5 Curbside Pickup Solutions for Retailers to Use During Covid-19

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This post is the latest in our “Commerce and Coronavirus” series. It will be an editorial focus for the month of April, and you can see the rest of the series here. Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann, Pixabay.

Consumer interest in curbside pickup has exploded during the coronavirus pandemic. Between late February and late March, curbside and in-store pickup orders jumped 87%, according to data from Adobe Analytics. While large retail chains with established curbside programs are benefiting the most from this trend, smaller regional and local retail outlets can offer similar services when they have access to the right tools.

Curbside pickup isn’t just a win from a public health perspective; it also gives stores an additional lifeline as they look for ways to sell products without violating physical distancing guidelines. What’s more, the trend may stick, bringing additional retailers into the process and boosting customer adoption even after social distancing subsides.

These are five technology companies offering platforms and tools that retailers can use to implement curbside pickup during the Covid-19 crisis.

1. Glympse
Understanding that most brick-and-mortar stores and restaurants are not set up logistically to deal with the operational challenges that come with curbside pickup, Glympse developed a straightforward solution that many types of businesses can use. When a shopper places an online order, the local retailer fulfills the order, and the shopper receives an alert when the purchase is ready. Shoppers can then use the Glympse app to share their location when they’re on the way, and a geofence trigger alerts the retailer’s staff when the customer is about to arrive. Glympse says that blending delivery and pickup can give retailers a competitive edge, and that is especially true during the Covid-19 pandemic.

2. Radius Networks
Radius Networks’ curbside solution aims to solve some of the largest obstacles that retailers face when implementing pickup services at their own stores. With Radius’ technology, every part of the curbside pickup experience is automated. Using proprietary location technologies, the company sends customer arrival notifications to store associates, so online orders can be brought out to shoppers as soon as they arrive. In addition to retailers, Radius Networks also offers its curbside delivery solution to restaurants, grocers, pharmacies, and convenience stores.

3. Zapiet
Zapiet’s sophisticated store pickup and delivery platform is used by thousands of retailers in hundreds of countries. Businesses that have recently started selling their products online can connect their Shopify accounts to Zapiet to enable takeaway selling from their own storefronts. Smaller retailers can avoid over-commitments by limiting how many customers can choose specific timeslots for receiving their goods. Zapiet also offers in-store pickup and local delivery options for businesses using BigCommerce.

4. Apex
Not every curbside pickup strategy is going to look the same. Apex is taking a unique approach to curbside service, using outdoor lockers to provide 24/7 convenience to shoppers. The company offers business intelligence tools that integrate with existing POS, mobile, and loyalty systems, along with a click-and-collect solution that retailers can use to enable self-serve pickup. Retailers can integrate Apex’s click-and-collect solution with existing e-commerce platforms. Orders marked for curbside service are packed into outdoor smart lockers, also developed by Apex. Customers can then drive up and collect their purchases at any time, without any contact with store associates.

SWIPEBY is designed more for restaurants than retailers, but its popularity within the space merits its inclusion on this list. SWIPEBY’s platform gives businesses a way to accept mobile orders and deliver curbside. The arrival technology sends automated notifications to the business when the customer arrives. Customers also have the ability to pay with credit cards through their mobile devices, so they can minimize contact with the business’ employees. SWIPEBY is available nationwide. With an express onboarding option, restaurants can start using the service within 24 hours of signing up.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.