Curbside Pickup Can Now Include Impulse Purchases

curbside pickup sign feature

A new tool allows retailers to offer impulse, add-on products to a curbside pickup order, in similar fashion to a physical checkout line, creating an opportunity to recapture lost purchases as BOPIS adoption continues to grow.

The tool, called Curb Up, is a collaboration between Canadian firms Bold Commerce, which created the checkout solution, and Knit, an ecommerce agency that built the front-end UI. Knit clients include Tractor Supply Co. and Kicking Horse Coffee.

When a shopper selects curbside pickup at checkout, the card transaction is authorized but not completed. Then when they arrive at the store and notify the retailer in the mobile app, Curb Up serves them recommended items to add, based on what’s in the order and/or purchase history, from a curated list. A countdown clock begins, giving the shopper a set amount of time to decide if they want to add an item to the order before it’s packed and delivered, and the transaction is processed.

According to research from IRI, consumers spent $6 billion on last-minute, checkout lane items in 2021, but those sales disappear on BOPIS transactions. And a 2021 survey from discovered that 88.6% of American adults make impulse purchases online each year, with an average spend of $81.75 per session, totaling $17.78 billion.

While BOPIS is a no-doubt winner for retailers, as offering options and reducing or removing shipping charges drives conversions while reducing costs, the lack of impulse buying has been a missing piece of the puzzle.

Bold Commerce co-founder Jay Myers said his company’s software is build on the MACH model (microservices-based, API-first, cloud-based, headless). He added Curb Up won the “integration champion” award at the 2022 MACH Alliance MACH-athon awards in London this past June.

“It truly is an impulse, and it has to have a sense of urgency, like the checkout line,” Myers said of Curb Up. “If the person ahead of me is moving, I’ll miss out if I don’t grab it. There’s a saying in retail, seeing is buying. Right when the customer clicks ‘I’m here in parking lot stall 3,’ they can get an offer like, ‘would you like a can of Red Bull?’ ”

Bold, which powers online checkout for Staples, Vera Bradley, Pepsi and Mars, will test out Curb Up first for curbside pickup at Staples Canada later this year.

“They’re using Bold checkout, but are in the process of implementing Curb Up, and not showing offers yet,” Myers said. “There’s still a bit of work on their end to get all the items assigned to where their people are packing. To flip it on digitally, that’s the easy part. They’re just getting the stores prepared. A number of other retailers are interested.”

Bold was founded in 2015 in Winnipeg by Myers and CEO Yvan Boisjoli. He said the company, which has raised $57 million in two rounds, has been profitable since early on. Bold started out building checkout tools for Shopify, then expanded to an agnostic platform for creating customizable checkout flows based on channel, product, type of shopper and device.

“When you start a tech company in Winnipeg, which isn’t a huge investment center, you think profitability from day one, instead of raising millions of dollars and then getting profitable,” Myers said. “That’s the mentality of a Midwest software company, although it’s starting to change.”