download this guide to learn everything you need to know about BOPAC!

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