New digital trends and e-commerce innovations are changing the way people shop. Consumers expect convenient, frictionless experiences and personalization at their fingertips. You might think that online shopping is very different from ordering food online – but it’s much more similar than you think. Customers expect curbside pickup when ordering food after the pandemic when social distancing made it essentially mandatory if one wanted to eat food they didn’t prepare themselves.
Why Is Curbside Pickup Important?
There are many reasons why curbside pickup could be important for your business. Even if you think you don’t have customers who could benefit, you do.
Everyone can access your food
To comply with building codes and state and federal laws, your restaurant is already accessible to those with disabilities. But it can still require a lot of effort on a customer’s part to go inside your restaurant. If they’re feeling even slightly ill or low energy, or the weather is bad, they could decide to skip eating out at all and just make something they have at home. By offering curbside pickup, you allow those with disabilities to place an order more easily for your food and pick it up.
There are others besides the disabled who could benefit from curbside pickup, however. These people include:
- The elderly: Like the disabled, elderly folks may be more likely to place an order online if they know they only have to get in their car and drive to get it. They won’t be concerned about slipping on wet sidewalks, navigating between closely placed tables to a pickup counter, or other issues that limited mobility may present for them.
- Introverts: Many people would love to order food frequently but hesitate because of the required interaction with so many people. Curbside pickup limits their interactions with others and keeps them in the familiar environment of their own car.
- People who are ill: If you’ve ever been sick and craved your favorite dish from your favorite local restaurant, you know it’s no fun having that craving and knowing you can’t fulfill it without potentially making others sick as well. Curbside pickup can significantly cut the chances of infecting others.
- Parents with young children: Parents with kids are a huge market for restaurants, but many parents don’t want to bring the kids into a restaurant, especially if it’s just to pick up food to take home. Curbside pickup makes it possible for parents of young children to place their order online and not have to get the kids out of the car. For those with babies and toddlers, this can be a huge benefit that might make them very loyal customers.
All the big chains offer it
Think of any national chain restaurant, whether it’s a fast food joint or a sit-down restaurant, and if you check their website, you’ll most likely see they offer curbside pickup. These national chains already have the advantage of name recognition and huge advertising budgets that may make you feel as though competing with them is impossible. By offering curbside pickup, you create a slightly more level playing field that might provide you with more customers.
Grocery stores, markets and more are offering their own version
Your customers are experiencing the benefits of curbside pickup everywhere else in their life. From their grocery shopping to shopping for clothes or even a TV, they can do their shopping in the comfort of home and then just get in their car to pick it up. No wandering aisles, searching for a pickup counter, or struggling to load their own items into their vehicle. This makes them want to experience this in all aspects of life – including ordering food. If they want to order from you but you don’t offer curbside pickup, they may change their mind and order from a competitor instead.
How To Offer Curbside Pickup?
- Invest in dedicated parking spaces near the storefront – Customers will want to park close to the entrance so that employees can easily bring the items out to their cars.
- Create an online option for customers to indicate they want curbside pickup – This way, customers can select this option when they order their items and you can easily track demand. It also ensures that customers don’t forget you offer it.
- Hire additional employees – You may need more employees on hand during busy hours who can take customer orders and bring them out to their cars.
If you want to offer curbside pickup service, you’ll need to invest in some additional equipment and possibly hiring staff. Here are some tips:
2 Digital Strategies For Effective Curbside Pickup Services
If you want to attract more shoppers to your curbside pickup option, there are a few digital marketing tactics you can use:
- Promote the option on your social media channels. To get started, try posting an image of your restaurant with the pickup option highlighted. You can also try posting about the benefits of ordering online and selecting curbside pickup for your convenience.
- Try running a digital ad campaign focused on curbside pickup. Your ads should include a clear description of the service and a button to follow the link to your website. Try to target your ads to people who are more likely to order online, like younger customers and people in rural areas.
Curbside pickup provides incredible convenience for your customers. But more than that, it offers you a way to serve more customers without needing to expand your physical location or hours. Create a larger customer base by offering them exactly what they want: a quick, convenient, and affordable way to have your food on their terms.