retail storage blog

4 Tips to Optimize Retail Storage in Customer Pickup Areas

From the Space Optimization Experts at UNEX Manufacturing

Businesses pivoting operations to navigate the ever-changing shifts in customer expectations is not a new concept. It’s even more prevalent today as we’re experiencing the first global pandemic since 1918. Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, retail establishments have taken a large hit – store closures, limited staffing, and new sanitation requirements have created several new challenges for retail businesses large and small.

When retail stores were originally designed, layouts encouraged browsing. Traditional store layouts did not account for omnichannel processes such as customer pickup models, but today’s retailer is forced to adapt to meet increasing customer demands.


Omnichannel order and pickup processes have become a more significant component of a customer’s decision-making process. When customers purchase products online, they expect an efficient and safe pickup experience at the store. In a sluggish economy where retailers are facing immense strain, a world-class order pickup experience and organized pickup area can set retailers apart from the competition.

Tip #1 – Reconfigure existing layouts

Maximizing space utilization behind registers or behind a customer service desk will help retailers create an efficient and effective in-store pickup solution. Consider these critical steps before implementing a pickup area within your existing setup:

  1. Examine retail storage closets, return areas, bulk storage areas, and backrooms and consider how these areas could be condensed or repurposed.
  2. Design a bin system that organizes customer’s orders so they’re not standing around, waiting for their order to be located.

Tip #2 – Leverage retail storage to adapt to curbside pickup

During the coronavirus pandemic, retailers have leveraged curbside pickup models that allow customers to order online and pick up orders from the parking lot. Shoppers may be eager to return to browsing the aisles of a store, but retailers should be prepared to accommodate curbside pickup. This is a big part of “the new normal” and may even be a trend that’s here to stay.

To help implement an efficient curbside pickup model, staff can benefit from high-density storage solutions that help them quickly-locate items in their retail backroom, fulfill orders, and deliver products to customers in the parking lot. This will create efficiencies and boost productivity, leading to increased customer satisfaction.

Tip #3 – Utilize modular retail storage to optimize pickup areas

To keep up with customer expectations and curbside pickup trends, retailers should consider leveraging a high-density mobile unit storage solution to create a clean, organized, temporary storage area that is configurable to meet several needs. It can help organize storage in the customer pickup area, as well as streamline order picking from the store aisles or backroom to prep orders for customer pickup.

Tip #4 – Don’t ignore micro-fulfillment

Apart from optimizing retail storage in customer pickup areas, consumer demand has also sparked the need for retailers of all sizes to implement micro-fulfillment. Micro-fulfillment shrinks the footprint of a distribution center to bring the product closer to the consumers it serves. These small spaces rely on warehouse space optimization techniques in order to be efficient, and they are more often re-purposed areas or additions to retail facilities.

Download the Quickstart Guide to Micro-fulfillment to uncover how to maximize storage capacity, increase order picking efficiency, speed-up delivery times, and reduce shipping costs with micro-fulfillment.


Explore engineered-to-order products for retail space optimization:

  • SpeedCell – Increase storage efficiency and space utilization in your retail backroom. Dynamic SpeedCell columns easily drop into existing pallet rack to increase SKU density and pick facings.
  • SpanTrack Wheel Bed – Reduce travel time for order pickers while maximizing space and creating ideal FIFO storage flow for orders and products with SpanTrack wheel beds.
  • SpeedCartt – Mobilize your picking process with SpeedCartt; a modular order picking cart. Available in 4 sizes with durable built-in label holders to make organizing, segregating, and separating orders easy.
  • FlowCell – Improve organization and ergonomics with a FlowCell packing station. Reduced clutter in the packing area will improve the overall accuracy of the packing process.
  • Gravity Conveyor – Gravity Conveyor is an ideal solution for instantly establishing conveyor lines for packaging, shipping, and receiving, and more.
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