Retail & CPG
Curbside Pickups: What are They and How do They Work?
Mar 10, 2023
6 mins read
Liam is a baseball lover and a fan of the Chicago White Sox. On his way to the baseball stadium, he wants to grab food from a grocery store without having to wait inside the store. Instead of ordering in advance at home or waiting at the store, Liam wants to get it quickly. Wouldn’t it be great if he could order his food online and collect it on the way to the baseball stadium?
That’s what curbside pickup does. Rather than waiting in store queues or anticipating home deliveries, he will receive the food when the match starts. Liam represents the customers’ newfound preference towards curbside pickup, and the numbers reflect it.
A survey of 1,000 global shoppers stated that curbside deliveries and pickups rose by 190 percentage points in North America after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Let’s learn more about curbside pickups and how it works.
What is a curbside pickup?
Curbside pickup is a fulfillment service where customers collect their orders from a designated local store or warehouse curb instead of getting them delivered to their doorstep. The best part of this method is that customers need not go inside the store or get out of their vehicles to collect their orders. The store staff places their order in the car space of the customer.
Since this COVID-19 pandemic, many smaller retail businesses have started to adopt this curbside pickup for its convenience and low-contact nature. And this has become an emerging fulfillment model to enhance their omnichannel presence.
How do curbside pickups work?
Many customers call, text or get into stores to inform the store executives of their arrival. Issues like these make curbside pickups more inconvenient. If your business needs to get curbside pickup right and avoid these issues, firstly, you should know how curbside pickups work.
Online checkout and purchase
The customer orders their items online or through a call, and the retail business receives this order through its online ordering system. During the checkout process, customers select a convenient store outlet for curbside pickup.
Picking and packing
The customer’s order reaches the Point of Sale of a store. Once the business (the store where the order has been assigned) receives the notification, they check if the inventory is in stock and start packing it.
Prioritizing and scheduling
Once the order is ready, the business notifies the customer about the exact location and time of the curbside pickup. Also, the business gets other details like pickup preferences and contact mode after reaching the curb. With all these details, the store prioritizes and schedules the curbside pickup for the order.
Orders picked up
Finally, the store staff places the order in the car or hands it off to the customer. Sometimes, customers can move into stores to collect their orders.
Why do you need Locus’ dispatch management platform for curbside pickup?
Timeliness is the most critical component for a successful curbside delivery. Customers don’t want melted ice cream, spoiled fish, or soggy fries. But ensuring timeliness comes with costs in sorting, dispatching, scheduling, and managing the curbside pickups. So, how do you efficiently fulfill curbside pickups without compromising on profit margins set by your business?
Ensuring timeliness, enabling efficient fulfillment, and providing customer experience are colossal tasks in today’s competitive market. Investing in technology like a dispatch management platform is the primary way to secure all these. Locus’ helps you manage these tasks for curbside with minimal human intervention. Here are some significant reasons your business should use the Locus offerings for curbside pickups.
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Customized slot based deliveries
When businesses don’t provide multiple time slot options to customers to pick up orders, the curbside pickup might become inconvenient. Say, a customer orders at 8 am and wants to collect it at 4:45 pm. But the business shows only the 3 pm to 3:30 am time slot for the order pickup. In this case, the customer cancels the order or moves on to another competitor who provides this flexibility. With different time preferences for each customer, managing the time-based pickup schedules is daunting. It’s here Locus’ offerings come into play.
Locus’ dispatch management software provides a feature called delivery-linked checkout. It helps your businesses provide multiple time slot options to customers for pickup based on fleet availability and capacity constraints. This feature makes it easier for your business to ensure the orders are ready for pickup when customers arrive at their designated curb space or store.
Provides real-time alerts to customers and staffs
Say, the customer hasn’t been informed about the order progress and keeps waiting to pick up the order. The customer calls your store or gets inside to track the staff who fulfills this order. This happens when the store does not provide clear instructions, updates, and real-time curbside pickup alerts to staff and customers.
By leveraging Locus’ track and trace feature, you can set up automated notifications about the order status along with the details of the staff assigned to the customer. Any delays on your end can be communicated to the customers for improved transparency through various convenient channels like SMS, chats or voice calls.
Enable an ideal curbside experience for customers with Locus’ dispatch management platform
Manually fulfilling curbside orders makes it difficult to coordinate the staff, time the orders, prioritize, and schedule them. So, the key to a successful curbside experience is using the right logistics technology that enables optimal utilization of resources.
Locus’ dispatch management platform helps your business provide customers with an ideal curbside experience. Its real-time tracking and time slot management capabilities enable your business to monitor curbside orders and make them on time. It prioritizes and schedules orders based on the customer’s arrival and ETA (Expected Time of Arrival), minimizing customers’ waiting time.
Are you looking to minimize the curbside waiting time of customers?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lakshmi Narashimman is one of the senior writers at Locus. He is a voracious reader and a passionate writer who loves making complex aspects sound simple.Read other blogs by this author
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Curbside Pickups: What are They and How do They Work?