With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many consumers tried to limit their exposure to other people while still getting the products they need and want. With this new focus on social distancing, a new retail strategy emerged. Called curbside pickup, its aim was for customers to decide what products they wanted, select them online, and have someone hand the bag directly to them in the car. This process minimized contact for the customer but still allowed the retail establishment to offer their entire inventory to many customers safely and conveniently.
Curbside pickup works like a drive-through without any special equipment or delivery features but has the benefit of creating limited but still important contact between the customer and staff. The pandemic created many opportunities for people to buy food and necessities without taking unnecessary risks of exposure to the virus.
Although this started as a way to avoid getting sick while shopping, curbside pickup has become a legitimate and alternative shopping method for consumers going forward post-pandemic. And for the cannabis industry, the curbside option has created tremendous benefits for both consumers and business owners alike.
Why Are Cannabis Businesses and Customers Choosing Curbside Pickup?
Cannabis businesses and customers alike appreciate the efficient and “short but sweet” nature of curbside pickup. There are numerous reasons stores are turning to curbside, including:
Theft-deterrence — According to the National Association of Shoplifting and Theft Addiction Specialists, half a billion shoplifting incidents take place each year, resulting in $13 billion in stolen merchandise. Theft is an out-of-control crime, but with curbside pickup, attempted theft can be prevented and thwarted, as the product is delivered in an organized and monitored transaction.
Flexibility — Businesses are developing curbside strategies now to be ready for future difficulties, like weather emergencies and, of course, shutdowns due to public health crises. Businesses that don’t require customers to be in the stores to shop physically can use the curbside pickup as a chance to keep customers frequenting their establishments regardless of what’s happening out in the world.
Increased sales — Consumers love the convenience of curbside pickup and offering this option has been a boon for cannabis businesses where this practice is allowed. Moreover, shoppers often add to their existing orders when picking up their previously ordered items.
Five Benefits of Curbside Pickup
Convenience. Many people find that it’s simply far easier and efficient to drive up and have their items ready to go. After all, most customers enter a store with a list or at least some idea of what they want to purchase ahead of time. Letting an employee do the legwork saves unnecessary time inside the store and waiting in line.
Comfort. With cell phone technology at our fingertips, pulling up to the store, verifying an order using the store’s app, and waiting in an air-conditioned vehicle doesn’t get any more comfortable. And when purchasing cannabis, comfort often equals discretion. An efficient and safe transaction from the comfort of their own car can put the customer at ease.
And for better or worse, many shoppers simply want to avoid other people, not only for health concerns but also for social reasons. Curbside services reduce your chance of running into a rude customer or engaging in unwanted social interactions.
Cost. Curbside pickup does not generally include an additional fee, so it’s the same cost as picking the order up in the store. It can even be cheaper for the customer if the business is in an urban center and does not have good parking. Picking up curbside also does not have a delivery or shipping fee to consider. It offers the convenience of online ship-to-home options without the added costs.
Speed. Curbside pickup reduces the time the customer needs for shopping. Waiting for an online delivery is eliminated, and it is even faster than buying online and picking up the order in-store. We all know how quickly time flies when shopping, as the minutes tick by while searching for items, comparing prices, and window shopping. Those activities are completely eliminated with curbside pick-up.
Safety. Curbside pickup decreases contact points with others while shopping. Everyone was focused on this during the COVID-19 pandemic, but this focus is applicable going forward in a post-pandemic world. In the winter months especially, indoor shopping can be a risky activity during cold and flu season. The value of health is appreciated now more than ever in our increasingly crowded society, and avoiding packed stores gives everyone peace of mind.
Curbside Pickup for Cannabis is Likely Here to Stay
The most valuable benefit of curbside pickup for cannabis is the ability to save time. One of the most annoying aspects of shopping is waiting in line. The ability to pick up curbside makes us feel like we’re first in line to get our cannabis products.
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