Optimizing Geofencing and Curbside Pickup Technology: Streamlining Your Offering

on Dec 20, 2023

Most customers would prefer a seamless shopping experience, where their orders are ready as soon as they reach pickup, avoiding long queues. 

Geofencing and curbside pickup can turn this dream into reality. 

Yet, despite having curbside pickup in place, many businesses fail to deliver a smooth experience. They often find themselves grappling with technical glitches and operational snags.

If that sounds like you, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll talk about how you can optimize geofencing technology to provide a better curbside pickup experience to your customers. 

What is geofencing and curbside pickup? 

Geofencing and curbside pickup are ways you can make shopping or picking up things more convenient for your customers.

Geofencing is a location-based technology that uses GPS and RFID along with other methods to create virtual perimeters or boundaries around specific geographical areas. The location data triggers actions or sends notifications when a device enters or exits a defined area.

Curbside pickup — often a retail or grocery service model — leverages geofencing to create a seamless customer experience. Customers order online, receive alerts when their orders are ready, and then pick them up at the curb — typically a designated pickup zone outside the establishment — without entering the store. 

When used together, geofencing and curbside pickup elevate customer service with: 

  • Precise order preparation: Geofencing alerts the staff to prepare orders as customers approach, ensuring orders are ready upon arrival.
  • Reduced wait times: Geofencing allows businesses to minimize customer wait times by proactively preparing orders.
  • Efficient customer engagement: Geofencing sends real-time notifications to customers, informing them about order status and pickup instructions.
  • Contactless convenience: Curbside pickup offers a safe and convenient way for customers to receive their orders without entering a physical location.
  • Personalized offers: Geofencing technology can trigger location-based promotions, providing customers with tailored discounts and offers.
  • Order accuracy: Geofencing ensures the right order is prepared for the right customer, reducing errors and enhancing customer satisfaction.

Let’s see how it works using an example. 

Let’s say you run a grocery chain. If you want to roll out geofencing technology to streamline your curbside pickup process, here’s how you can go about it:

  • Geofenced ordering: When a customer orders and heads toward your store, a smart app will sense their approach, thanks to geofencing tech. 
  • Order prep alert: When the app detects the customer, it sends an alert to your staff. This way, they know when the customer will be at the pickup spot and can make sure the order is ready when they arrive. 
  • Keeping customers in the loop: To make sure everything runs smoothly, your app should also keep the customers in the loop. This way, they know their order is in the works and moments away from being ready for pickup.
  • Curbside convenience: You can make it extra easy for your customers by setting up specific curbside pickup spots. Customers just have to pull into the designated spot, and your team will be ready with their order.

Here’s how it works in action: 

Curbside pickup and geofencing example

Finally, don’t forget to ask them how their experience was once they pick up their order. Feedback will help you determine if everything went smoothly and what you can improve on to make the entire experience better for your customers. 

Real-world applications 

The blend of geofencing and curbside pickup helps businesses create a more seamless and convenient business experience. Here are some real-world applications of geofencing and curbside pickup that show how technology makes your life easier:

  • Retail stores: Geofencing empowers retail businesses to enhance their customers’ shopping experience by notifying them when they're close to a physical store. This approach encourages customers to consider curbside pickup options, saving time and ensuring their orders are ready upon arrival.
  • Restaurants: Geofencing can signal the restaurant kitchen to prepare a customer's order as they approach. This reduces wait times, ensuring the restaurant serves hot, freshly cooked meals to their guests, elevating the dining experience.
  • Healthcare facilities and pharmacies: Geofencing is especially a game-changer for healthcare providers. Businesses can alert patients when they're near a clinic, hospital, or pharmacy, signaling the availability of curbside prescription or medical supply pickup. This not only simplifies the process for patients but also contributes to a contactless and efficient healthcare service.
  • Grocery stores: Geofencing technology in grocery stores serves as a helpful reminder system. It notifies customers to pick up their pre-ordered groceries as they near the store. This timely reminder ensures the customer retrieves their groceries as soon as they’re ready, adding to the efficiency of the curbside pickup process.
  • Drive-thru services: Businesses can use geofencing to streamline their drive-thru operations, ensuring orders are prepared as the customer approaches. The result? Swift and efficient service, minimizing wait times and keeping customers on the move.
  • Event venues: Geofencing helps add an extra layer of convenience to event venues by offering curbside food and beverage pickup to attendees. With this technology, attendees can count on timely service, ensuring they don't miss a moment of the event.

How to optimize geofencing and curbside pickup for a better customer experience

Implement real-time order synchronization

Imagine this scenario: A customer, eager to collect their curbside order, is approaching your store. 

They've placed their order through your app, selected the curbside pickup option, and are expecting a seamless experience. 

This is where real-time order synchronization comes into play.

Real-time order synchronization involves coordinating the moment a customer enters the geofenced pickup area with the preparation of their order, ensuring it's ready for immediate pickup.

This reduces customer wait times, minimizes order processing errors, and enhances overall efficiency, resulting in a superior customer experience.

You can use tools like Delivery Solutions that use real-time alerts with geofencing technology, wherein your team members get real-time ETA alerts to determine when the customer is reaching the store. 

Here’s how it works in action: 

Curbside pickup and geofencing tool

(Image Source)

This way, orders are prepared on time, reducing wait times and creating a seamless pickup experience.

Personalize notifications and offers

The geofencing tech helps you send personalized notifications and location-specific offers to customers as they approach your store or are within the geofenced area. 

This technology helps you stand out by directly catering to your customers’ preferences at the right time and place. 

Personalization also helps you enhance customer loyalty and engagement, providing added value and a sense of exclusivity.

Use predictive analytics for demand forecasting 

Predictive analytics can be a game changer for your business because it helps you forecast what your customers want based on their purchasing history and current location, among other factors. 

Now, when you prepare their order or send them notifications with offers, you can time them well and offer them exactly what they desire. This way, you’re      improving on-time delivery metrics and giving them what they want — basically wowing customers on both counts. 

Provide transparent communication

One of the easiest ways to elevate the customer experience is by being transparent with your customers. 

When implementing the geofencing and curbside pickup system, communicate accurate estimated wait times to customers when they place orders or arrive at the pickup location. This gives them a sense of control over their order by reducing uncertainty.

Transparent communication also builds trust and keeps customers informed, leading to a more positive experience.

Here’s an excellent example of curbside pickup that offers transparency to its users: 

Curbside pickup example

You can see how, throughout the entire process, the brand maintains a strong line of communication with its customers. They keep customers in the loop through real-time alerts sent via email and mobile messages.

They also include a map to make sure customers can visualize their order in transit at all times. This transparency extends throughout the journey, from the initial order to the final pickup.

Optimizing your technology with geofencing and curbside pickup 

So, there you have it — your recipe for a stellar customer experience by optimizing your geofencing and curbside pickup tech. 

From real-time order sync to personalized alerts and predictive analytics, you're giving them what they want: minimal wait times, personalized offers, and accurate forecasts for their curbside order pickup. 

Now, when a customer arrives, they’ll know their order is ready and when and where they can receive it. They’ll be in the loop throughout the process. And it's not just good for them — it’s good for your business too. Happy customers are loyal customers.

And if you're unsure how to implement and optimize geofencing and curbside pickup, you have tools like Delivery Solutions at your disposal. It does everything on your behalf, from setting up ETA alerts to pick-up instructions and time scheduling, taking away the hassle of implementation. 

About the author

Caitlyn Metzker

Caitlyn Metzker, a professional with 9 years of experience, brings a wealth of insight to her Sr. Enterprise Account Executive role. As a University of South Carolina graduate, Caitlyn has honed her skills within the industry previously with Roadie and Kabbage. Originating from Philadelphia, her multifaceted interests include traveling, hiking, soccer, swimming, and boating, reflecting her adventurous spirit. Her favorite getaway is the picturesque Kauai, Hawaii. Caitlyn's business philosophy underscores the importance of continuous learning, as she believes that "there is always more to learn; absorb as much as you can." When not devising groundbreaking strategies, Caitlyn unwinds by delving into books or enjoying the serene beach. Adding a unique touch, she cherishes the privilege of occasionally working alongside her sister and mother as part of the UPS Digital family. Caitlyn's profound industry knowledge and passion make her an invaluable asset to our B2B SaaS sales and marketing team.


Topics from this blog: Curbside Improvement Logistics

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