Leading retailers expand curbside collection to meet increased consumer demand

Imogen Wethered
by Imogen Wethered

Picking up items from a shop without leaving the car might have once been considered a customer’s fantasy; now many leading retailers are making curbside click and collect/pickup a reality by delivering online orders directly to customers’ car boots.

The click and collect or BOPIS business model is the equivalent of a home-run for retailers. The customer buys a product, the customer collects the order themselves, and the customer is statistically more likely to impulse buy when picking up their item.

But this click and collect trifecta took a back seat for most retailers during the Covid-19 lockdown period, as the majority had to close their stores. However, a number of innovative retailers decided to turn their stores into stock rooms and their front entrances and car parks into customer collection points, allowing them to safely serve customers during the lockdown.

Now that stores have reopened, you might expect this approach to fizzle out, but it’s done the opposite. Curbside click and collect, or as The Times’ Consumer Affairs Editor, Louise Eccles, calls it: “click to car”, is taking off.

A new report from the market analyst GlobalData revealed more than 40% of Britons said that once things were back to normal they would use curbside pickup for online orders more than they had before Covid-19, with the report stating: “Many consumers started using these services during the pandemic and found they like them.”

And a survey commissioned by PayPal revealed that almost half (46%) of retailers are in the process of rolling out curbside pickup, with leading retailers such as M&S, John Lewis, Waitrose, Dunelm, Currys PC World and Pets At Home all offering the experience.

While the service might not come with the added bonus of impulse buying, it creates a safe and engaging experience that takes the strain off of overworked delivery teams and reduces the number of customers wandering about inside stores.

How curbside click and collect works

A curbside collection point at Currys PC World powered by Qudini.

Find out more about Qudini’s Click and Collect Software

Why customers love curbside collection

1) It’s safe

It stops customers from having to physically enter a store and come into contact with others customers or members of staff. It also reduces the number of people in-store at once.

2) It’s fast and efficient

Instead of queuing to enter a store, or waiting at a collection desk, customers can simply stay in their cars and receive their products. It also enables store associates to act more productively as click and collect SaaS software can be managed from all devices with real-time notifications.

3) It’s easy

Besides scanning a QR code, entering their details and popping the car boot open, customers can relax and wait from the comfort and safety of their cars.

Client example: Pets At Home

Pets At Home has a number of reserved car parks solely for curbside collection.

Largescale UK pet supplies retailer, Pets At Home, uses Qudini’s Click and Collect Software to offer its customers a safe, efficient and engaging online order pickup experience.

Customers can scan the QR code in the parking bay to inform staff they have arrived.

Customers arriving at store to collect their online orders are able to check-in from their phones, informing store teams that they have arrived who then locate and prepare their orders and bring it to them. Meanwhile the customer will receive SMS updates and an on-screen countdown while they wait.

The system offers customers a fast and convenient collection experience that encourages them to return more frequently.

Pets At Home are advertising their safe and efficient curbside collection.

Client example: Currys PC World

A similar customer experience also takes place at Currys PC World. During the lockdown, the retailer was one of the first in the UK to roll out curbside collection, and has since expanded the offering to 300+ stores.

The click and collect parking bay outside Currys PC World.

Retailer industry leader, Steve Lister, recently used Currys PC World’s curbside collection service, and said:

“Now this is how ‘post pandemic’ retail should be done! Well done Currys PC World ………you made this a painless, actually enjoyable purchase!”

A Currys PC World store associate delivering an online order to a customer’s car boot.

Watch the video below to see Qudini’s CEO, Imogen Wethered trying the service herself:

Read the Currys PC World case study

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