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The Helcim Blog / Merchant Guides

Is Curbside Pickup Going Away?

Danny Randell | August 11, 2021

“A novelty before the pandemic, curbside pickup has become the new normal in many places. But is it here to stay?”

4 min read

What is Curbside Pickup and How Does It Work?

Curbside pickup, or click and collect, is a means of shopping whereby users make a purchase online and retrieve their order on the street outside of the location from which they ordered. Curbside pickup gained popularity in 2020 as a means of contactless exchange.

Was Curbside Pickup a Covid Trend?

Curbside pickup was in its infancy before the COVID-19 pandemic, but has since exploded across the globe, with more and more stores utilizing this tool to keep their customers happy and their doors open. But is it over? Or is it here to stay?

Curbside pickup has actually become a huge part of some people’s lives. You might even know someone who hasn’t set foot in a grocery store in months. There are a few companies (Loblaw’s for example) who were experimenting with it even before the pandemic started with some success, meaning there’s probably more to this than just necessity. Unlike baking bread, it seems like curbside pickup is a covid trend that’s here to stay; at least for a while.

Should Your Business Consider Keeping Curbside Pickup?

It’s really too soon to call it quits on curbside pickup when there are still plenty of people out there using it. No one is really sure how soon the world will be back to “normal normal”, and even after the “panini” is well and truly behind us, some folks will likely continue to relish the convenience click & collect has afforded them and make a part of their life going forward.

Is Curbside Pickup Worth It?

If your business is operating somewhere that is relatively safe and things have re-opened, you may want to consider how much offering a curbside pickup service is costing you. Like any business venture, if the cost is outweighing the benefits to your business, then you should probably scrap it.

Is Curbside Pickup Safe?

There are always going to be those out there looking to game the system, and the click and collect process was far from perfect when it was introduced. There were more than a couple of loopholes that were ripe for scammer fraud, which posed a serious loss prevention threat to many merchants. We’re going to tell you some of the ways in which nefarious characters are taking advantage of curbside pickup to defraud merchants, and offer some best practices for how your business can avoid falling victim to their schemes.

Learn to Defend Against Curbside Pickup Fraud

The primary way scammers are taking advantage of buy online, pickup in-store systems is by hacking into customer accounts to place an order. Fraudsters use the fact that many people use the same passwords for multiple accounts to their advantage, and once they gain access to an account, they may be able to change the phone number or address associated with that customer to their own. This way, when a merchant notifies a customer that their order is ready via text, for example, the fraudster will be the one notified.

Fraud Prevention Tip: you should always use a different password for every site you log in to and enabling two-factor authentication via SMS when possible can also be a good way to secure your personal account against fraudulent login attempts.

Another way scammers were taking advantage of curbside pick-up to get away with stolen goods is through a lack of controls and identification verification at the retail location. For example, a retailer might have asked to confirm an order number before letting a customer collect an item, but ID verification was not always required. For the most part, this has since been addressed by merchants who are now more wary of fraudulent curbside pickup purchases.

Fraud Prevention Tip: Have clear policies in place for what identification and steps are required to collect curbside pickup orders and train all of your staff members on the importance of following these steps. You can add your curbside pickup policy to your online store so customers know what to expect when they arrive at your location.

How You Can Avoid Risk & Loss

So what can you do as a merchant to protect yourself from curbside pickup fraud?

  • Encourage your customers to use unique passwords for their account
  • Require order number verification at pickup
  • Require ID verification at pickup

The Bottom Line

Curbside pickup is not going anywhere just yet. If your business has experimented with it and found it to be a value add for your customers and a viable way to add to your business’s income, then don’t get rid of it! Instead, stay aware of fraudulent practices and keep abreast of changes in the space so that your business doesn’t get taken advantage of.

All that being said, it’s always a good idea not to put all your eggs in one basket. Nobody knows whether the consumer changes we are seeing now will be permanent, so it might be a good idea to keep your other income streams open rather than relying solely on curbside pickup for revenue.

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