How to Quickly Set Up a "Buy Online, Pickup Curbside" Experience with Shopify

Buy online pickup curbside with Shopify.

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. We’ll announce more changes soon. Right now, local businesses need to find creative new ways to stay engaged with their customers, even while their retail location is unavailable.

I created this tutorial to help you quickly set up an online store, so your customers can buy online and safely pick up their products curbside. 

Note: This guide is for businesses that are brand new to Shopify. We've extended our free trial to help give retail businesses extra time to build their presence online.


Create your online store with Shopify. Start a 90-day free trial—no credit card required.

How it works

Curbside pickup allows customers nearby to buy something online and drive by your storefront or your “curb” to pick it up—without ever having to leave their car. This “drive-through” option is often more convenient and it can reduce shipping costs and minimize person-to-person interactions. Here are the steps:

  1. Your customer will order and pay you online through your new online store
  2. You’ll get the order emailed to you, so you can prepare it safely
  3. You’ll then tell the customer when it’s ready for pickup
  4. Your customer will drive to your store and pop their trunk
  5. You’ll safely place their order in their trunk
  6. That’s it, you're done!

Steps to set up a "buy online, pickup curbside" experience

I've made this tutorial with the goal of getting your store up and running within 10 minutes to an hour, depending on how many products you upload. Let's begin!

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 that describe your products and why people should buy. If you need help writing descriptions, read our guide.
  • Product photos to showcase 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 90-day free 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 tutorial, the URL I’m using is katiescafecurbside.myshopify.com for my business, Katie’s Cafe. You can buy a custom domain later, but it’s not necessary for launching your store. 

Learn moreChecklist 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.) 

💡 Tip: Keep your online store simple by only adding only your best-selling products or “essentials” and keep current demand in mind. Fewer products will reduce your setup time and get your business back up and running faster.

Learn more: Adding and updating products in Shopify

4. Customize your theme 

The theme you choose should reflect your business––think of it as your digital storefront. You can choose one of the free themes we offer or explore the theme store for more options. 

Your online store uses a default theme, Debut, to display content. I kept the Debut theme for this tutorial. 

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 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 the Buttonlink 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 once again 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.

The last step for your product pages is to unselect Show dynamic checkout button.

Note: Dynamic checkout accelerates the purchase by skipping the cart and completing the payment with the checkout method displayed on the button. The button dynamically changes to reflect the customer's preferred accelerated checkout method. Since you’ll need to add customers’ license plate information at checkout, you don’t want to offer dynamic checkout button. 


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. We'll want to make some quick changes to set up our "buy online, pickup curbside" experience.

  • In your drop down menu at the top, go to Cart
  • In the left panel, select Cart page
  • Select both Enable automatic cart updates and Enable cart notes. We need the cart notes so that customers can add their license plate.
  • In the left panel, select Theme settings



The next step is to head back to your admin homepage and select Sales Channels > Themes. On the right side, where you see Current theme, click on Actions > Edit languages.

In the field titled Note, add the following instructions: “Please indicate your license plate number and car make or model” 

Finally, consider playing around with your theme settings. If you have social media, I’d 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


None of this is required, but it helps make your site look more professional and customized to your business.

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. These notification emails will let your customers know when it’s time to come pick up their order.

To begin, make your way to Settings and select Notification emails > Order confirmation. This is the default email that customers will receive when they place their order.


In the Email body (HTML) you’re going to edit a little bit of code. Don’t worry, I'll walk you through each step. 

Let's begin by selecting the following text from the body of the email—and only this portion!— and then deleting it: 

{% capture email_title %}Thank you for your purchase! {% endcapture %} {% capture email_body %} {% if requires_shipping %} Hi {{ customer.first_name }}, we're getting your order ready to be shipped. We will notify you when it has been sent. {% endif %} {% endcapture %}

Once you've deleted the snippet above, the text box should look like this now:

In the second line of the email body, paste in this copy:

{% capture email_body %} Hi {{ customer.first_name }}, thanks so much for your order! We're getting your order ready for pickup. We will notify you by email when it is ready for pickup! {% endcapture %}

After you've done that, this is what you should see:



Preview the email to make sure you’re happy with how it looks.

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. 

Start by deleting this code from the Email body (HTML):


In the first line of the email, paste the following copy:

{% capture email_body %} Hi {{ customer.first_name }}, thanks so much for your order! It’s now ready for pickup. Please head to our storefront and pop your trunk. We’ll check your license plate and put your order in the trunk!  {% endcapture %}

 

Then, update your Subject line to read: “Your order from {{ name }} is ready for curbside pickup!” 

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 Basic Shopify plan is likely all you need to offer a "buy online, pickup curbside" experience for your customers.

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 orders 

When you get an order, you’ll receive an email from Shopify to the email address you signed up with. You can also log back into Shopify at www.shopify.com to check your orders at any time. Orders will show up in the Orders section of your Shopify admin. 



Once an order is ready for pickup, capture the payment and then select Mark as fulfilled. This will capture payment from a customer's credit card, and send the customer an email notifying them that their order is ready for pickup.

Next, in the Summary, press the Fulfill items button. I recommend tagging the order as “ready”. This way, when you search for “ready” in your orders page search bar, all of your ready orders will populate so that you can find and view them easily. 

On each of the ready orders, you can find the license plate in the Notes section on your right panel.

Lastly, remove your “ready” tag once you’ve delivered to your customer’s trunk.

10. 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.

Follow these instructions to make sure you’re set up to get paid.

Watch the video tutorial 



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.

    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.