During the coronavirus pandemic, people are required to keep social distance to minimize the odds of being infected by COVID-19, which is a challenge for store owners, as it discourages customers from collecting their orders in shops. As an alternative, curbside pickup, gains more popularity among store owners, as it allows customers to collect the orders somewhere next to the shop.
What is Curbside Pickup
Curbside pickup is a service to let you customers collect their orders from a convenient location instead of shipping to their home. It’s similar to “Buy Online, Pick-up In Store” (BOPIS), which is also referred as “click and collect”, except that your customers won’t leave their cars and your staff put the order to customers’ cars.
Typical curbside pickup flow
In general, you customers will make payment in your online store first. Then, you will receive the order detail, usually with an email address or contact number, which you can use to contact them once the order is ready.
When the merchandises are ready for customers to collect, you notify customers by email, phone call or WhatsApp, your customers and you will discuss the best time and location for customers to collect the orders.
Your customers will drive to a storefront or pickup point you suggested at the time proposed, they will call you when they arrive. You can then send your staff to bring the order to your customers’ car and hand the order off. During the whole process, your customers will stay in the vehicles.
Why customers prefer curbside pickup
Although curbside pickup gain popularity because of pandemic, there are several factors attracting customers to choose curbside pickup.
Faster Product Delivery
More and more big players in ecommerce industry, Amazon, Walmart offer same-day delivery. Because of the convenience and reasonable membership price, more and more customers join the membership and enjoy these express deliveries. As a result, customers have higher expectations on delivery time for small stores as well.
However, not many of stores can offer such express delivery as the giants, it may due to unaffordable shipping cost or incapability of shipping carrier. This makes curbside pickup a great alternative. Once customers’ ordered goods are ready, they can go to warehouse and collect the items as soon as possible.
No shipping fees
Customers hate shipping fees because it’s less transparent to customers when they add an item to the shopping cart. Most of time, shipping fees are revealed to the customers unless they navigate to the checkout page, which may surprise the customers and let them abandon the shopping carts.
With curbside pickup, customers don’t need to pay any shopping fee, they can choose the best time for them to collect the merchandise, it provides monetary incentive and flexibility, thus more customers prefer such delivery.
Benefits of Curbside Pickup
Curbside Pickup doesn’t just benefit your customers, it also provides you an incentive to offer curbside pickup to your customers.
By adopting curbside pickup, you can save your shipping fees and packaging cost.
Save on shipping fees
In curbside pickup, customers will drive to your storefront, so you don’t need to pay your shipping carrier.
Reduce packaging cost
The purpose of packaging is to protect your products from damage during transport, handling & storage. Usually, you will put the products inside a box and fill up empty space with different kinds of filler, e.g. Shredded Tissue Paper, packing peanuts.
In curbside pickup, you will hand your orders to the customers, it can minimize of products being damaged and no packaging is needed.
Reduce product return
By shipping your merchandise to customers, you are taking the risk of sending damaged products to them too, it may due to improper handling, heat or humidity change. Besides, your customers may find any product defect. In both cases, your products become unsatisfactory to your customers and they will ask for return, it will cost you and your customers’ time and money to tackle the product return.
With curbside pickup, your customers can check their products before they leave your pick-up point. If there is a product defect, they can talk to you immediately and this can be settled easily.
No matter how good your product is, it’s pointless if your customers cannot get their products, which may happen if you try to ship your products to customers. Per report from Voxware , 69% of customers are impatient for incorrect and late deliveries, you will lose customers’ loyalty with wrong deliveries and thus sales.
In curbside pickup, you can ensure your merchandise are delivered to the customers and eliminate the possibility of missing package.
Challenges of Curbside Pickup
Although curbside pickup is advantageous to your customers and merchants, there are some difficulties to implement it correctly.
A designated area for your customers to wait
To serve customers who choose curbside pickup and drive to collect the orders, you must have an area where your customers can drive their cars. Ideally, it should be a parking lot which is near to your warehouse and low traffic so that your staff can carry the goods to customers conveniently and it avoids traffic congestion.
Effective Inventory Tracking
Without an effective inventory tracking, you can never tell customers when will the orders are ready. One of the major reasons that customers choose curbside pickup is because of faster delivery, you can’t prepare merchandises quickly or tell the customers when they should drive to the pickup point.
How to do Curbside pickup in Shopify
If you are using Shopify for your online store, you are in good hands. There is a feature “Local Pickup” in Shopify, you can enable several locations that customers can choose for collecting their orders offline in checkout page.