Curbside mobile shopping hits Brooklyn and Queens
by Jennifer Khedaroo
Aug 18, 2015 | 11392 views | 0 0 comments | 95 95 recommendations | email to a friend | print
App users can have purchased items delivered directly to their car.
App users can have purchased items delivered directly to their car.
Curbside, an app that allows customers to shop from their phones and pick up their purchases on the fly, might change the entire consumer market in the not-so-distant future. At the ver least, it will make shopping easier.

The free app optimizes the balance between fast-paced living and the local shopping experience by providing mobile users with an accurate inventory of their local retailer. Users can scroll through the available items and purchase them through their devices.

Once the items are gathered, users will receive a notification from Curbside letting them know that their items are ready to be picked up at the curb. No need to even leave your car.

The relatively new app, which launched in October 2014, originally started out in the San Francisco area. The app is now available at 10 locations around New York and New Jersey, including the Gateway Target at 519 Gateway Drive in Brooklyn and the College Point Target at 135-05 20th Avenue in Queens.

Jaron Waldman is the co-founder of Curbside and the former head of the Geo Team for Apple. He is also the founder of Placebase, a mapping platform for web and mobile applications, which Apple acquired in 2009.

"In discussing it with our retail partners and with Target, we thought that New York was very tech savvy and forward-thinking,” Waldman said while demonstrating his app in Queens last week. “There are a lot of areas outside and around Manhattan that look a lot like where the services have done really well in the Bay area.

“It's a high visibility place and it’s the biggest retail market, so we wanted to crack it," he said.

Once your place your order, you can expect it to be ready for pick up in less than an hour. Customers can pick up their orders at any time, even a few days later, without having to notify the store that they’re coming.

Using the background location technology in the phone, the app lets the store know that you are coming a few minutes before you arrive. Once you pull up to the curb’s pick-up point, a Curbside employee will hand off your order, and you’ll be in and out of the parking lot in 20 seconds.

Over the last nine months, the company has received nearly $35 million from investors. Waldman and his co-founder Denis Laprise are ready to take the app around the country, adding that “the fundraising is going to give us the fuel to expand.”

Like New York and New Jersey, Target was also the first retailer to partner with Curbside in San Francisco. And similar to San Francisco, where the app has generated hundred of thousands of users, Curbside is hoping to expand to other retailers.

They also hope the app will assist smaller stores who may have been hurt by e-commerce in the past.

“Instead of getting something shipped to their house in a cardboard box from wherever, this is actually getting people to shop in the neighborhoods where they work and live,” Waldman said.

During the holiday season, the company was stationed at a shopping mall in the San Francisco area where there was one single curbside pick-up point for roughly 20 stores. Due to its success, Curbside is hoping to include holiday shopping system at malls on the East Coast as well.

The idea for the app first came when Waldman and Laprise found themselves working long hours and rushing home to see their young kids for a short period of time. Always having to pick up something on the way home, like diapers or food, Waldman expressed interest in having an app that would allow him to buy an available item and save time by having a pick-up spot.

“We saw it as an opportunity, so we looked at the data and what’s happening with e-commerce as a whole, and what’s really interesting is that it’s all shifting to mobile,” Waldman said. “Mobile commerce is growing almost two to three times faster than e-commerce, so in a few years the majority of purchases will be made on small screen devices.”

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