Curbside pickup is an extremely flexible sales option that has taken off during the pandemic. As such, restaurants and retailers that use a mobile ordering app need to include features for support of curbside pickup. Here are the reasons why a mobile app needs a curbside pickup.
- Buy online, pickup in-store is on the rise
Buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) is the precursor to curbside pickup. It has been rising in popularity as a way to integrate physical stores and online ordering, even before the pandemic. Customers can save on shipping and get items quicker if they pick up in-store. Curbside pickup is popular among the same customers as BOPIS. A survey of 1000 US customers from Raydiant in April found that 75% used curbside pickup in the last 12 months and 34% of all customers who have bought items online and picked up in-store said they would use the service more often if items were brought to them in their vehicle.
- Curbside service has growing demand following the pandemic
Curbside pickup grew significantly during the pandemic, with many restaurants and stores adding parking lot or curb service. Customers only need to wait into the car for employees to come out with their order rather than go into the store. As of a December 2020 Shopify survey, 64% of customers reported using curbside or in-store pickup for online purchases more often than before the pandemic. In June, nearly the same amount of customers who used curbside pickup (40%) said they would also use it even after the pandemic (38%).
While its initial benefit was for social distancing and serving customers from stores with limited capacity, curbside service still has many advantages for customers. They like not having to go inside, avoiding the wait on lines, and not having to pay at the counter.
WalMart’s grocery service recently began to scale down in-store automated pickup centers and instead plans to use more curbside pickup. Other companies are doing the same. Texas grocery chain H-E-B expanded free curbside pickup to all orders over $35.
- It’s easy for your app to provide
Mobile app commerce is the latest trend as customers spend 90% of their time on mobile devices in apps. Using a mobile app can increase sales and build customer loyalty. Curbside pickup is easy to offer as an option during app checkout. When customers choose between pickup and delivery, they can choose curbside pickup instead, and get additional instructions on where to go with their vehicle to wait for pickup when their order is ready.
Mobile commerce apps can make use of communication features such as SMS and 2-way chat integration to coordinate when an order is ready for pickup and when the customer has arrived. This level of coordination is vital for locating the customer’s vehicle quickly and bringing them their order right away to avoid overcrowding in the parking lot.
- It’s accessible to any store
Curbside pickup’s biggest advantage to businesses is how flexible and easy to set up it is. Restaurants who lacked drive-thru or pickup windows had trouble offering off-premises sales, but curbside pickup let them bring food out to customers during the pandemic as long as they had parking space. Businesses can set up a lane in front of the store or mark special parking spots exclusively for curbside pickup. It prevents overcrowding and lets employees split responsibilities rather than the workers at one checkout counter needing to handle all pickup orders. Since payment is also handled through the app, employees don’t need to do as much work taking payments in-store.
The accessibility advantage makes curbside pickup an option for nearly any kind of store with special benefits to restaurants who don’t want to invest in expensive pickup infrastructure. It can also be promoted on the store’s Google My Business page to show customers that curbside pickup is available.
Since curbside pickup appears to be here to stay, it’s essential that customers can order for pickup on your mobile app and easily arrive on time for a smooth customer experience.