Pickup isn’t only for restaurants: How local retail startups are adapting to COVID-19

Local retail startups are adapting to COVID-19 by utilizing curbside pickup, taking a page out of restaurants’ playbooks. And it seems to be working.

“COVID-19 has added complexity to the shopping journey by changing how we shop and interact with one another,” says SellSwipe President David Facey in a prepared statement. “Shoppers and merchants need simple, yet flexible tools that help keep everyone safe.”

To accommodate the new realities brought on by COVID-19, SellSwipe—which has also partnered with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber on the Keep BR Shopping initiative—recently launched a new curbside delivery service called SellSwipe Express, which allows Louisiana retailers to showcase their products and offer online ordering for curbside or in-person pickup. 

Once a merchant confirms a shopper’s order through the SellSwipe website, the shopper’s payment method is charged, and shoppers receive an alert once their order is ready for pickup.

Several local retailers are already registered with the marketplace, including Article and Thread, Victoria’s Toy Station and Bengals and Bandits.

Local toy company Tatro: Hand-Built Magnetic Toys is bringing back a summertime arts and crafts pickup series, which will start May 30 and is expected to run every other Saturday through July 25 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

Will Barrios, Tatro’s founder and CEO, says that, when the pandemic started to spread through Baton Rouge, he knew parents’ income and spending would be reduced and they would also be at home with their children for longer periods of time. Barrio tested out the pickup concept a few times before deciding to launch the summertime series.

Local businesses have been asked to add supplies to the arts and crafts bags, which cost $5 apiece. Supplies in each will vary, but likely include coloring sheets, craft pom-poms, foam, paper, cardboard, paints, chalk, pipe cleaners and beads. 

“This is a time where parents desperately need creative things for kids to do that aren’t screen-related,” Barrios says. “As an entrepreneur, the best thing you can do is look at a different industry’s model, copy it and bring it into your industry.”

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