In the last few months, retailers have been forced to tackle unforeseen challenges. From pivoting to keep sales going to store closures, resilience is at the core of what makes retail businesses so strong.
Pushing for true retail resilience, you’ve likely had to rely on new ways to sell. Even if you’ve never done it before, you may have started offering local pickup to keep sales momentum up.
We’ve seen this reflected in our data: since launching local pickup functionality at the end of April, we’ve seen 35% of retail merchants fulfill a local pickup order.
This goes to show that customers are leaning into this new way to shop amidst store closures and physical distancing efforts, but also preparing for the long run.
Local pickup is a great way to grow sales and improve the local customer experience, but it does have its challenges. Adding another order fulfillment option can be time consuming and complicated for store staff.
If there’s any break in communication with customers, it can impact a customer’s experience. But when done right, local pickup is a great option to become a true omnichannel retail business that better prepares your business for the future.
💡 Interested in omnichannel? You might also enjoy our predictions for the future of omnichannel retail in 6 Omnichannel Trends to Look for in 2021.
If you don’t currently offer local pickup or aren’t sure where to start, checkout our how-to article before reading on. If you are offering local pickup, let’s dive into the best practices for retail stores.
How to simplify local pickup fulfillment in all-new Shopify POS
Give store staff the right level of access
Instead of giving staff access to your Shopify admin, the all-new Shopify POS has unlimited staff permissions that are customizable based on specific roles.
When setting up staff PINs and permissions, you can create custom roles like keyholder, store manager, and associate—or whatever roles fit your different levels of staff. This makes it easy for you to see which orders were fulfilled by which staff member and track their performance, identify anomalies, or troubleshoot if orders were not fulfilled correctly.
With the all-new POS, staff no longer need access to sensitive information in the admin, and only have access to the information and workflows they need to do their job quickly and efficiently.
Make local pickup workflows easier
In the all-new Shopify POS, we’ve introduced the smart grid. The smart grid lives on your POS home screen and is completely customizable for your staff’s workflows. You and your staff can add tiles based on what actions you take regularly, like the checkout flow, order management, discounts, and fulfilling local pickup orders.
When the local pickup tile is added to the smart grid, staff can simply tap the tile and see which orders need to be prepared or are ready for pickup. For orders that need to be prepared, staff click on the unfulfilled order and can see which items need to be packed. Once the order has been prepared, staff can send a custom pickup notification through email or SMS directly to the customer, letting them know their order is ready.
When a customer arrives to your store, staff can immediately see the order number, name, order total, and whether it’s been prepared. Then, mark that the order has been picked up.
More ways to speed up local pickup orders
Another option to fulfill local pickup orders is to use the global search bar. The global search feature is a new way to search across customers, orders, and products. Instead of taking a ton of steps to find a specific order, global search pulls information from across your business so staff can find what they need faster.
When a customer arrives to pick up their order, you can search by their name or order number, and the global search will pull up their specific information and order history and then mark their order as fulfilled. By seeing their order history right on the POS screen, it also creates a great opportunity for up-selling additional products and ending each sale on a personal note.
Communicate with customers every step of the way
When it comes to local pickup, some of the best customer experiences are those that are well communicated and efficient for customers. Customers want to know exactly what’s happening with their order the moment they pay and expect a frictionless experience all the way to when they bring their new item home.
Just like setting up local pickup from the admin or mobile app, we recommend that you create custom email or SMS notifications for customers to communicate timing and pickup policies. These notifications are not only expected, but helpful for customers as they plan to pick up their order. You’ll want to make sure that you’re sending emails or SMS notifications when an order has been confirmed, an order is ready for pickup, and when an order has been picked up.
Custom notifications are also a great opportunity to share instructions for what customers should do when they arrive, safety protocols they need to follow, and new product collections they may want to check out.
All the local pickup benefits, in one place
Running an omnichannel retail business isn’t light work. There are tons of things to do to keep your business running smoothly and we’re here to help you optimize your processes along the way. Here’s a recap of how the all-new Shopify POS makes local pickup quick and efficient:
- Easily manage your staff permissions based on specific roles and level of access
- Make it faster for staff to see, search, pack, and fulfill local pickup orders from one place
- Customize workflows based on how your staff work and how you want to communicate with customers
Local pickup is included with the Pro subscription on the all-new POS. It's just one of many powerful features designed to help brick-and-mortar businesses become future-proof. POS Pro subscription is free until October 31, 2020 and then $89/month per location. Learn more about POS Pro.
Other ways to manage local pickup orders
1. Using Shopify POS Classic for local pickup
Key takeaway: Shopify POS classic won’t be around forever. We’ve built out more robust local pickup capabilities in the all-new Shopify POS.
Before launching the all-new Shopify POS, some users were given early access to local pickup in Shopify POS Classic. This was really important to provide retail merchants with a way to continue selling during COVID-19 and beyond, but also to gain insights on optimal ways to use local pickup.
Based on the insights gathered from our early access testing program, we made a ton of improvements to the store staff workflow, making it easier for staff to see incoming orders they need to prepare and manage customer notifications and pickups. These new improvements in the all-new Shopify POS save your staff time and avoid delays or errors in managing pickup orders.
2. Fulfilling local pickup orders in Shopify admin or with the Shopify mobile app
Key takeaway: The Shopify admin and mobile app are a good stopgap for local pickup, but you may be taking extra steps and giving staff access to information they don’t need to see.
Fulfilling local pickup orders through your Shopify admin or Shopify mobile app is an easy way to let customers pick up their items from wherever you keep your inventory. If you don’t have a storefront and don’t use Shopify POS, you can still have customers pick up items from a warehouse or your home. It’s a great option to keep products moving beyond online channels. However, if you have a full omnichannel retail operation, using the admin or mobile app may be over-complicating your local pickup process.
Store staff need to be focused on speaking to and helping your customers. Toggling between multiple links or apps when a customer is trying to get their order as quickly as possible can cause a delay and even take away from a pleasant interaction.
And if your staff members have access to your admin and mobile app, they can see sensitive information. In most cases, this isn’t a huge concern. But sometimes, there’s information and control within the admin that you’d prefer your staff don’t see like business financials, pricing, discounts, and permissions.
3. Fulfilling local pickup orders using a Shopify app partner
Key takeaway: App partners are a great option for sophisticated local pickup operations.
Shopify POS integrates with third party apps that offer powerful local pickup capabilities. Apps like Zapiet are great for advanced or specialized local pickup needs.
Zapiet has completely customizable local pickup needs. You can go beyond basic local pickup functionality to have granular control over pickup time slots, set individual products as pickup only, and create order preparation time slots for staff.
If you’re running an advanced local pickup business with high customer volume and larger staff teams, consider using a third party app at an additional cost. Plus, you can add it as a tile in Shopify POS’s smart grid, so you can quickly access the app right from the home screen.
Small changes today can make drastic improvements for the future
For retail businesses like yours, the journey of constant improvements doesn’t stop here. With COVID-19 causing you to think quickly on your feet, local pickup is another sales channel that not only helps your business keep sales going now, but also in the long-run. Even though you may have implemented new systems or tools that you weren’t planning on yet, these changes are going to help make your business future-proof and meet ever-evolving customer expectations.
To make the most of your local pickup experience for staff and shoppers, upgrade to the Shopify POS Pro subscription. It’s completely free until October 31st, 2020 so you and staff have time to evaluate the powerful omnichannel features that will help make your retail stores future-proof. After October 31st, Shopify POS Pro will be available for $89/month per location.