Merchants launch curbside pickup en masse, with 121 of the Top 500 retailers offering this service as of August 2020.

Retailers have launched curbside pickup en masse, catering to shoppers wanting to minimize contact with others during the coronavirus pandemic.

Within the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 500, 121 retailers as of August 2020 now offer curbside pickup. This is up 536.8% from the end of 2019, when only 19 retailers offered the service.

Plus, only retailers with stores can offer curbside pickup. Therefore, when looking at retailers with stores in the Top 500, 43.7% of them now offer curbside pickup, up from just 6.9% of Top 500 retailers with stores offering curbside pickup before the pandemic.

Curbside pickup is attractive to shoppers, as it is a convenient way to buy items online and pick up the goods without going into the store. It minimizes contact with others and avoids going indoors, a concern for many during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Shoppers largely report positive curbside experiences. In an August 2020 Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights survey of 1,141 online shoppers, 24% of consumers said they’ve used curbside pickup multiple times since March. Additionally, 52% have used it at least once since March.

When factoring out the 520 consumers that have not used curbside pickup:

  • 62% had a positive curbside experience.
  • 58% said curbside pickup was efficient.
  • 46% have used curbside pickup multiple times since March.
  • 39% said they will use curbside options more for the remainder of 2020.

Plus, for holiday shopping, 18% of consumers say they will seek out retailers who offer curbside pickup to avoid crowded stores because of COVID-19, according to a September survey of 1,000 consumers by Bizrate Insights and Digital Commerce 360.

For retailers, curbside pickup offers a way to fulfill online orders with store inventory. Plus, from a deployment standpoint, curbside pickup requires similar systems and processes as buy online pick up in store, as both require retailers to have an inventory management system that provides visibility into inventory at each store and fulfillment centers. Many retailers have cited that they could quickly roll out curbside pickup because they already offered buy online pick up in store.

Gap Inc. (No. 23 in the Top 500) has equipped all of its Old Navy, Athleta and Banana Republic stores that had buy online pick up in store available to now offer curbside. Gap stores don’t yet offer BOPIS, and therefore don’t offer curbside, says a Gap spokeswoman.

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“From a technological perspective, it wasn’t a huge shift,” the spokeswoman says about launching curbside. The main difference was the communication with its customers and making sure store employees knew the new procedures, she says.

This article is based on Digital Commerce 360’s Click, Ship & Return Report. It can be downloaded now as a PDF for $399. Digital Commerce 360 Gold and Platinum Members receive a complimentary copy of this report as a part of their membership. View the table of contents here.

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