Want to offer curbside pickup at checkout? Here’s what you need to know to do it right the first time around.

Curbside pickup is in greater demand than ever before, thanks to the continuing need for physical distancing measures in of brick and mortar stores. Now more than ever, it’s vital to give customers flexible pickup and delivery options at checkout, including curbside pickup. Not only is it convenient, it also saves customers on shipping costs, and can get them their order as soon as the same day.

At first glance, you might think curbside pickup is too difficult to efficiently put in place for your business, but think again. We’ve collected 5 useful tips and processes that will help you adapt to create a seamless omnichannel retail experience in a matter of days.

1. Create realistic pickup time frames

At checkout, make sure you’re direct about how long it will take to fulfill an order. A two hour pickup time, while a nice to have, just may not be feasible for you. Plus, you don’t want to deal with the fall out of receiving negative feedback for something that’s entirely preventable. 

A couple things you can do: limit same day pickup to only certain items you sell (such as high-demand products like cleaning supplies). You can also set cut-off times and lead times if some goods you carry require additional preparation and can’t be picked up immediately.

By configuring this information, you can paint a realistic picture at checkout about when an order will be ready by showing delivery dates pulled directly from carriers like FedEx, USPS and Canada Post.

If you can’t add pickup times at checkout directly, you can instead add messaging on your product page about it through your platform. Or add banners throughout your site if you want to use store pickup as a marketing tool.

2. Take stock of your inventory

This seems obvious, but you’ve got to make sure you have insight into what products you have on you at all times. You need to know what is there, where it’s physically located and how quickly it takes to restock if something is sold out.

Make it easy to filter your search so only items available at a specific, preselected store come up for a customer’s query.

If you have multiple stores in the local area, and a customer’s item isn’t available, offer to ship it from store to store. And of course, provide a time frame around how long that will take to arrive at their preferred pickup location.

Additionally, you can suggest other products in place of sold-out items. Either in a different color or alternative brand altogether, assuming items are comparable. 

3. Make pickup instructions clear

After your customer has placed their order, start the delivery experience off right with clear and specific instructions. Instead of “We’ll notify you when your purchase is ready,” go with messaging such as “We received your order at store XYZ. Your pickup is scheduled for x date and x time.” 

As the pickup time gets closer, send them a reminder message with additional details about where to meet them, a phone number to call when you arrive, etc. 

You can even go the extra mile by marking your pickup location spot in-store, just like Target, Wal-mart and Home Depot does. Or add a note at checkout with instructions before an order even takes place. 

This way, if your store pickup option is in high demand, your customers will be aware ahead of time what to expect. And you can rinse and repeat your processes for each order that comes in.

4. Keep things clean and tidy

So you’ve got in-store pickup as an option, have the staff trained on how to fulfill an order. Where should you keep your items prior to a customer’s pickup time?

You need to designate a gated area for curbside orders, whether it be an office space, stockroom or section of your warehouse, so these items have a place to live. The last thing you want is everything scattered about and for your team to be lost. 

This is where your organizational skills really shine. Create signage and label each order according to pickup date, time and customer. Include a list of what each customer has ordered and check it twice before they arrive. 

For your safety, and the safety of anyone who walks into your store, it’s also vital that you keep with current standards on environmental cleanliness. Here’s a guide on environmental cleaning and disinfection recommendations provided by the CDC, including product suggestions for different types of surfaces within your store.

5. Have insurance in place

On top of having curbside pickup, another option you may want to explore is local delivery. It might be even more efficient, depending on what you sell and where you’re located, to be able to grab items and deliver them within a reasonable time and distance from your store.

But with this option comes everyone’s favorite topic: insurance. Using your vehicle for business and transportation of goods is typically not allowed. You will likely need a commercial car insurance policy on top of being insured with state-minimum liability insurance.

For specific insurance guidelines, we recommend looking into specialized guides provided by industry experts like The Zebra. You can also sign your business up for same day delivery services such as FedEx SameDay® City, who have these processes in place, if you don’t want to take on the responsibility of handling insurance for employees yourself. 

How ShipperHQ helps you offer curbside pickup immediately

If you need to do a rush configuration of in-store pickup due to recent policy changes in your area, ShipperHQ is here to set this up in no time. 

In fact, we helped customer Gertrude Hawk Chocolates implement curbside pickup for 50 brick and mortar stores right before one of their business’ busiest holidays. Partnering with e-commerce agency Weidenhammer, Gertrude Hawk increased its site traffic 33% year over year, and helped the company regain almost a third of its lost sales.

“Our customers like to shop brick and mortar. And the week of Easter is when we do the bulk of our business, so we started to get really nervous,” Nardozzo said.

New to eCommerce or want to improve your checkout options altogether?

Our team is here to help you create new and safe ways to get products to your customers.

If your eCommerce business is already online, we can get you set up with Store Pickup through ShipperHQ in one day or less.

You can also enable curbside pickup, same-day delivery, and local delivery yourself by following the instructions outlined in our blog “How to Set Up In-Store Pickup, Local Delivery and Same-Day Delivery Immediately with ShipperHQ.”

If you need to get online quickly, reach out to us. We’re offering a special discounts to stores new to the e-commerce world, and we can help you understand what’s needed to get started.

Ready to try it out? Sign up for your 15 day FREE trial today to get started with local delivery, curbside pickup and more. Our team is here and ready to get you up and running.