COVID-19 is disrupting millions of lives around the world. I’m heartbroken for local brick-and-mortar retailers, who are facing sudden hardship as people are encouraged to stay indoors for safety.
At Shopify, we’re acting quickly to respond with product updates and new offers to help retailers like you navigate these challenging times. One of those product updates is local pickup. With local pickup, your customers can skip the shipping rates and pick up online orders in-store, curbside, or from other locations that you choose.
This guide will cover how to quickly create an online store, set up local pickup, and fulfill pickup orders. The best part is that you don’t need a retail storefront to offer local pickup—pickup can be anywhere you stock inventory or fulfill orders, like a warehouse.
Note: Learn more about local and curbside pickup and whether your business is eligible.
Create your online store with Shopify. Start a 90-day free trial—no credit card required.
How does curbside pickup work?
As an alternative to having a product shipped to their home, customers can use local pickup to buy a product online and pick it up at a convenient nearby location, like your store or warehouse.
In the case of curbside pickup, a customer might drive by your storefront, or your “curb,” to pick up a product—without ever having to leave their car. In either case, both options are a great way to reduce shipping costs and minimize person-to-person interactions without compromising on convenience or flexibility.
Here is an overview of what a local pickup experience may look like for your store:
- Your customer will place an order and pay you online through your online store.
- You’ll get the order emailed to you, so you can prepare it safely.
- You’ll tell the customer when it’s ready for pickup and provide them any other relevant instructions (e.g., your store hours or a phone number to call when they arrive).
- Your customer will come to pick up their order.
- That’s it, you're done!
How to set up local pickup
Local pickup is a great way to bring your retail business online and keep selling in-store products while your business is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we recommend you only offer local pickup if it is advised and allowed by the authorities in your area. Make sure to research current government recommendations.
If you’re a retail business owner already online and you're looking to set up local pickup, you’ll want to skip ahead to step ten. If this is your first foray into an online business, your journey starts with preparations to get online.
1. Before you begin selling
Before you can start selling products online, it's helpful to have the following items ready:
- Photos of your retail store.
- Logos or brand assets for your retail business. If you need a logo made quickly, try Hatchful.
- Short product descriptions describing your products and why people should buy. If you need help writing descriptions, read our guide.
- Product photos showcasing your catalog. You can take quality photos with most modern phones.
2. Start your online store
The first step is to head over to Shopify’s homepage and start your free 90-day trial. Your store name will become your domain, or the URL that your customers will go to when they want to order from your store.
In this guide, the URL I’m using for my business, Katie’s Cafe, is katiescafecurbside.myshopify.com. You can buy a custom domain later, but it’s not necessary for launching your store.
Learn more: Checklist to set up your online store.
3. Add products
You can add products in a few ways, but to quickly create a “buy online, pick up curbside” experience, I recommend the following steps:
- From your Shopify admin, head to Products > All products. From this page, click the button Add product.Enter a title for your product, along with a product description and photo.
- Make sure to select Track inventory.
- Since you won’t be doing any shipping, uncheck This is a physical product.
- Make sure to edit variants if your item has more than one option (e.g., different sizes, colors, etc.).
- Assign your products to the location where you want to offer pickup and ensure that the box Fulfill online orders from this location is checked. (Learn more about creating and assigning inventory to locations.)
💡Tip: Remember that a location doesn’t have to be a retail store. You might want to create a location that’s in front of a warehouse so you don’t have to distribute products to your stores.
4. Customize your theme
Bring your Business Online with the Express Theme
Express is a free theme designed for businesses with small to medium product catalogues that are looking to get online quickly and meet their customers where they're purchasing from today.Preview the Express Theme
Your online store uses a default theme, Debut, to display content. I kept the Debut theme for this guide.
After you choose a theme, you can customize it to fit your brand.
- Go to Themes then click the Customize button to edit the homepage of your online store.
- Edit the theme’s default sections using the theme editor. Select Image with text overlay and Text column with images.
- Click the remaining sections and then click the Remove section button. Alternatively, you can simply hide them by clicking on the eye icon.
- Select Image with text overlay. This section on your website introduces your store to your customers. Add a photo of your business and customize the heading and text. You can see how my store looks below.
- Include a button with a call to action. Select All products as thebutton link so customers can start shopping immediately.
Now, head back to your theme editor. Configure Text columns with images to include more details. For my store, I’m using this section to explain to my customers how curbside pickup works.
After that, return to your theme editor. Now select Header to edit the top of your website. This is a great place to add your logo. You can see what my logo looks like in the example below.
Learn more: Themes for your online store.
5. Customize your product pages
Now it’s time to set up basic product pages to showcase your products. Head to the drop-down menu at the top of your screen and select Product pages.
Select Show quantity selector to allow your customers to choose as many of each item as they want. After that, select Show variant labels. [why]
Remember to make sure that your products are stocked at the pickup location. For example, if an order contains a product that is not available at the New York location, then the New York pickup option won’t be available at checkout for your customers.
6. Customize your shopping cart page
The shopping cart page is where customers can view all of the items they’ve added to their cart or the products they intend to purchase. No changes need to be made to enable local and curbside pickup, but you can make your site look more professional and customized to your business.
Consider playing around with your theme settings. If you have social media, add it now. Here’s how:
- Go to Online store > Themes and click the Customize button.
- In the left panel, you’ll see Social media. Select and add the URLs for your social media accounts.
- Consider using your logo as the Favicon.
7. Customize your emails
Nice work—you’re almost ready to go! Let’s configure the emails your customers will receive from you after they complete their order.
To begin, make your way to Settings and select Notification emails > Order confirmation. A default email exists that customers will receive when they place their order. You can tweak this to add a personal message or other helpful information.
Now, go back to the notifications list to edit another email template called Shipping confirmation. This is the email you’ll send customers when their order is ready.
8. Launch your store
You can do everything above in Shopify before you pick your plan. Once you’re ready to go live, it’s time to choose the right plan for you. The ability to offer your customers local pickup is available for free on all plans.
Once you select a plan, you’ll be prompted for payment information, but you won’t be charged until your 90-day trial is up.
Go back to your Online Store and Disable password. Once you hit Save, your online store will be live!
9. Accept payments
All Shopify-supported payment methods rely on third-party providers to process your transactions. These providers might charge extra fees, as well as enforce rules about what products you can sell using their service. When you set up a payment method, check with the company providing the service to make sure you understand their rules and fees. Learn more about making sure you’re set up to receive payments.
10. Enable local pickup and fulfill orders
Once your store is live and you’ve verified that your products are in stock at the necessary locations, it’s time to enable local pickup.
Follow these instructions to enable local pickup on your online store and fulfill pickup orders on either Shopify admin, the Shopify mobile app, or through Shopify POS.
Ways to enhance your online store
With your Shopify store now live and available to customers, there are a few other steps you can consider to improve their shopping experience.
- Sell gift cards, which can help free up cash flow. Gift cards are now available on all Shopify plans to help small businesses.
- Add a custom domain so your store has a distinct URL, such as katiescafe.com. Check available domain names and get ideas with our domain name generator.
- Advertise and market your store online to reach new and existing customers. Start with a few ideas shared in this guide.
- Explore our themes and app store to further customize your online store.
- Use our mobile app to get notified of orders directly to your phone.
- Set up local delivery to give customers the ability to select local delivery at checkout.
- Add your staff members
- Determine how you'll take returns or issue refunds.
We’re here for you. If you’d like additional help, please contact our support team. We’re available 24/7 to offer guidance—anything from moving your retail business online to advice on navigating your current business challenges.