Last year, 11% of online purchases were picked up in brick-and-mortar stores. Of course, that was back when anyone could go to any store at any time. As consumer behavior changes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s more important than ever that retailers implement buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup best practices.

Throughout April, nearly all Americans were under stay-at-home orders. Naturally, click-and-collect shopping surged during this period, increasing 208% year-over-year. It’s likely that these numbers will continue to climb even as lockdowns are lifted throughout the country. According to a Coresight Research survey, 45% of consumers plan to keep avoiding shopping centers and malls.

As you capitalize on click-and-collect, here are six things to keep in mind throughout the entire pickup process.

BOPIS and Curbside Pickup Best Practices: Before

  • Scream it from the rooftops. No BOPIS and curbside pickup best practices matter if your customers don’t even realize they’re options. While BOPIS has contributed to Kohl’s double-digit ecommerce growth, curbside pickup is a relatively new offering. But if you’re a Kohl’s customer, it’s hard not to know about it because the retailer makes a point to promote it everywhere: the homepage, search results, checkout pages, emails, in-app.
  • Add it to abandonment. Consumers have come to expect fast, free shipping and shipping fees are among the most common catalysts for cart abandonment. As ecommerce supply chains remain overwhelmed — even Amazon and Walmart have shipping delays — could people be abandoning carts to search for a quicker option? Maybe. Just in case, make sure to include any alternative options such as BOPIS or curbside pickup when you sent those abandonment messages.

BOPIS and Curbside Pickup Best Practices: During

  • Be crystal clear. When it comes to BOPIS and curbside pickup best practices, this one may be the most important. The pandemic has accelerated adoption of click-and-collect, which means many people are using these offerings for the first time and have questions. Does BOPIS have a designated section in the store? Is the curbside pickup clearly labeled in your parking lot? Do customers know the protocol for receiving their purchases? Your confirmation communications should proactively answer these, spelling out everything.
  • Consider the channel. Whether an order is ready or delayed, it goes without saying that you should manage expectations by keeping customers updated in real time. Take it one step further and go cross-channel. If someone is en route to your store, are they likely to be checking their email? Target sends updates via email, while hedging its bets by alerting customers via push notification as well.

BOPIS and Curbside Pickup Best Practices: After

  • Think about what you can test. Steadily increasing over the last several holiday seasons, BOPIS accounted for 43% of online purchases this past Black Friday. Given the changes in consumer behavior, we’re likely to see a lot more click-and-collect this holiday season. Use this time to test BOPIS and curbside pickup best practices of the future. For example, you can try using the parking lot as a merchandising opportunity, featuring those incremental last-minute items for those customers who won’t be waiting in a cash register line.
  • Treat it like any other post-purchase stream. Strong post-purchase messaging builds relationships and sets up the next sale. In the case of BOPIS and curbside pickup, you’re also compounding on the seamlessness of the transaction. Best Buy includes additional frequent help topics and product recommendations to the pickup confirmation, while later following up to request feedback. It’s worth noting that Best Buy’s curbside pickup experience is so streamlined that the retailer was able to retain 81% of last year’s Q1 sales, even with no store traffic.

BOPIS and curbside pickup best practices are just the beginning. To learn more about enhancing triggered messages, leveraging employee-generated content and communicating the status of stores, download Business Not As Usual: 14 Email Marketing Tactics to Test Now.