FREE BUDGET WORKSHEET DOWNLOAD!
What is curbside pickup and how does it work? Find out how to use curbside pickup to make shopping easier.
What is Curbside Pickup and How Does it Work?
If you're looking to order groceries for pickup, you should really consider curbside pickup. It's a real game changer! Placing your order online, then pulling up to have an employee bring it to your car is a real time saver and allows you to avoid overcrowded stores.
Curbside pickup is a convenient way to grab groceries and household supplies, as well as other purchase (like gifts!) from retailers like Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe's, Best Buy and more. In most cases you'll pull up to the store and let the staff know you've arrived by following instructions in your order confirmation email or via the store app.
A store staff bring your purchases out to your car, and in most cases it's a no-contact experience. Pop your trunk and be on your merry way!
Curbside Pickup Tips
If you're not familiar with how curbside pickup works – scroll down to read about it below! But if you already know the basics we have some tips to make your experience smooth and get you out of there more quickly! This is especially helpful during Holidays or when the stores are a bit crowded (upcoming snow or ice storm anyone??).
1 . Go Early or Late
Early Birds and Night Owls are the winners at the store pickup game!
We've found that heading to the store bright and early makes the trip super quick (whether your doing curbside or in-store pickup). And the same goes for late evening trips! We're in and out in no time with as little as a 5 minutes gone by. Many of the stores will have you pick from a few different time slots for your specific pickup, so keep this tip in mind when you're selecting your customer arrival time.
Be sure to check your store's hours – some are closing earlier than usual due to staffing issues.
Going in the middle of the afternoon can likely lead to longer wait times. Target Curbside pickup is one of the worst offenders – several folks on our team have had lengthy wait times there and it wasn't a great customer experience.
2 . Have All of Your Info Ready
Be prepared by having the following handy:
- Driver's license (some stores ask you to hold it up to the window – like Old Navy for instance)
- Make & Model of the car you're driving
- Order Confirmation Email or App notification (with order #)
*You shouldn't need your credit card/cash since you've already paid online for your order.
3 . Download The App Before Leaving for your pickup
Stores like Sam's Club and others recommend “checking in” using their mobile app. Before leaving the house – go ahead and download the app so you're ready to roll once you arrive!
(See more info about Sam's Club Curbside Pickup here!)
4 . Screenshot Your Order Email
Sometimes your email will take forever to load if the signal is weak – so take a screenshot of your order email while still at home (with the barcode and order number visible). That way you don't need to rely on the internet and it's just one less thing to be anxious about once you get to your parking spot!
5 . Designate an Alternate Pickup Person
If you have a spouse or college kid that you might send out to do curbside pickup for you – go ahead and designate them as your alternate when filling out your information at checkout. This will avoid any hassle when your order's ready.
6 . Get Perks for Choosing Pickup!
Did you know that certain stores will give you perks for choosing Curbside pickup rather than doing your shopping in stores? It's true!
Kohl's will give you a $5 Kohl's Reward for picking up an order (only once every 24 hours period). We've noticed that very small order totals don't qualify for this perk, however we're not sure at what point it kicks in.
Walgreens has offered a $10 off a $30 Curbside Pickup order in the past. (Check for an email for something titled: “Say YES to saving $10!”) If you don't get this email you can also save 20% off your $25+ online pickup purchase with code EASY20.
And Target has been known to include a little surprise gift with pickup orders there – reader Colleen had this fun package waiting in her pickup bag that contained Christmas Cards last season!
Let us know of any other perks you hear about!
How Does Curbside Pickup Work?
The exact process differs a little with each store – but in most cases you'll follow these steps:
- While placing an online order choose “Store Pickup” or “Curbside Pickup” as your preferred delivery option.
- You'll be emailed when your order is ready for pickup OR if you use a store app, you may get a notification there as well (there will be a window of time for you to go get it)
- Park in a designated pickup parking space in front of the store. Notice what number spot you are (it should say on the sign)
- Follow instructions on your order confirmation email or notification to alert the store you've arrived. Some stores have you text, and some have a button for you to click that says you've arrived. All stores will ask a) which spot you're parked in and b) your vehicle type and color so they can find you easily. (If you don't like texting, most have a phone number you can call as well)
- The employee will come to your car – simply pop your trunk or open a side door in preparation of your packages
- Sometimes you'll be asked to show a barcode from your order email – or your photo id – to insure you're the correct recipient.
- That's it! Shopping – CHECK!
Curbside Pickups Near Me:
Wherever you're shopping – you can find out if they offer curbside pickup by looking for the option at checkout. Big retailers like Walmart, Target, Sam's Club, Costco, Home Depot, Best Buy, Old Navy and many more are all offering it now.
Do you tip for Curbside Pickup?
You do not have to. And in fact, MANY stores will not allow their workers to take tips.
The only exception is if a store manages their grocery pickup platform through Instacart – then those workers do accept tips. We've noted below in the store section which workers can accept tips, so if you choose to do that, you can be prepared.
What happens if I'm missing items from my curbside pickup order?
Sometimes you will run into the situation that the store doesn't have the item you requested. Most stores, including Walmart, will automatically choose a comparable substitute, unless you've instructed them NOT to do so when you placed the order.
When this happens, if the item you wanted is out of stock, but a higher priced item that is similar is available, you will get the higher priced item for the SAME price you requested in your order. This has happened in my order several times when I requested Great Value brand items, but end up with a name brand item at no additional cost.
If substitutions have to be made, you'll receive an email or app notification informing you of the substitutions and can accept or reject them before you come to pickup your order.
If you get home and notice items are missing from your order or aren't satisfied with the quality of the item, simply contact your stores customer service and they will make the situation right for you 🙂
Stores That Offer Curbside Pickup
Walmart Curbside Pickup
One of THE BEST things with the Walmart pickup program, is that it is NOT only for groceries. You can order your dog food, toilet paper, office supplies, and more!
It is a FREE service as long as you spend at least $30, but if you're placing a decent sized order, it's not hard to hit that target. Walmart pickup hours may vary by location, but in general, most are open from 7 AM – 8 PM. Some locations may also have the first hour of pickup dedicated for at risk population.
So how does Walmart grocery pickup work?
You'll want to log in to Walmart.com or get the Walmart app. This will allow you to select a store and see if grocery pickup is available in your area (MOST stores have added this at this point).
** TIP** If this is your first time, don't forget to use this Walmart pickup promo code for an extra $10 off!
After selecting your location, simply choose your pickup time (you can choose up to a week in advance!) and in as little as 2 hours for express (express is an extra cost). Then add items to your shopping list and check out!
If any items are unavailable, Walmart will substitute with a similar item (at no cost to you). You'll simply need to approve those items once your order is ready for checkout.
While you have the app open, go ahead an add an extra person (or two) to your pickup authorization. That way if something happens and you're not able to get there someone else can also pickup your order.
How do I know when my order is ready?
Once your Walmart pickup order is ready, you'll receive an email, text, or notification through the app (depending on your preferences you set) to let you know your order is ready. You'll then head to the store, park in the designated curbside pickup spots (look for the orange signs if you're unfamiliar with where that location is at your store), and then once parked, you can either call, text, or open the app to let your Walmart store know you are there.
All pickups are contactless at this point, so please have your car doors or trunk opened for the worker. They'll place your groceries in, and you'll be on your way! Walmart does not allow their employees to take tips.
Target Drive Up
Target Curbside Pickup has a few options for you to choose from.
You can do a standard in store pickup or you can drive up to one of their designated spots where an employee will bring your order to your car. For either one, you'll have the best experience using the Target App to get updates on your grocery pickup and inform the store that you're there to pickup your order.
Target pickup hours are the same as your local store hours. You can save a TON of time with these options; by placing a Target order online, picking up in store or their drive up service; you completely eliminate the waiting time for shipping and also reduce the chance that Target will tell you what to buy 🙂
Does Target offer grocery pickup?
YES! Not only can you get household goods, pet care, and office supplies – as of this Summer you can also get Target grocery pickup. Target sells most of the major grocery items and even offers some specialty brands that you can't find other places. You can also use a Target Coupon and your Target RedCard on your pickup orders. They also JUST announced that Target Drive Up will be offering STARBUCKS for pickup in those locations that have a Starbucks store in their Target – WOW!
How much is Target curbside pickup?
Target pickup is free! You do not have to tip your Target pickup employee either. If you use the home delivery through Shipt, they do ask that you tip your Target shopper.
Home Depot Curbside Pickup
Home Depot offers pickup between the hours of 6 AM – 6 PM daily at select locations. If it's later than 6 PM, you can still get pickup inside of the store, but you would have to go in versus someone bringing the item to your vehicle.
How do you use curbside pickup at Home Depot?
Simply place your order at Home Depot online or use the app and then choose store pickup when you checkout. Once your order is ready, you'll receive a notification to let you know your order is ready (sometimes as soon as 2 hours later!). When you get to the store, check in online, via the app, or calling the store and an associate will bring out your order.
What do I need to bring with me to pickup my Home Depot order?
Be sure to bring your Photo ID as well as your order number or checkout confirmation (either printed or have available on your phone). Home Depot will hold an order for up to 7 days.
Do you tip for curbside pickup at Home Depot?
Home Depot employees are not allowed to accept tips per corporate order.
Lowe's Home Improvement Curbside Pickup
When you checkout from Lowe's with your order, you can choose free store pickup when you checkout. Once you get your notification that your order is ready, head to the store, then find a designated pickup space. Let an associate know you're there to pickup your order by calling the store.
You can also use the Lowe's app to check in before you leave for the store so they know you are on your way.
Is store pickup available at all Lowe's stores?
Yes! All Lowe's stores across the US offer curbside pickup. They will hold your order for 7 days, but if you find that you need additional time, contact your store to see if they can extend the time for you.
When you pickup, be sure to have your Photo ID ready as well as your order confirmation.
HEB Curbside Pickup
Similar to Walmart grocery pickup, HEB offers you the ability to shop for your items online and then pull up to the store to pick them up. Once you arrive at the store, park in the designated area, and a store employee will bring out the items to your vehicle.
A bonus that HEB offers right now as well is HEB delivery – this is available in select areas, but a person will actually deliver your groceries TO your home. That's a great service! (Just remember to tip as this service is offered by a 3rd party)
Can you use digital coupons with curbside pickup?
While you can't use manufacturer coupons on HEB pickup orders, you CAN use digital coupons and weekly store offers. They make it super easy to use their service!
My Aldi locations have just recently started offering curbside pickup – and their platform is managed at this point through Instacart. One tip to note for Aldi is that if your store location is in a different zip code, or if you have multiple Aldi stores near you, you can change the location. My northern store doesn't yet offer curbside, but the store to the south of us does. If I just had MY zip code entered, it would tell me I wasn't eligible.
This service does have a charge ($1.99) and there are a few restrictions. You can't get items found in the Aldi Finds aisle each week and things like furniture, gift cards, or age restricted items are also not eligible for purchase.
What stores have you been using for curbside pickup lately?
I appreciate the tips and the information on how different store procedures work, but for anyone like myself who has never used these types of services anywhere, what about the other side of the coin where there were items shown as available when one checked out but when they brought your items out and you check before leaving, something is missing or when something is past the sell by date or produce is bruised or something is open or broken? How are these situations handled or what are the best practice tips to remedy these issues? In some cases, such as groceries, are there things one should not buy this way? How is it handled if there was a substitution without your knowledge or consent? Some baggers aren’t paying attention and they smash your bread by putting heavy things on top, what happens if your bread is smooshed? Not sure if deli salads can be ordered this way, can they? Should they? Even if it’s an express pickup within the hour?
Kristen ~ PPP Team says
Hi Steany, those are good questions and thoughts for sure. Most stores do have policies for these types of things. I know I have had to address some similar concerns and the stores usually do a great job of taking care of the situation. I’m sure you have to decide if it’s truly worth it for you or not. In some situations I would probably just weigh the concerns and decide from there!
Steany, it sounds like you should just go in the store♀️