How Canadian Retailers Can Take Curbside Pickup Systems to the Next Level

By Devin Partida

As the pandemic continues to change the way you interact with the world, curbside pickup remains a reliable way to shop for everything.

Social distancing, lockdowns, and strict guidelines are necessary, but they can be hindrances to business. With the right updates to your curbside pickup system, you can operate smoothly throughout the entire pandemic.

Streamline the Process

Ease-of-use and easy access must be the primary forces that create the curbside pickup process. If it’s not simple and easy to carry out, it may turn customers away. Most commonly, websites will be the landing page for orders.

Customers can see exactly what they want and follow the instructions on how they can get it. You can provide them with updates and notifications on the status of their order. Overall, it should be a clear and concise process.

Michael’s craft stores, for example, make it easy for customers to order online then drive up to a designated spot where staff bring their prepaid order right to their trunk.

Consumers should have options for payment, too. Allow them to pay online to maintain the contact-free dynamic during pickup. Depending on personal preferences and local guidelines, cash may not be a safe option.

Personalize the Experience

The pandemic has been present for a while now, and people are still uncertain about the future. At a time when human contact is being actively limited, it helps to go the extra distance and add a personal touch to each customer’s experience.

You can address them by name when ensuring the order is correct and offering contact should they need it. If you want, you can add a note thanking the customer and provide them with your social media, helping you build your following.

These gestures build a connection and solidify your relationships, creating a loyal consumer base.

Offer Incentives

Curbside pickup has become a common feature for businesses. In fact, usage of curbside pickup increased by 208% in 2020. With this kind of surge, it’s critical to take advantage of the trend. You can do so by keeping the momentum going.

When a customer does business with you, you can offer an incentive to keep them coming back. It could be a discount, or it could be another incentive for them to buy from you again. You could also provide them with an incentive to follow you on social media or leave a review.

Create a Designated Area

Organization is one of the keys to success. When it comes to curbside pickup, a disorganized system is inefficient and will cause delays and issues that lead to decreased customer satisfaction.

Having a designated process and area for curbside orders will create a much better work dynamic. First, you’ll want to have a process for when an order comes in. Gather the materials and prepare them for safe transport. Then, notify the customer that they can come pick up their order.

A specific parking or pickup area for these kinds of orders will be convenient as well. Customers can follow signs and wait while a staff member brings the order to them in a contact-free way. For instance, Target enabled a drive-up option with specific parking spaces where customers can wait for their orders safely.

Get the Word Out

In Canada, online shopping surged in May of 2020, reaching record highs of $3.9 billion in total sales. These numbers are now continuing as the pandemic fluctuates, with both spikes and lulls.

Among all the competition, it’s essential to stand out. Ensure that, amid this surge, your customers know that you offer curbside pickup. And that you do it well.

You can advertise on your website, your social media accounts, and through signs outside your store. Spreading the word will draw people in. Customers want the easiest method when it comes to picking up supplies and doing their shopping. During the pandemic, curbside pickup is that method. Of course, if you want to stand out more, you can always offer delivery.

Navigating the Pandemic

Devin Partida

Though business looks different now than it did a year ago, you can still navigate the pandemic in profitable ways. Curbside pickup is here to stay. It’s time to amp up the game, provide a better customer experience, and bring in more profits.

Devin Partida is a writer and blogger, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.com

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