Curbside pick up has become the preferred option to many customers over any other click-and-collect model. Perhaps because customers can safely pull up to their favorite stores and be welcomed with fresh goods and friendly faces — without any of the safety exposure risks of entering the store itself.
“There’s very low risk for them [retailers] in this environment because the consumer expectation isn’t very high,” says Greg Portell, lead partner of Kearney’s global consumer practice.
Curbside Pick Up is More Than Just A Few Cones
Entering a parking lot and picking up your groceries requires more than just a few cones in a parking lot. Some of the big players in retail have recognized this and adapted their models to smoothen out the process. These companies have advanced the industry and strived to set new standards with efficient fulfillment times and satisfied customer experiences.
Learn about some of the top players' different curbside pick up models — using apps, designated parking spaces dependent to your order size, and more.
A New Take on Curbside Pick Up
Walmart, with about 4,700 stores in the United States, was one of the earliest chains to offer curbside pickup, with a focus on groceries.
Curbside orders are part of an overall boost in its e-commerce sales, which accounted for 11 percent of the chain’s revenue in the quarter that ended July 31, up from 6 percent a year earlier.
They strive to set themselves apart from the competition with offering same day deliver, with no fees for pick up and offer its fastest service through their company Walmart app. The app requires you check in before arriving, then the order will be prepared and available upon the customer's arrival.
In a similar vein, in terms of app technology, Target has advanced its contactless, curbside pick up through its app and grew its curbside sales more than 700 percent in the last quarter.
The company offers "Drive Up" through the Target app, which includes full service of employees coming directly to the customers' vehicles and loading groceries for them. They recently added functionalities on their app with "Shopping Partner," "Backup Items" and "Forgot Something" to make pickups and deliveries extra convenient for guests.
They have also strived to enhance their pick up through creating 18,000 more "Drive Up" spots across their stores and tripling the number of store fulfillment expert roles to better serve guests.
Kroger invested in its online ordering system as well. With a website that includes call-to-actions like "start your cart," "buy again" options, and online coupons to encourage shopping — including the same weekly deals and digital coupons with Kroger Pickup that you can online. You can log in and order either through pick up or an on-demand 30 minute delivery option.
Kroger announced a partnership with Google to offer pickup service functionality through the tech company’s popular Maps app across 96 stores in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, a spokesperson for the tech company said. Shoppers can add their order to Google Maps, which will remind them when it’s time to head to the store and then share their arrival time with the grocer.
Partnering with Google should aid Kroger in their ability to meet online order demands.
Whole Foods, under its parent company Amazon, accelerated the rollout of curbside pickup at Whole Foods only recently, driven by customer demand amid the pandemic.
Last October, Amazon made free grocery delivery part of the Prime benefits package by dropping the fee for its AmazonFresh perishables delivery service for Prime members placing orders of $35 or more. Amazon’s Prime Now (including Whole Foods) and Prime Pantry programs had already offered members free delivery on orders of at least $35.
Through the Amazon app, you can order and track its fulfillment and come when its ready to a designated pick up area.
Home Depot gives customers the option of retrieving online orders curbside, from lockers or BOPIS (Buy online, pick up in store) at its 2,300 U.S stores.
With curbside pick up as such a new business model, it may be difficult for some customers to know what to expect and where to go after ordering online.
Home Depot offers simple, straightforward instructions for their pick up. This approach tackles the confusion for shoppers as they enter a store parking lot — including listing out their hours for curbside pick up and 3 steps after ordering:
- Enter pickup area or a parking spot with a curbside sign.
- Enter your details below.
- Sit back and relax. We'll bring your order right out to your vehicle.
Boost Your Own Online Profits
Ready to move your own curbside pick up operations to the next level?
Here are some best practices to ensure you're thriving with your new curbside pick up options:
Keep a consistent, updated inventory — let your customers know whether your product is in or out of stock by frequently updating your website
- Impulse purchases — consider integrating impulse purchase. You can offer the option of adding items to your cart before payment or consider allowing customers to add a few extra items at the pick up area while they wait
Provide easy-to-follow instructions for pick up — let customers know what to expect before entering your lot and offer clear signage to create smooth traffic flow
Create designated pick up areas that make it easy for your customers to find and pull into
One of the largest hurdles is teaching customers how it works. There can be a lot of confusion for shopping, especially if retailers have different styles of click-and-collect.
Establishing expectations before they even enter your lots and providing easy-to-follow directions are key. We can help you create an easy-follow parking lot with clear, branded outdoor signs and other custom design solutions for your store. Chat with a safety expert.
Prevent traffic clogs and accidents with prep after the order confirmation, then install signs that can guide your patrons through the pickup process. That can mean individual parking spaces marked off for general pick up or specialized pick up (think: large items, cold items, etc).
You can also utilize safety bollards to guide and protect your locations. Crash-tested CrashCore bollards install virtually overnight and keep everyone safe.
We also offer a CrashCore sign, made with an ASTM F3016 crash-tested bollard combined with a steel signpost, so it’s the perfect sign for nose-in parking spaces that aim vehicles at buildings or people.
Refine your operations with easy, curb-appealing signage and protect your storefront with crash-tested CrashCore bollards. Get yours today: