Are You Ready for the New Socially Distanced Shopping Experience?

28 Oct, 2020 , ,

It’s no secret that shopping today has changed. And we don’t just mean due to the pandemic. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, Google reported that local searches were growing. ‘Available near me’ searches, for example, were showing more than 100% year-on-year growth. Around two-thirds of Brits are expected to give their business to small, local stores this festive season, rather than big firms.

The pandemic has only increased a preference for local. Many people are looking for new, COVID-secure ways to shop. This means a search for convenient alternatives to in-store shopping, and more items ordered for home delivery. One emerging trend is for local delivery and kerbside pickup; a new socially-distanced shopping experience that allows customers to collect from almost any location.

“To meet rising customer demand for contactless fulfilment options, retailers should introduce kerbside pickup and ‘buy online, pick up in-store’ features, and continuously improve execution of these services”.

– Andrew Davis, McKinsey

Why should I launch a kerbside pickup service?

Incorporating a simple local delivery and kerbside pickup service into your e-commerce development strategy could benefit your business. This is especially true when many restrictions are still in place that prevent customers from enjoying a traditional in-store or on-site shopping experience. A Google survey suggests that 63% of shoppers will choose to buy from stores that offer contactless shopping this year. And more than a third are specifically looking for kerbside or local pickup options.

Shopify offers the ability to launch this service, and doing so through the platform can bring even more benefits. Shopify’s backend automatically changes any delivery charge to ‘free’ when the customer selects kerbside delivery. It’s not only helping customers to stay safe; it’s also helping to save them money. That’s a critical factor following the financial uncertainty created by the outbreak.

The benefits of kerbside pickup and local delivery extend well beyond retail. Some businesses wouldn’t typically offer digital shopping experiences – restaurants and pubs, for example. For these types of business, it’s a way to build a stronger customer base and boost loyalty. They can now provide safer, more secure, and more convenient ways for customers to engage with their brand and buy from them. A great example is the American-style smokehouse chain Hickory’s, which started its local pickup service this year.

Setting up local delivery & kerbside pickup on Shopify

You can introduce these new options for your customers through your Shopify support dashboard. All you need to do is click the button to enable local pickup for each item, and for each location in which you’ll be offering this service. This can be outside your brick and mortar venue, at the customer’s kerbside, or anywhere else. It’s up to you.

It’s as simple as that.

Getting the most out of the kerbside pickup service

  • Choose a compatible theme – Some Shopify themes, like the Debut theme, have kerbside pickup features built-in. These automatically show customers which items are available on this service. However, if none of these themes are right for you, don’t panic! Our experienced Shopify development experts here at #ShopBuddy can add kerbside pickup options to any theme.
  •  Communicate clearly – Perhaps you need your customers to bring ID when they pick up or their confirmation email. Or perhaps there’s a specific way for them to let you know they’ve arrived. You can communicate all the ins and outs of your service by adding the details online. Go to Settings > Shipping and delivery > Local pickup > Manage. Here, you can update your pickup settings.
  •  Personalise your emails – If your customers have requested local delivery or pickup, your automated notification emails should reflect this. Unfortunately, Shopify doesn’t make this particularly easy. You’ll need to have a good grasp of Shopify’s templating language, Liquid, to customise your emails… or just get our Shopify designers to do it for you!

Need help adding kerbside options into your favourite theme? Not a clue how to use Liquid? Simply want more information about the biggest trends shaping the future of online – and offline – sales? Get in touch with us on or sign up to our newsletter to get more useful info.

By Mladen Gorchev

Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst

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