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Customer Experience Management

Curbside Pickup & Delivery: Complete Guide

Here's a complete guide to curbside pickup and delivery. This is the only guide you will need to learn how to start curbside delivery right away.

Here’s a complete guide to curbside pickup and delivery. This is the only guide you will need to learn how to start curbside delivery right away.

In this detailed guide, you will find out:

  • What is curbside delivery
  • Challenges of Launching Curbside Pickup and Delivery
  • How to Offer Curbside Delivery?

If you want to keep up with changes that are happening in e-commerce and stay ahead of your competition, then this guide is for you.


Curbside Delivery

In this post-pandemic era, people more than ever prefer to buy online, and as a result, curbside pickup operations enjoy enormous popularity.

Many businesses established this model in order to keep their business work during the pandemic, and are having problems scaling it up.

To do so, you need to understand a few fundamental things about how curbside pickup works.

What Is Curbside Delivery?

Similar to click and collect, curbside delivery is a service that enables customers to collect their order from a convenient location, instead of having the item shipped to their home.

The best part of curbside delivery is that customers often don’t even need to leave their cars to get their goods.

How Does Curbside Pickup Work?

Curb delivery can take many different forms, but one thing all curbside pick up operations have in common is that customers buy online.

After purchasing, they get the pick-up location or a list of stores that offer curbside pickup at checkout or after checkout through digital communication.

Naturally, this kind of service is pretty flexible around customers’ orders.

They can pick up the order in a dedicated curbside lane or maybe a regular parking spot.

Launching curbside service can be done quickly because you can use some already existing resources such as curbside lanes in your parking lots or using existing store stuff.

Will Curbside Delivery Last Beyond COVID-19?

Services like curbside pickup, in-store pickup, contactless delivery are now part of merchants’ business and something that the customers enjoy. It’s an additional way of providing excellent customer service.

- Jonathan Roque

In the COVID-19 environment, the curbside home delivery has instantly become a customer expectation.

For businesses, curbside pickup is an extra method of fulfillment to get products to your customers.

In fact, according to DigitalCommerce360, “Curbside pickup sales increased 600% year over year while online orders picked up at stores jumped 70% from 2019.

So, curbside delivery is here to stay even after COVID- 19!

Why Should You Offer Curbside Pickup?

During the last year, curbside pickup and delivery were one of the fastest-growing fulfillment methods.

Companies started to change their store format and reduce the customer space to add more fulfillment space within the store.

Today, according to Symphony RerailAI 77% of retailers plan to section off in-store space dedicated to curbside pick-up and click-and-collect services.

The major benefits of curbside pickup delivery include:

  • faster fulfillment
  • 100% order completion
  • improved customer experience
  • lower operational costs

Faster fulfillment

With easier access to information and more choice today’s customers are becoming more demanding than ever,

It began with 24-hour shipping to same-day delivery, but now customers want their packages in their hands almost as fast as they checked out online.

With curbside delivery, they can get their goods much faster. It simply saves the wait time of online order delivery and decreases the time for shopping and browsing.

Additionally, without the time for parking, and going into the store, curbside pickup is slightly faster than even buying online, pickup in-store.

In fact, Salesforce reports that online sales from Dec of 2020 grew 52% over year for U.S. retailers that gave curbside, drive-thru, and in-store pickup options.

100% Order completion

The biggest fear of every retail business is that the order doesn’t get fulfilled.

Stores with curbside pick-up guarantee 100 % order completion.

Regular delivery can be tricky for those who work long hours or live in apartments because they can easily miss the delivery and be stuck trying to rearrange shipping.

But curbside pick-up allows customers to collect their order on their timescale.

Improved customer experience

Sometimes, goods can get damaged in transit between a warehouse and the customer’s delivery address.

But curbside pickup reduces any potential damages before the customer receives the goods.

It also allows them to visually check their order and confirm they are satisfied with it before driving away.

In fact, a survey conducted by Retail Touch Points found that 79% of people would not purchase from a retailer again after receiving damaged goods.

So, ensuring that customers are satisfied with their goods boosts customer experience and reduces the risk of receiving a negative review before you’ve had the chance to mitigate it.

Happy customers are also more likely to come back again, so in turn, it could drive future online sales.

Lower operational costs

Having customers pick up items on-location implies you just saved on the shipping costs and on the cost of packaging, which gives you more options.

Lower shipping fees indicate increased margins, the opportunity to have deeper discounts or run more promotions.

Challenges of Launching Curbside Pickup and Delivery

Curbside pickup are the happy medium in the spectrum of fulfillment options.

These kinds of fulfillment models give customers the convenience of purchasing online, while keeping the retail interaction they are familiar with and without the extra cost and complexity of adding delivery capacity.

Still, just like any other fulfillment model, running curbside pickup is not without its issues.

So, here are the biggest challenges of launching curbside pickup and delivery:

Limited Customer Experience

It can be quite difficult to launch curbside across all retail locations.

Nonetheless, creating irregular availability will lead to confused customers who don’t understand where this service is available.

Which can then lead to the assumption that they can pick up orders at places where this is not possible.

Considering it’s not a good idea to launch a new solution at scale without testing it first, this mixed availability is kind of inevitable.

You need to find a way to make it clear where and when a curbside pickup is available before customers start the checkout process.

Limited Resources

Limited resources is another common challenge. Usually, pickup is limited to a handful of parking spaces.

This means that it can get crowded, especially at peak times of the day or year and customers can find themselves limited by the number of free parking spaces.

For instance, a lot of consumers choose to shop at the closest local store that often lacks the resources and infrastructure to run curbside pickup.

Grocery curbside pickup can also have a problem with staff availability and loading orders into customers’ cars to keep up with demand.

Flexible managing and allocating curbside staff is a serious challenge that must be addressed first, so this fulfillment model can be run efficiently.

Limited Visibility

Making your employees away from their regular duties so they can be loaders can cause an enormous amount of disruption and disorganization.

In case they get ready to load before the customer arrives, they will waste their time, and if they get ready too late, they will keep customers waiting.

This kind of situation is stressful for the staff who are struggling to fulfill both pickup orders and delivery.

Besides, not being aware of when to expect customers to arrive can lead to curbside congestion.

The last thing you need is for customers to block pickup or valuable parking spaces.

High Customer Expectations

We have already mentioned how high customers’ demands can be, in this moment you really shouldn’t have a faulty or bad pickup experience.

Waiting in line for 20 minutes to get your order loaded will frustrate even the most loyal of customers.

Not to mention that if you have one customer waiting for too long, that automatically cause bad experiences and congestion for all the other customers waiting in line for pickup.

Training Staff

To run curbside pickup easily, you will need to train your staff.

The ideal solution is to identify one or even more store associates to be so-called runners. You also need to assign someone to be a dispatcher.

Dispatchers are responsible for watching orders and arranging them, marking the order as ready to be picked up, and letting your runners know when the customer arrives.

How to Offer Curbside Delivery?

If you want your curbside delivery to create brand loyalty and drive more sales through local delivery, every step in the process must be seamlessly organized.

That also means that all your resources need to be connected through a dedicated curbside pickup app or retail fulfillment platform.

Here’s what you need to do:

Scheduling and Checkout

At checkout, the retailer should provide online shoppers with reliable pickup options, based on actual storage capacity.

This involves listing the available pickup locations and time slots per day, based on both retail store hours and capacity and inventory location.

Inventory must be tracked in real-time in order for the information to be accurate.

When someone makes a purchase online, chooses a pickup option, and completes an online checkout, they should obtain a digital order confirmation including their order details.

All of this can help you to plan better delivery schedules, both when it comes to supply and pickup.

Order Prep and Processing

All the orders should be ready to go just as customers arrive to guarantee efficient, just-in-time order preparation and handoff.

This is a crucial step for preventing curbside congestion.

This prevents curbside congestion and guarantees the optimal efficiency for staging and pickup staff.

An app with real-time tracking is essential because it can help the retailer coordinate timing between the oncoming vehicle and the free parking spaces and store associates.

Routing Drivers and Vehicles

You need to match the number of expected arrivals and parking spots.

A new allocated parking spot can be added with just a tap in the curbside app. This will reduce potential congestion in the pickup area.

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Direct and Notify Customers

You can use that provides both customer and store interfaces which lets the store associate direct each car to the optimal pickup place, in real-time.

But, not only that with the help of the app you can be in direct communication with customers in case something goes wrong.

You can also use it to provide additional information to improve customer experience, such as sending more accurate estimated times of arrival (ETAs) or order tracking links.

Collecting PODs and Feedback

Teams have to collect proof of successful deliveries so they can fulfill this service successfully.

On the other hand, customers need to confirm that they’ve picked up an item from a collection point.

In the spirit of contactless fulfillment, you can of course use software to help you here, as well.

Electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) lets your teams collect e-signatures, scan tickets, barcodes, or anything else that proves the transfer of custody without coming into contact with the customer.

You can use technology to get feedback from customers about their experiences in the same way,

You can use this information to improve your curbside and pickup delivery services. But also to upsell and cross-sell products using delivery.

Track, Measure and Analyze Performance

Tracking, measuring, and analyzing performance is crucial for improving curbside order and delivery.

These steps are necessary for efficient and scalable pickup operations.

With the help of the software, you can do this in a matter of minutes and improve your efficiency, capacity, and overall customer experience.

To do this, again you can use software. Delivery management software, for example, enables you to monitor key metrics in delivery logistics.

Ready to Launch Curbside Pickup?

Curbside pickup and delivery skyrocketed during the pandemic. It could lead to permanent consumer changes.

So now is a good time to make it part of your offer.

Which techniques will you use to get started?

Will you use software to optimize all your orders?

However you want to go about it, this guide has got you covered.

And if you want to boost your entire delivery, we can help with that too.


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