Curbside Pickup Soars

More consumers than ever are using the contactless service, and the pace isn’t expected to abate.

April 29, 2020

SAN JOSE, Calif.—The number of online orders for at-store pickup by customers jumped 208% between April 1 and 20 compared with a year earlier, according to Adobe Analytics, CNBC reports. U.S. online sales surged 49% from March 12 to April 11, compared with the baseline period of March 1 to March 11. Retailers didn’t start closing stores until mid-March as states began issuing specific orders targeting brick-and-mortar locations.

The bump comes as more retailers are pivoting to curbside pickup to stay open amid social distancing and stay-at-home edicts. Some essential stores, like Target, have been pushing online ordering and in-store pickup to customers who don’t want to wait for shipped packages, while others closed stores but offer pickup at certain locations.

Industry watchers like Naveen Jaggi, president of JLL’s Retail Advisory team, believe the curbside pickup trend likely will continue to blossom after restrictions are lifted. This week, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the National Retail Federation issued general guidelines for how merchants can reopen their stores safely as governors begin easing restrictions. Phase 1 would let e-commerce operations increase with contactless curbside pickup and in-home delivery. Phase 2 would be re-opening to the public with social distancing rules and lower capacity. Phase 3 would involve establishing protection protocols and going back to normal.

For example, in Texas, the governor allowed nonessential retailers to start a “retail to go” model of curbside pickup. “I think our retail stores are going to become fulfillment centers,” Galleria Dallas’ general manager, Angie Freed, said in an interview about mall tenants moving toward this model. “Retailers are trying to figure it out. … Some of them are more advanced, more savvy and have better systems in place to handle it. Others are scrambling.”

Convenience retailers are stepping up forecourt and at-home delivery services. West Des Moine, Iowa-based Kum & Go, for instance, earlier this month announced plans to expand forecourt delivery services to all of its stores across Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming. To pick up food and merchandise at the curb, customers call the main store phone number and place their order, which is delivered to their vehicle upon arrival. Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey’s is another c-store offering curbside pickup, as well as delivery through a partnership with DoorDash.

Coronavirus Resources

NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.