How to Implement Curbside Pickup for Your Small Business

While curbside pickup isn’t a new concept, it’s a trend newly on the rise. As brick and mortar store locations work to compete with eCommerce, catering to convenience has grown increasingly more important.

Previous predictions suggest the curbside pickup market will reach $35 billion in sales, with 25% of consumers opting for the service. In the during-and post-pandemic world, those numbers could rise even higher.

As your small business seeks out ways to enhance its online presence, remember that you don’t have to give up on in-person locations completely. Nor do you have to transition to delivery.

Optimize for the middle ground between in-store and online shopping. Here’s how to implement curbside pickup for your small business.

Use Curbside Pickup-friendly Technology

When you’re used to in-store sales and operations, accounting for curbside pickup presents some challenges. You’re not just building a solution, you’re creating a whole new customer experience.

Luckily, there are a number of curbside pickup-based technologies that exist for retailers. These tools take care of the background logistics—from loyalty system management to shopper arrival notifications.

Schedule Staff Accordingly

A curbside pickup service either works or it doesn’t. If you don’t have enough staff or staff dedicated to fulfilling orders as they come in, shoppers might as well come into your store and pick out items themselves.

Speed, convenience, and no shipping fees—these are the benefits of curbside pickup for your customers. Consider assigning pickup orders to one staff member every shift. Make sure everyone on your team understands the process and is well-trained on how to use third-party technology.

Be Mindful of Packaging

How you package items for pickup will depend largely on what you’re selling. This is in addition to the speed of fulfillment.

If you work in the food industry, for example, you’ll want insulated packaging that helps preserve freshness. Fragile items should be packaged with some cushion.

Whatever it is you sell, make sure packaging is sturdy and conducive to transport. This is especially true for those offering self-service curbside pickup. You want your customer to be able to grab and go—not grab and spill.

Adhere to Local Curbside Pickup Guidelines

As with any business operation, curbside pickup comes with its own set of rules and regulations to follow. The last thing you want as a small business owner is a hefty fine.

Pay attention to curbside pickup regulations for eCommerce retailers based on your province. Train staff accordingly and keep tabs on updates as they become available so you never find yourself caught off guard.

Mark a Designated Space for Pickup

Curbside pickup may sound self-explanatory but it never hurts to over explain. Explain the process in full on your website so that customers know exactly what to expect when they arrive.

It wouldn’t hurt to also designate a pickup-specific space (e.g., a parking spot or table outside your storefront). This helps eliminate confusion all-around, making it easy for employees to spot incoming customers and vice versa.

By Staples Canada

May 15, 2020

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