Click & Collect: Curbside Pick Up vs. BOPIL

Retail shopping has forever changed with the exponential growth of online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic. After all, e-commerce’s share of all retail sales has now hit a jaw-dropping 23% during the third quarter of 20201. Click and collect includes both curbside pickup as well as BOPIL (Buy Online, Pick-up In Locker). However, there are key differences between the two.

Curbside Pickup BOPIL (Buy Online, Pick-up in Locker)
Boosts Safety with Social Distancing Yes Yes
Saves Retailer Last-Mile Costs Yes Yes
Contactless Returns Limited availability, substantial wait time Customers can easily process a return within 2 minutes
Spurs Impulse Purchases No 61% of customers make an incremental purchase
Retailer Labor Cost Substantial Minimal
Perceived Wait Time for Customers 8-12 minutes Less than 30 seconds
Sales Impact & Loyalty 2x sales increases (approximately double) Customers are 4x more likely to purchase again if wait is under 2 minutes

Curbside Collection Process

Curbside collection has improved tremendously since first introduced during the start of the pandemic in March of 2020. In those early days, customers would arrive at a retailer’s parking lot, phone the store, and then wait, hope (and pray) that the store associate would accurately deliver them the correct package. Today, it is markedly improved with online tracking apps and designated pickup locations.

Here’s how curbside collection works:

  1. A customer places an online order either through the website or mobile app.
  2. Using real-time inventory information, retailers’ sites inform customers about available store pickup options.
  3. The customer selects a pickup time or a “notify when ready” option.
  4. A store associate picks and packs the order.
  5. The customer is provided a collection notification via email and/or SMS that their order is ready for pickup.
  6. The customer drives to their selected store and await delivery of their order. Using the retailer’s proprietary app such as Walmart or Target, the customer alerts the store that they are en route. Note: Customers believe this fulfillment process takes between 8-12 minutes.
  7. A store associate delivers the order to the customer’s car after being provided identification or a QR code. Note: Limited curbside support for returns; customers are normally required to enter the store or ship order back themselves.

BOPIL vs BOPIS curbside comparison chart

BOPIL Steps for Retrieving Orders

  1. Customers place an online order either through the website or mobile app.
  2. Using real-time inventory information, retailers’ sites inform customers about available store pick up options.
  3. A store associate picks and packs the order.
  4. A store associate delivers order into the locker.
  5. Customers are notified that their order is ready for pick-up.
  6. Customers come into the store and collect their order at their convenience. Note: order pickup with BOPIL typically takes less than 30 seconds.
  7. Lockers also support contact-free returns, a process that also takes less than 30 seconds for a customer to complete.

The Key Advantages of BOPIL

Click and collect options solve the problem of last-mile delivery. In fact, Target estimates that it costs an average of 40% less when shoppers pick up their orders curbside or in stores, compared with shipping from a warehouse

  • Incremental Purchases and Sales – 61% of customers make an incremental purchase just by virtue of entering the store! And, customers whose wait times are two minutes and under (like BOPIL), are four times more likely to purchase again.
  • Lower Labor Costs – Both curbside and BOPIL require retail employees to pick and pack the order. The key difference, however, is that once the order is placed into a locker, the labor costs decrease significantly for BOPIL. Retailers that employ BOPIL saved an average of 45 hours per month versus managing BOPIS orders2
  • Fast and Easy Returns – If customers collect their order from a locker and decide not to keep it for whatever reason, they are able to communicate with the retailer and place it back in the locker within two minutes for an easy return. By contrast, curbside collection often requires customers to enter the store, perhaps stand in line, and deal with an employee to issue a return/refund. And curbside returns (if available), take nearly as long as curbside pick-up. Alternatively, customers may return the item shipping back to the retailer, often at their own expense. Lockers ensure seamless returns management and are regarded as one of the most important omnichannel trends for 2021 and beyond.
  • Better Customer Experience – The retail customer experience is more important than ever and has proven itself to be critical for ensuring repeat business. Since it only takes an average of only two minutes to retrieve a package via BOPIL, customers rate their shopping experience higher. 73% of consumers say a good experience is key in influencing their brand loyalties and loyal customers are five times more likely to purchase again3,4.

Overwhelmingly, BOPIL wins the competition for customers’ hearts and wallets. Talk to a customer service representative today about how your store can join major retailers just like Lowe’s that have installed Parcel Pending’s locker solutions to boost sales and loyalty.

If you’re interested in learning more about retail insights, including the latest eCommerce predictions, check out our other retail blog posts.


  1. Kapner, Suzanne. The Wall Street Journal. Covid-19 Rewrote the Rules of Shopping. What’s Next?. (2021, March 12).
  2. Reidel, Kate. Parcel Pending. Omnichannel Retail Strategy: Bringing Online Shoppers to Brick & Mortar Stores. (2020, June 1).
  3. Clark, David & Puthiyamadam, Tom. PWC. Experience is Everything. Get it right. (2017).
  4. Dorsey, Moira. Qualtrics XM Institute. Research Recap: ROI of Customer Experience, 2020. (2020, September 17).
Jordan Byrd Director of Retail Sales at Parcel Pending by Quadient

Jordan Byrd is the Director of Retail Sales at Parcel Pending by Quadient where she is responsible for cultivating relationships with various retail partners across the US and Canada. Her primary objective is to help retailers create a sustainable and efficient solution that will not only streamline their internal processes but significantly enhance the consumer shopping experience. As retail continues to evolve, Jordan is acutely focused on tailoring each solution based on the retailer’s needs and key performance indicators. Since joining the Parcel Pending team in 2018, Jordan has helped launched a number of successful retail pilots and chainwide rollouts.