- Before the coronavirus pandemic, large retailers like Target and Walmart were experimenting with buy online, pick up in-store.
- As shelter-in-place orders lift, consumers will want to shop, but likely won’t rush back into crowded malls and streets.
- Smaller retailers are now looking for ways to offer shoppers the ability to shop online and pick up in-store or curbside, meeting their expectations for both convenience and safety.
- But linking online and in-store sales is a big lift, especially for small businesses.
- Here are 8 tech companies, from e-commerce giants like Shopify to seed-stage startups, that offer merchants the tech they need to provide online ordering and curbside pickup.
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Large retailers like Target and Walmart have been experimenting with buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) options for their shoppers for a while. And slowly, it’s been catching on.
But the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated this trend, as merchants look for ways to keep selling all the while addressing shoppers’ safety concerns.
As businesses reopen and shelter-in-place orders lift, many consumers will still be hesitant to return to crowded malls and streets. So being able to offer contactless curbside pick up is key for merchants looking to appeal to both convenience and safety concerns.
But for smaller businesses, ironing out the tech and infrastructure required to connect their online and in-store sales can be a big lift. Companies like Shopify and Toast have been rolling out new products to help their customers get up and running with BOPIS. And startups, too, are offering click and collect tech, often powered by location-data that notifies merchants when customers arrive to pick up.
Investors and industry experts alike are expecting these commerce-enabling players to come out of the coronavirus pandemic strong.
Shopify, for one, has been rolling out a slew of new products — like a consumer shopping app and a new merchant sales platform — and its stock is up over 50% since mid-April. And Toast, restaurant-focused payments and point-of-sale startup, just raised $250 million at a $2.7 billion valuation at the end of March.
“Post-Covid, I believe companies that have reinvented the cash register will be in a strong position to succeed as well, such as Square and Toast,” Anish Acharya, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, told Business Insider in April.
Max Levchin, CEO of Affirm and a PayPal co-founder, echoed the point in an April interview with Business Insider, saying that the biggest differentiators among commerce-enabling players will be the ability to offer API-driven (meaning plug-and-play) tech to get small businesses up and running in a new retail environment.
Here are eight tech companies, from well-established payments players to new startups, that are helping merchants pivot to a new normal where consumers want to buy online and pick up in-store.
BlueDot is a location data and payments startup that merchants can use to optimize the buy online, pick up in-store experience for customers. BlueDot’s platform can send automated notifications to let merchants know when customers are arriving, and keep the customers in the loop with pick up times and any potential delays.
The San Francisco-based startup was founded in 2013, and has raised over $14 million to date from investors including Mighty Capital and several angel investors.
Glympse is a location-sharing data startup that offers several products, including a buy online, pick up in-store platform for grocery stores, restaurants, and retailers. It has a consumer-facing app where users can share their location data with friends, or use it to let merchants know they’re on their way to pick up things like groceries.
It’s location data can help merchants manage orders and make sure that they’re ready when customers arrive for pick up.
Glympse’s platform is used by merchants including grocery store chain Albertson’s, Crate & Barrel, and Papa John’s. Founded in 2008, the Seattle-based startup has raised over $40 million to date from investors including Ignition Partners, Menlo Ventures, and Verizon Ventures.
Radius Networks is a Washington DC-based startup that provides merchants with real-time location data for pick up orders. It works with merchants like KFC, Panera Bread, and Walmart. When a customer orders online, Radius’ merchants can track their customers en-route to prep the order on time and ensure minimal wait times.
Founded in 2011, the startup has raised $25.4 million to date from investors including Contour Venture Partners and Core Capital Partners.
In 2018, Tokyo-based Rakuten (Japan’s answer to Amazon) acquired a Silicon Valley mobile ordering and pickup startup called Curbside. Rebranded as Rakuten Ready, it provides online order management and curbside pickup tech to merchants like CVS Pharmacy, Nordstrom, and Walgreens.
In April, Rakuten Ready rolled out Rakuten Takeout, a free platform for restaurants to support take out options amid coronavirus shutdowns. Rakuten Takeout is currently only available to restaurants in San Mateo, California, a city south of San Francisco.
Earlier this month, e-commerce giant Shopify launched a new version of its point-of-sale platform that now features new ways for merchants to link online and in-store sales. Offering curbside pick up for online orders is one key way that Shopify’s merchants can continue to grow sales despite not being able to open their stores.
Shopify is known for powering brands like Allbirds, Bombas, and Rebecca Minkoff. And while many brick-and-mortar retailers are currently moving online, Shopify’s head of retail told Business Insider that the new PoS is catered toward merchants that started online and have since opened storefronts, like Everlane and Warby Parker.
Shopify was founded in 2004, and went public in 2015.
Square, the point-of-sale giant known for powering coffee shops and small retailers, also offers its merchants the ability to set up delivery and curbside pickup for online ordering. Square offers both an e-commerce sales platform and in-store points of sale, so merchants can link their physical and digital footprints.
Founded in 2009 by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Square went public in 2015.
SwipeBy is a curbside pickup startup for restaurants and small businesses. It has an app that consumers can use to order from participating merchants, which offers both in-store and curbside options for pick up.
SwipeBy also uses location data to automatically notify merchants when customers have arrived to pick up their orders. Headquartered in North Carolina and founded in 2017, it’s raised over $250,000 to date in seed funding, and it’s customers include restaurant chains like Golden Corral.
Restaurant-faced point-of-sale and payments startup Toast has been rolling out several features to help its merchants adapt to new ways consumers want to order. It’s rolled out gift cards to help with short-term cash flow, delivery infrastructure tech, and a new platform called Toast Now that enables restaurants to set up online ordering systems that include curbside pickup.
Toast, which was founded in 2011, has raised over $900 million to date from investors including TCV, and Tiger Global Management. At the end of March, as restaurants closed and shelter-in-place orders set in, Toast raised $250 million at a $2.7 billion valuation. However, the company did cut 50% of staff in early April as the pandemic hit the restaurant industry hard.