While most of us work from home, hammering on our keyboards, small businesses push forward, finding new ways to serve their customers. Shops and restaurants up and down Main Street are thinking outside the storefront, creating new and unique shopping and dining experiences. And, ironically, leading the way is a time-test business strategy: curbside pickup.
Long before COVID-19 and social distancing, companies began adopting curbside services. Typically, a customer places an order online, pays digitally, then drives to the store or restaurant and parks outside, where an employee brings the purchased food or goods to the car. Yes, curbside pickup is an old strategy, but unlike the Zune, it's here to stay.
According to data from Adobe Analytics, buy-online, pickup-in-store orders, including curbside pickup, jumped 87 percent year-over-year between late February and March 29, 2020. And that was before stay-at-home became the new normal. Since U.S. governors took action, Adobe found that buy-online and pickup-in-store orders surged 208 percent year-over-year in April.
Curbside pickup is all the rage right now, but does it make sense for your business? The short answer: yes. Even if you own a boutique shop, a small quick-serve restaurant or microbrewery, curbside pickup is a must-have for your business.
Before you adopt a curbside strategy, follow local, state and federal health guidelines. After you've put the proper protocols in place, start accepting online payments. If you don't sell online today, Heartland can help get your online store up and running. Even if you're an online-selling machine, it's still wise to chat with an expert. Heartland offers online payment solutions that can provide a safer checkout for customers like mobile and contactless payments. Plus, providing reliable, touch-free payment experiences is something customers will remember.
Next, create a pickup and packaging process for your employees. Some breweries wash and dry beer growlers, while others give beer cans a quick wipe down before placing them in trucks of cars.
Finally, create designated curbside parking spots outside your location. Permanent signs work best, but if you don't own the parking lot or can't afford permanent signs, then temporary ones are perfectly acceptable. Whichever you choose, make it clear these are curbside parking spots.
Even though states are reopening, we're all adjusting to a new normal. If you can, invest in a safe curbside experience. With proper planning and a little creativity, it could transform your business.