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What Is Curbside Pickup and Is it Worth Implementing to My E-commerce?

May 2021
International Shipping for E-commerce platforms
Nikolay Pasholok
Product Owner, Calcurates
People having to socially distance, retailers need to find a way to deliver their goods during covid times. Curbside pickup is not a new concept and was in practice long before the pandemics. However, it reached its full potential, especially during the pandemics. Is the curbside a truly safer option than in-store pickup? 
Unlike with in-store pickup, customers do not come into a contact with staff delivering the order. Customers have a choice to ask staff to simply put the order into the back of their car. There are two big advantages to curbside pickup. One, keeping your staff and your customers safe. Second, offering curbside pickup helps retailers save on shipping and third-party courier services.

What Is Curbside Pickup?

Curbside Pickup is a delivery service that allows customers to pick up their packages from convenient locations like the parking lot of restaurants or the local stores. When using curbside pickup customers do not have to get off their vehicles. The payment is also made online and is paid for before the order is picked up.

What Is the Difference Between Curbside Pickup and In-store Pickup?

Customers place an order online from the comfort of their homes. That is the same for both delivery options. The difference is that with curbside pickup the customer doesn’t need to leave the car, whereas with in-store pickup the customer enters the store to receive the order.

How Does Curbside Pickup Work?

The order process of the curbside pickup option works similarly to ordering a meal from your local restaurant, except that there is no delivery. You will have to pick up the order yourself.

Note for retailers, remember that you can set up a curbside pick-up location directly in front of your warehouse as well. So, you don’t have to distribute goods to your store.

Ok, let’s have a look at how curbside pickup works:

Curbside Pickup
1
Order Online
The customer places an order online in their local store or restaurant. This works in a very similar way to click and collect. The customer then selects the place and the time that is the most suitable for them from the time slots offered by the store
2
Payment Method
The payment method is selected. The order is usually paid online and in advance to avoid contact between the two parties.
3
Order is Being Processed
Staff will prepare your order and let you know when it is ready to be collected. At this stage, they usually provide you with contact details to call them in case of need.
4
Notification
You will be notified by the staff member to collect the order. You will be asked to park in designated areas arranged for curbside pickup.
5
Pick Up Order
Do not forget to notify a staff member that you have arrived at the designated area to pick up the order.
Calcurates Related Features

Why Offer Curbside Pickup?

During coronavirus pandemics, it seems only logical to offer curbside pickup to your customers. Curbside pickup was a rising trend even before the pandemics. This trend will likely continue even after coronavirus.  
The Process Is Faster
Customers are used to getting their orders as fast as possible. The majority of the retailers promise quick delivery within 2 working days. With curbside pick up the demand for faster delivery only increased. Now customers expect to have their orders prepared straight after the order is made online. As there is no need for packaging and shipping, with curbside pickup customers can pretty much get their orders on the same day. 
Customer Sets Pick Up Time
Even though home delivery has many advantages, it lacks the time flexibility that curbside and in-store pickups offer. In most cases, couriers display inaccurate delivery dates and times, with expected delivery any time from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Customers can not afford to wait for the courier the whole day. What carriers lack is the estimation of accurate delivery dates at the checkout. The advantage of curbside pickup is that retailers provide you with flexible times to come and pick up your order.
Minimized Product Damage
It can happen that the goods are damaged during the shipping process, however, this will be barely the case with curbside pickup. Curbside pickup can be set up directly in front of the warehouse where all the goods are stored in. This will significantly reduce the damage inflicted on the merchandise.
No Shipping
The great advantage of curbside pickup for the retailers is that there is no shipping involved in the process. This means that there is a potential to save plenty of money on shipping costs.
Bigger Order Value
It is more comfortable for customers to order in bigger volumes to avoid coming to the store daily. Instead, consumers make a conscious decision to buy more but shop less frequently. Whether this has any effect on the business is questionable.

Can My E-commerce Afford Curbside Pickup?

The majority of sales happen when the customers walk into the store where they are tempted to browse through shelves and buy additional goods. However, as curbside is mostly popular due to pandemics, browsing through store shelves is not an option. What is ideal about curbside pickup is that it saves money on shipping costs. So what are the main factors to consider when you are thinking about setting up curbside pickup at your store?
Staff Capacity
Curbside pickup requires staff members to constantly run out of the store to put the order into the trunk of the car. Also, it requires constant assistance with parking and customer care. The key point is to have enough staff members who can run these errands for you.
Place and Location for Loading the Cars
Another important key to consider is whether you have a place where you can navigate your customers’ cars. It might be a designated parking place or less frequent roads with a sideline close to your store. Ideally, there would be some parking lot right before your store. More frequent roads are out of the question. An option might be to direct customers straight to your warehouse if there is more space for parking.
Technology Infrastructure
The curbside pickup option needs to be communicated to your customers. The best way to do so is to offer it as a delivery option at the checkout. However re-designing your website, adding plugins or software to manage your curbside pickup takes not only time but money as well. Think if you have enough money to pay for the plugin to help you manage your curbside pickup. The curbside pickup orders can be applied to an e-commerce website, mobile app, or via phone.
Sufficient Budget
For all the changes that need to be made for your store, you will need a sufficient budget. Whether we talk about the implementation of the right technology infrastructure or the employment of additional staff members, it will all require a sufficient budget.

For Which E-commerce Is Curbside Worth It? 

Any e-commerce store can implement curbside pickup. Mostly we see e-commerce stores in the food industry and gastronomy implementing curbside pickup.
Grocery Store Pickup

Summary

According to National Retail Federation, three-quarters of consumers stated that they are interested in BOPIS. Among those 90% of consumers said that curbside pickup is very convenient.

Many retailers switched to curbside pickup to serve their customers in a safer way during the pandemics. Curbside pickup got gradually popular at the beginning of 2020. The term skyrocketed in March and reached its peak in April 2020 as seen according to Google Trends. Whether this trend will survive also after there will be no need for social distancing.

Curbside In-store Pickup for any Magento 2 E-commerce

Curbside pickup can be easily added to your e-commerce as a shipping method and be displayed for your customers at the checkout. If you have e-commerce on Magento 2, Shopify or WooCommerce and wish to offer curbside pickup to your customers as a delivery option, you can easily configure it using Calcurates In-store Pickup feature. An In-store Pickup is a nice option for any local e-commerce business, it gives your customers more time flexibility. Have a look at other main reasons to implement in-store pickup for your e-commerce.
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