The coronavirus pandemic is hurting small businesses all over Canada. Some businesses can rely on online sales but not all companies have an existing eCommerce store. Brick and mortars rely on foot traffic and right now, it’s pretty much non-existent. This guide will show you how to set up a curbside pickup for your business. You can continue to generate revenue for your brick and mortar business even if you have a basic website.
What is Curbside Pick Up?
Curbside pickup is a system that allows customers to order online or over the phone and then pick their items up. Often the customer does not have to leave their vehicles upon arrival, as a service attendant typically delivers the orders. Offering curbside pickup decreases the time it takes for customers to obtain products over shipping them through couriers.
Several provincial governments have loosened COVID-19 restrictions, allowing some non-essential businesses to reopen. However, safety modifications in the curbside pickup process are required, as social distancing rules still apply. We recommend reviewing your provincial guidelines directly to be made aware of any unique safety measures that are in effect before setting up a curbside pickup for your business.
You can also check to make sure there are no curbside restrictions in your province.
Convenience is Key for a Successful Curbside Pickup Program
Successful curbside pickup programs always follow the golden rule of convenience. Grocery stores have been offering curbside pickup successfully for a while, and the one thing that stands out in consumer reviews is the convenience factor. So the first step to designing any curbside pickup program is assessing whether you can conveniently serve customers. This means making it easy for customers to view products, make orders, and schedule the pickup time.
How to Set Up a Curbside Pickup for Your Business
The process of your curbside pickup program should resemble the following.
- The customer places an order online or over the phone.
- You and/or the customer establish a pickup time.
- The customer pays either over the phone or online.
- The order is picked up by the customer in a designated pickup zone.
Due to COVID-19, the pickup should be contactless. Ideally, your customer should remain in the car while you drop their order in the trunk. This will ensure efficiency while maintaining a safe distance apart.
Depending upon your personal situation, the process may differ. For example, you may decide to leave the order in a specified pickup area, and then signal the customer to approach. Consider how your company can follow regulations and serve customers with curbside pickup.
Now, let’s look at launching curbside pickup for your business.
1. Get Your Website Ready or Build One
You probably already have a website that can be adjusted to showcase your products. No need to worry if you aren’t yet set up for this! You can get help.
Have the following things ready before editing or starting a new site.
- Photos of your products.
- Legible brand assets such as logos and brochures.
- Short descriptions of your offerings.
- Any other information that you want on the website.
2. Make Sure Your Website Sends The Right Message
You have worked hard to build a relationship with your customers over the years. They need to know that it is your business when they arrive on the website. Also, static websites that aren’t normally used to process orders can have outdated brand assets. Identify anything that is missing here, and upload them accordingly.
Everything that makes up your brand identity should be present on the website. Existing customers need to recognize your brand right away.
3. Add Products
Add your products to the website with appropriate descriptions and as much information as you can. Ideally, there should also be a way to track inventory if you’ll process orders and collect payments online. You don’t want customers to show up for an order that isn’t in stock.
4. Polish the Look and Feel of Your Site
Your website should look professional, stunning, and match the intended audience. People should feel comfortable and secure as they interact with it. This way, they’re more likely to complete a transaction.
Consider things like the general mood, style, and overall behaviour of your audience. An unprofessional, off-putting, and mismatched website relative to the intended audience can hurt sales and your reputation.
Curbside Pickup is Good for Customers and Retailers
The customer and your business can benefit from curbside pickup. Customers get to continue enjoying the products they love with convenience during COVID-19. Your store gets to keep serving customers, which keeps the business alive and well.
A curbside pickup program also reduces friction for consumers. That can mean less stress or fewer actions on the customer’s part. Online or over the phone ordering makes it possible for customers to order without leaving their homes until orders are ready. This equates to more efficient use of their time.
Furthermore, having a site may increase your sales more than you’d expect. This is because websites live on the Internet, which is accessible 24/7. That means people can place orders anytime and schedule curbside pickup even while you sleep.
Imagine how it would feel to wake up each morning with plenty of orders to fulfill. Many companies with websites were already serving customers in this way. But this crisis is going to permanently change how a lot of people shop.
More will use online platforms like search engines and social media to find the products they want to buy. Your website is critical for ensuring consumers find you.
Tips for a Great Curbside Pick Up Experience
- Specify a designated pick up location outside your store. You can use separators or even markers to ensure people maintain a distance of 6 feet apart. This can make it easier to serve all your customers.
- Make sure customers know where your parking spaces are if you have neighbouring businesses that share the lot. This way your customers won’t use their parking spots. Consider using clear signs with your business name to help people identify parking spaces.
- Have orders ready to go a bit ahead of schedule. So you can avoid having customers wait for their orders to be ready.
- Set clear expectations concerning customer interaction during pick up so everyone is on the same page.
Don’t forget to share the message with your email subscribers, on your social media platforms and your Google local listing.
Now is the time to act. Businesses who don’t transition to online sales may lose their customers to their competition who have adapted. We have no idea when things will return to normal and it may take longer than we think before customers feel comfortable browsing in-person.
Curbside pickup is allowed for non-priority retailers in all provinces, though some restrictions may apply. So design your process, create or adjust your website, and contact existing customers to let them know you have curbside pickup. You can also offer multiple curbside pickup options such as using location-designated lockers as some grocery stores do.
No doubt, more people will become accustomed to shopping online by the time the coronavirus crisis is over. Businesses should invest in setting up their website in a way that facilitates discovery and sales. Those without a website should invest in one. If you need help with your website, we’re here to help. From small editing jobs to creating a brand-new site that is in line with your business set up, we can help.