How to win at mobile order-ahead with Curbside 2.0

We recently held our second annual Mobile On Air conference, where mobile leaders unpacked how COVID-19 changed roadmaps and accelerated new customer norms. Almost every speaker, from Nicole West at Chipotle to Matt Hudson at Belk, revealed that mobile order-ahead is a focus for their organization.

Curbside 1.0 was about shipping a fast and furious MVP to meet a surge of customer demand. 30+ of the top 50 US retailers reacted to the overnight realities of COVID-19 with a Curbside 1.0 offering, but these scrappy operations were not built to be enduring. These early curbside offerings consisted of customers placing an order, driving to the store, then looking for signage with instructions while staff attempted to fulfill the order by relying on the scheduled pickup time alone.

In this journey, the following problems emerge:

  1. Customer wait times are too long
  2. Employees are not notified if customers are early or late
  3. Management is unable to analyze trips and make data-driven improvements

As a result, customers arriving late are handed a cold coffee or meal, while those arriving early need to notify staff that they'd like to verbally check-in their order. In many cases, staff is left to search outside for a car hoping the customer arrived at their selected time window.

If the goal of Curbside is to meet consumer expectations for convenient pick-up experiences, then Curbside 1.0 is falling short of its promise.

Curbside 2.0 is all about digitally tracking a live trip. This live tracking allows product teams to build workflows that allow customers to easily select an early check-in if they are ahead of schedule, and it allows staff to easily see customer ETAs in the event someone is running late.


With live tracking at its core, Curbside 2.0 unlocks 3 new capabilities:

  1. Customer wait times decrease as employees are equipped with live location-based ETA information
  2. Employees are notified when customers are approaching and have arrived, regardless of the scheduled time
  3. Management has access to customer trip data to analyze which locations need more training

curbside card

As we head into our first COVID-19 winter, mobile order-ahead and live tracking will be front and center. Cold weather and holiday shopping will create the perfect storm that breaks the 1.0 version of mobile order-ahead for QSRs and retailers. This holiday shopping season, the kinks in Curbside 1.0 will lead to poor customer experiences, and the spotlight will shine on the QSRs and retailers who have the right infrastructure in place for live tracking with Curbside 2.0.


If you're a technology or business leader at a brick-and-mortar or digital-first company and you're interested in making the shift from Curbside 1.0 to 2.0, contact our sales team. We’d love to hear from you.