Customers look forward to convenience and speed when it comes to online shopping; they expect to buy online and pick up the same day. One service that offers the exact solution customers need is curbside pickup.
But how can retailers add this service to their business?
This article will go over the ins and outs of curbside pickup and provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to implement this service for your ecommerce business.
Curbside Pickup Meaning
Curbside pickup is a type of retail order fulfillment that allows customers to order online and pick up at a designated location. Unlike traditional buy online and pickup in-store the same day, curbside pickup allows customers to drive to the location of their choice, park in a designated area, and wait in the vehicles for the store staff to bring their orders to them.
The curbside service is not new. In fact, it can be traced back to 1921 when the Texas chain, The Pig Stand, introduced Carhop. This service has grown popular in recent years due to the rise of ecommerce and the increasing demand for fast delivery. Major retailers such as Walmart, Target, and Nordstrom have quickly embraced curbside pickup service; for those just getting started or expanding, there are also possibilities to provide curbside pickup service to customers to enhance sales and satisfaction.
How to Set up Curbside Service: Step-by-Step Guide
Curbside pickup makes online shopping cheaper and more efficient for customers. However, if not operated properly, it may negatively affect customer experience and lead to a loss of sales for merchants. So, let's dive into the specifics of how to provide curbside service to customers.
Step 1: Location, location, location!
The very first step in setting up curbside pickup is to designate the order collection location for customers. Depending on your business, you may choose to make your store, warehouse, or any other site that is convenient for both you and your customers the designated location pickup point.
Remember that while choosing a pickup location, you should consider aspects such as area accessibility, safety, parking availability, the ease with which clients can pick up their orders, and the cost for you to operate on that location in the long term. Also, consider installing signage to guide your customers to the pickup location and provide clear instructions on how the process works.
Step 2: Efficiency is the key!
Streamline your operation process! Efficient order fulfillment is essential for a successful curbside pickup service. Examine your current fulfillment process thoroughly, find out the pros and cons, keep the pros, and make necessary adjustments to the cons to ensure smooth operations.
Evaluate the business scale and the corresponding workloads of your team. If there’s too much work, then consider integrating your inventory systems with your online platform so that your backend dashboard accurately reflects real-time stock availability at each store location.
A POS system can be a wise choice because it allows you to easily manage curbside pickup orders, track inventory, and send notifications to customers. It can help you stay organized, efficiently process orders, and provide timely updates to customers about their pickup status.
Step 3: Always provide clear instructions
To ensure a satisfied pickup experience, provide clear processes and procedures for both your customers and staff.
Create guidelines on what customers need to do when they arrive for pickup. This may include calling or texting the location, providing their order number, etc. In the meantime, train your staff on how to prepare orders for pickup, how to communicate with customers, and how to handle any potential issues that may arise. It’s your job to provide them with the necessary tools and technology to streamline the process.
Step 4: Spread the word–promote your curbside service
Now you have the service ready, it’s time to spread the word about it!
To promote your curbside service, leverage digital marketing channels to reach your target audience. Update your website to highlight curbside pickup as an option during the checkout process. Create dedicated landing pages that provide detailed information about the service and its benefits.
Additionally, use email marketing campaigns to inform your existing customers about the availability of curbside pickup and any promotional offers associated with it. Leverage social media platforms to showcase customer testimonials, behind-the-scenes footage of order preparation, and exclusive offers for curbside pickup customers.
Step 5: Customers’ voice matters: Improvements and expansion
The only way to improve your service is to listen to customers.
Customer feedback is invaluable for improving your curbside pickup service. You should actively seek feedback from customers through online and offline surveys, reviews, or post-pickup follow-up emails. Analyze their feedback to identify trends and areas for improvement. Make adjustments to your processes, procedures, and communication based on customer feedback to improve the overall curbside service.
You should evaluate the performance of your curbside pickup service on a regular basis; examine key metrics such as customer satisfaction ratings, order fulfillment time, and repeat purchase rates. Use this data to find areas for growth. Consider expanding your curbside pickup service to additional locations to reach more people or introducing new features to further enhance the customer experience.
Step 6: Stay updated with industry trends
Curbside pickup is an evolving service, so it's critical to continuously optimize the procedure to stay ahead of client expectations.
As a retailer competing in the ecommerce market, you should keep up to date with the industry news and technological advancements for curbside pickup. And when needed, implement new features or technology, such as mobile app integration, that improve the consumer experience. Also, don't forget to review and update your curbside pickup policies, procedures, and training materials to ensure they are in line with changing client demands and expectations.
What are the Benefits of Curbside Service
Implementing curbside service brings a wide range of benefits. But what are they exactly? The advantages of curbside pickup are manifold; now, let's look at some of them together!
Convenience is the new name of the game in today’s retail market. By offering curbside pickup, you provide customers with a hassle-free, time-saving option. For customers with mobility challenges or those with young children or pets, curbside pickup provides added convenience by eliminating the need to enter the store. They can choose to pick up their orders on their own terms, without having to wait for delivery or set foot inside a store. This enhanced convenience can lead to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.
If you own a business with both online and offline presence, curbside is a powerful tool to help you integrate both channels. Adding curbside service to your business bridges the gap between all your online and offline channels. Customers can do research and buy on any online channel you support and physically pick the product up at a convenient time and location. This approach can be a great way to build customer loyalty and promote your brand.
Shipping costs can quickly pile up for businesses, especially for smaller retailers. By offering curbside pickup, you can save a lot on shipping and packaging expenses. Customers who choose curbside pickup no longer require shipping service, which could help reduce associated costs. Additionally, since customers can visually confirm their order before leaving the pickup location, the need for costly return shipping can also be minimized.
Is Curbside Pickup Right for Your Business?
Assessing Your Business Needs
A slight change in operation can lead to a significant influence, both good and bad, on your current business as well as customer experience. so, before adding curbside service, you should evaluate your business’ needs and see if it fits with your overall strategy. Consider factors such as the nature of your products, your target audience, and your current operational status.
Curbside pickup may be more suitable for certain types of products, such as groceries, where customers may prefer to handpick their items. It's also important to consider whether your target audience would benefit from curbside pickup and if it corresponds to their preferences and expectations.
Evaluating the Feasibility of Implementation
The successful implementation of curbside pickup requires careful planning and consideration of various logistical problems. Evaluate if your physical store locations have adequate space for curbside pickup, including designated parking areas and clear signage. Also, evaluate if your team is capable of handling the extra tasks associated with curbside pickup, and whether your inventory and order management systems can integrate seamlessly with the new fulfillment method.
If you are certain that you can manage curbside pickup services well, it might be worth a try. Giving your customers the option to buy products online and pick them up at the curb can help you build a strong relationship with them and make your retail shop stand out from the competition.
Once you are ready to move ahead, join Shoplazza to provide your customers with the convenience they desire!