With how the pandemic reshaped the e-commerce landscape, consumers are looking for safer, more convenient ways to access their essential goods. As businesses continue to adjust from supply chain issues, a new form of order fulfillment has taken over called curbside pickup.
More and more retailers are offering curbside pickup as part of their order fulfillment as it helps with meeting consumer demands. Customers can order online and pick up their orders locally, allowing faster product acquisition than traditional shipping methods.
In this article, we’ll discuss the value of curbside pickup in today’s market and how you can successfully implement it as part of your business strategy.
What is curbside pickup?
Curbside pickup is an order fulfillment service that bridges the gap between physical and online shopping. Here, customers place their orders on a website and go to the local store to pick up the items. It’s a direct variation of the buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) service, albeit this time the customers park in a designated area and the staff hands over their orders.
According to a 2020 survey from Statista, around 48% of consumers have used curbside pickup before and during the pandemic. The survey also reveals that 20% of shoppers plan to use curbside pickup after the pandemic ends, signaling that this type of fulfillment method is here to stay.
Curbside pickup works because it limits physical interactions and is convenient for customers to shop. Given the challenges that logistics networks face, people nowadays prefer to drive to a local store than wait for delays in shipping.
Merchants also benefit from this fulfillment service because it helps drive sales and boost customer satisfaction. Popular retail giants like Walmart and Target have long offered curbside pickup to their consumers, and businesses are starting to see the value that this type of order processing brings.
Why should I use curbside pickup?
If you haven’t used curbside pickup yet, now is the perfect time to implement it into your business. Business Insider reports that click-and-collect sales went up 106% in 2020, and experts believe that consumers will continue to stick with curbside pickup in the future. Aside from generating consistent revenue, curbside pickup offers plenty of benefits to your business, such as:
1. Eliminates the delays in shipping
One of the main reasons customers lean into curbside pickup is long shipping times. Consumers have grown accustomed to speedy delivery thanks to services like Amazon Prime, and even a single day’s worth of shipping delays can make consumers feel frustrated. With curbside pickup, shoppers can order online and pick up the items anytime they wish.
With curbside pickup, both consumers and merchants can work around supply chain issues and continue to do business as the pandemic wanes. Shoppers are guaranteed their orders, and merchants secure their online sales, a win-win for both parties.
In addition to that, customers won’t have to deal with expensive shipping fees when they shop with curbside pickup. You also get to save on packaging and return fees, thus helping to widen your profit margins.
2. Minimize in-store interactions
While BOPIS remains an ideal option for fulfilling customer orders, curbside pickup is by far the most preferred option by consumers. It’s more convenient than picking up orders in-store, and it helps limit physical interactions, which is fast becoming the norm in this day and age. Your staff will be less exposed to health risks, and customers will feel more confident in shopping at your store.
3. It’s environmentally-friendly
More and more consumers are becoming aware of the environmental impacts that e-commerce brings. Thus, businesses must adapt to consumer knowledge and implement green methods of business operations to maintain relevance.
The added benefit of curbside pickup is that it minimizes your carbon footprint. You get to save on packaging materials and reduce carbon emissions from delivery vehicles. You can then leverage curbside pickup as part of your brand’s green efforts and appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.
4. It encourages local purchases
Local transactions are crucial to keeping your business afloat, especially during these trying times. Consumer behavior reflects this as shoppers realize how valuable it is to access their goods locally. Local purchases are just as important as online transactions because it helps you forge longer-lasting connections with your audience.
You can provide your customers with a timely and hassle-free shopping experience with curbside pickup. All they need to do is order online, wait at a designated parking area, and have your staff deliver their orders.
5. Diversify your order fulfillment
Customers gravitate towards brands that are flexible with their order and payment options. Thus, businesses need to diversify their order fulfillment to generate consistent revenue. For example, a customer will likely shop in a store that offers click-and-collect services than one limited to online transactions.
When you diversify your order fulfillment, you can cater to the needs of a wider audience. From there, you can strengthen your relationship with your existing customers and acquire interest from new shoppers.
Adding curbside pickup to your store
As with most things in life, preparation is key when adding a new order fulfillment method to your store. Thankfully, curbside pickup is a pretty straightforward process. All you need is to follow these simple steps, and you’ll be well on your way to providing a click-and-collect service to your customers.
1. Make sure your inventory is up to date
Before adding a curbside pickup service to your store, the first thing you need to do is check your inventory. You want to make sure that you have enough stock to accommodate the velocity of orders. The last thing you want is to run out of inventory and end up disappointing your customers.
We recommend using inventory management software so that you can sync your online and in-house inventory. Such software can also help with forecasting as it’ll help you plan for consumer demand and keep track of sales.
2. Have a solid notification system in place
A notification system is a must-have if you plan to add a curbside pickup to your store as it helps facilitate order fulfillment. A notification should pop up when a customer’s order is ready for pickup, and the same thing goes for your staff when the customer arrives at the designated parking area.
The good news is that plenty of Shopify plugins supports click-and-collect services. Take the time to review which plugin works best with your website and choose one that has a solid notification system in place.
3. Focus on employee training
Employee training is essential to implementing a curbside pickup service. Before you add it to your store, make sure your staff understands the logistics of the new order fulfillment. The goal is to maintain a steady, consistent flow with curbside pickup to maintain customer satisfaction rates.
How do you achieve this? By assigning a dedicated team to process click-and-collect orders. Each member should be well-aware of their responsibilities, whether monitoring online orders or preparing goods for hand-out.
4. Promote your curbside delivery service
Once you have the basics down, the next step is to promote your curbside delivery service. Run a marketing campaign to spread the word about your new order fulfillment. For example, you can issue a newsletter to your email list and highlight curbside delivery as one of your new offerings. You can also post on social media and inform your followers that click-to-collect services are now available in your store.
Beyond marketing, you want to optimize your website for click-and-collect orders. Highlight curbside pickup on the order page and add a few pop-up messages on your site to promote your curbside delivery service.
5. Execute your new order fulfillment
The last step is to implement your curbside delivery service to full effect. Prepare a designated parking area for order pickup, and train your team to execute the order processing and delivery hand-off. It’ll be a slow start at first, but eventually, your business will get the hang of it, and you’ll be able to sustain curbside pickup not just now but in the future as well.
Keep track of important metrics like order preparation and customer wait times. The idea behind curbside pickup is convenience, and the faster you can process orders, the more satisfied your customers will be.
The value of curbside pickup has never been higher, and now is the perfect time for businesses to take advantage of this unique opportunity. Click-and-collect services are here to stay, and curbside pickup is one example of a convenient shopping option that enhances the customer experience.
Hopefully, this article gives you an in-depth look at why curbside pickup is in high demand and how you can implement it in your store.
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