Speak to a Friendly Routing Expert Now:

Curbside Pickup in 2021: The Definitive Guide

Caucasian mature woman picking her restaurant food from her car at a Curbside pickup
Featured image credit: Juanmonino/iStockphoto.com

Curbside pickup is gaining ground, especially to keep both customers and employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a report, 85% of shoppers increased curbside pickup orders compared to the pre-pandemic rates.

Interestingly, click and collect or BOPIS (Buy online, pick up in store) had already been around, but it was generally restricted to larger retailers, such as Walmart, which led the curbside pickup market.

It’s only now that many small businesses have also started adopting this convenient and flexible option, especially after the surging needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, if you run a small business and want to learn all the nitty-gritty details about BOPIS, then this guide is for you.

This guide tells you what curbside pickup means, what its advantages are, and how you can implement it for your business in 2021.

Let’s jump right in.

What Is Curbside Pickup?

Curbside pickup is a service that allows customers to pick up their orders from a convenient location, rather than sending the order to be delivered to their homes.

So, your customers can collect their orders from the curb outside your store, warehouse or anywhere else.

Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Boost Your Profits?

Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!

Start Free 7 Day Trial

How Does Curbside Pickup Work?

It works in a similar way as “buy online, pick-up in store” or “click and collect”. Sometimes, it is even called BOPIS (“Buy Online, Pickup In Store”) in retail. But, let’s look at how it works:

Step #1: Order Placement by the Customer

A customer places an order through an ecommerce site or an online store. While ordering, the customer chooses the convenient location and available time slot for pick up.

Step #2: Payment

Almost every eCommerce site offers multiple payment options to the customers and so the customers can either pay online or choose from the other available multiple payment methods.

Step #3: Order Preparation by the Business

Once the order has been placed, the details are sent to the merchant for preparation. At the preparation stage, the customer can send extra information to the merchant, such as a phone number which they can call once they have arrived.

Step #4: Curbside Pickup

Curbside pick up can be done in many ways, including the following two ways:

  • Pickup from the Car

The customer pulls up his or her car to a designated location at a prearranged time. Sometimes, the customer may be required to contact the merchant to let them know that he or she has arrived. A delivery person then brings the ordered items to the car. If the payment has not yet been made, the customer has to pay. Once the merchant has received payment, the customer can drive off with the parcel.

  • Home Delivery

Many businesses also offer home delivery to their customers. However, the main difference with click and collect is that the ordered items are left at the front door of the house, without requiring the customer to sign.

What Are the Benefits of Curbside Pickup?

Quicker Delivery

It is quicker than other deliveries. It can even be faster than 24-hour shipping or same-day delivery.

Guaranteed Delivery

People who either live in apartments or work for long hours can easily miss the delivery person or get stuck rearranging shipping. For them, BOPIS ensures guaranteed delivery because they can collect their order according to a time and location convenient for them.

Save Shipping Charges

As the customers collect the order themselves, they can save on shipping and packaging charges.


National Retail Federation’s Spring 2020 Consumer View survey shows that more than 90% of curbside pickups have been rated by consumers as convenient.

Least Interaction and Safe

Person-to-person interactions are minimized with the click to collect model. Even when the customers opt for the home delivery format, the delivery person still leaves the packages in front of the customers’ doors and no signatures are required. Therefore, the risks of getting infected during delivery are minimized.

Help Businesses Stay Afloat Even During COVID-19 Social Distancing

While the social distancing mandates are in place during the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, BOPIS has helped many businesses (especially restaurants and eateries) stay afloat.

Increased Online Sales

It improves conversion rates and customer retention by offering faster shipping, fewer damaged products, and more. This, in turn, increases online sales.

How Can Route4Me Help with Curbside Pickup?

Route4Me offers a curbside pickup app that seamlessly integrates with any ecommerce store. Once integrated, you can receive, process, and complete thousands of food pickups, grocery pickups, BOPIS pickups, or any other curbside pickup or in-store pickup orders for multiple pickup locations using only your smartphone.

Below is a quick rundown of the features of the app you can use to offer seamless curbside pickup in 2021.

Multiple Pickup Stores Management

If required by your specific ecommerce business model, you may offer your customers click and collect services from multiple locations. You can integrate the curbside pickup app with your ecommerce store and sync all pickup locations into the app. This will allow you to see your curbside pickup or in-store pickup orders placed for pickup in each of your stores and manage them all from the one curbside pickup app.

Curbside Pickup Order Management

Whenever a new BOPIS order is placed, you’ll instantly be notified through the app. This will help you ensure you never miss customer pickups and can prepare customer orders before they arrive.

Curbside Pickup Statuses

Dynamic curbside pickup order statuses let you know:

  • When an order was placed for curbside pickup or in-store pickup
  • When a customer will arrive for the pickup order – the time changes dynamically
  • When the customer has arrived at your location for the pickup
  • For how long the customer has been waiting to pick up the order
  • When the pickup has been completed

Furthermore, the order details of your pickups can contain security codes, customer notes, and more useful information.

QR Code and Pickup Confirmation

To quickly and securely match the customers to their orders, customers can show their QR codes for their pickups. You can scan the QR codes and the app will automatically match the codes to the right orders. The curbside pickup app order confirmation will also help you save time on order matching and make sure that you always give the right order to the right customer.

Customer Tracking Portal

To help you save money and your team’s time on customer support, Route4Me offers a dedicated customer portal for click and collect and in-store pickup. The Curbside Pickup Tracking Page allows customers to do the following:

  • Check their BOPIS order status, order details, estimated order total, security code, and more.
  • See the location of the pickup points on a map.
  • Check the pickup points’ working hours.
  • See the estimated driving times and distances from their current locations to the pickup locations.
  • Navigate from their current locations to the pickup points, using Google Maps.
  • Open a secure curbside order pickup QR code that will help you match the customers to the right orders.
  • Provide vehicle details so that it’s easier for you to find them when they arrive at the pickup spots.

Read our curbside pickup app FAQ to find some of the most commonly asked questions about Route4Me’s curbside pickup app.

Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Boost Your Profits?

Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!

Start Free 7 Day Trial

About Route4Me

Route4Me has over 34,000 customers globally. Route4Me's Android and iPhone mobile apps have been downloaded over 2 million times since 2009. Extremely easy-to-use, Route4Me's apps create optimized routes, synchronize routes to mobile devices, enable communication with drivers and customers, offer turn-by-turn directions, delivery confirmation, and more. Behind the scenes, Route4Me's operational optimization platform combines high-performance algorithms with data science, machine learning, and big data to plan, optimize, and analyze routes of almost any size in real-time.