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5 tips for a successful curbside pickup strategy

May 21, 2020 | Published by Faire

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Photo courtesy of Jamie Kelter Davis Photography and Fleur, Inc.

As many states begin to reopen non-essential retailers, we’ve been sharing tips and tactics for safely and successfully reopening your store. But even if you can’t fully reopen yet, you may still be able to take advantage of curbside pickup. According to our data, 64% of Faire retailers have reported offering curbside pickup already. Whether pickup is brand new for your business or you’re looking to refine your approach, the five tips in this post will help you nail your curbside strategy.

Follow local guidelines

Before opening for curbside pickup, confirm it’s allowed in your city and state. States are approaching reopening in different ways, so it’s important to stay current and familiarize yourself with local rules. Visit the websites for your city, county, and state governments for the latest requirements and recommendations. In cases where your city or county has different guidelines than your state, err on following the stricter of the two.

Create a system

Getting organized in advance will help you run a seamless pickup service. Devise a system for accepting orders, packing purchases, and distributing goods to customers when they arrive. You’ll quickly learn what works and what doesn’t, so try to stay agile—don’t be afraid to iterate on your system.

Kelly Marie Thompson of Fleur, Inc. in Chicago says that she visited another business in her area, a local nursery, to inform her own curbside plan. “I bumped into the owner and we had a great conversation about the structure and the systems that are being put into place,” she said. It helped her determine what she needed to do in her own shop, which has included placing a table out in front of the store. “So when guests come for their curbside pickup, they call us, give us their order number or their name, and we hand everything over to them.”

Photo courtesy of Jamie Kelter Davis Photography and Fleur, Inc.

Leverage online tools

Accepting online orders for pickup is a great way to streamline your curbside system. If you have e-commerce capabilities on your website, add a pickup option with instructions for curbside customers. 

But you don’t need to be an e-commerce pro to take orders online. Lori Powers of Madison & Co. in Greenville, South Carolina didn’t have much of an online presence before COVID-19. Now, Lori takes orders via Facebook Live for in-store pickup. She’s even found that 75-80% of the customers who come pick up their orders end up purchasing additional items in person. 

Another way to offer curbside pickup is by creating a storefront on Neighborhood, Faire’s new marketplace that allows local retailers to sell to their customers online. Our data indicates that curbside pickup is the top choice for customers placing local orders. With Neighborhood, you can customize curbside pickup hours and get notified when customers place new orders. Once an order is prepared, you can easily notify the customer that it’s ready for pickup. Plus, customers will be able to discover that you’re available for curbside pickup through their Neighborhood map.

Neighborhood is currently available to customers in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago, and coming to more cities soon. If you’d like to sell on Neighborhood, click here to learn more.

Amp up your marketing and signage

Let your community know that you’re offering curbside! Use your marketing channels to promote that you’re accepting orders for local pickup and include details on how to order.

And don’t stop there. Physical signage is a great tool for advertising your new curbside pickup capabilities, so get out your magic markers and chalk. Homemade signage is not only inexpensive and fun to make, but it’s also an authentic and endearing way to grab the attention of people that are passing by your store.

Bookshop West Portal in San Francisco. Photo courtesy of Westside Observer.

You can also place display products outside your shop door by your curbside pickup stand, or in your storefront  window. People walking by may be inspired to buy from you, and curbside customers may be motivated to make additional purchases when they come to pick up their items.

Be safe

As always, we encourage you to put the safety of your staff and customers above all else. This means requiring or providing face masks for employees, having hand sanitizer readily available, and accepting contactless payments whenever possible. Stay informed by reviewing the CDC guidelines for social distancing and disinfecting to protect yourself and others.

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