A few weeks ago (Aug. 29), The Christian Science Monitor published an interesting article about in-store pickup. It cited a Boston Retail Partners survey that found, while 41% of retailers already offer the option, 78% of retailers plan to implement it within the next three years.
"So what's the deal?" pondered the CSM's Alison Barretta. "Why is this trend growing?"
The obvious benefit, for the retailer, is that in-store pickup drives foot traffic from customers that would otherwise make a purchase online and await its delivery. In-store pickup draws these shoppers into the store to make additional purchases, often impulsively.
In-store pickup brings online shoppers in-store, creating opportunities for a more long-term brand relationship and of course, add-on purchases.
Barretta noted a StellaService study, which found 20% of Kohl's in-store pickup customers made an additional purchase upon visiting the store. Likewise, Staples' VP of eCommerce Strategy & Business Development, Danielle Lachman, told Barretta the company sees "a significant percent of customers buying additional items from the store" when they pick up online purchases.
In terms of consumer benefits, Barretta lists the following:
- We love having options. "Shopping at a retailer that offers more than one option for delivery can be reassuring for customers who like flexibility. Depending on the situation, it can make a retailer more amenable to a shopper's current needs."
- We get the goods faster and for free. "If you're pressed for time and need an item ASAP without breaking the bank on rush delivery, buying from a store that features free pickup is extremely appealing," she writes.
- Compare prices online and still get purchases immediately. "Shoppers do not have to sacrifice the opportunity to purchase an item at the best price available, as they'll have the chance to price check against other merchants and take advantage of online-only promotions." In-store pickup also allows you to reserve high-demand items before they sell out, she adds.
Getting items faster and for free is big, and so are easier exchanges and returns.
- It benefits both shoppers and stores. We already covered how in-store pickup drives foot traffic and impulse buys for the retailer. "For consumers, it's online shopping without the hassle of waiting and paying for shipping," Barretta writes, "or in-store shopping minus the inconvenience of not finding what they're looking for at the best possible price."
- The number of participating merchants is growing. Walmart, Sears (pictured atop this article), and Home Depot have long offered in-store pickup. Now, Macy's and In the Pink have started offering it, as have eBay vendors Best Buy, Target and Toys "R" Us.
- Easier exchanges and returns. Barretta didn't mention this one, but another advantage to in-store pickup over ship-to-home is it's much easier to exchange or return the purchased item. Having to ship it back to the merchant can be a hassle and for an exchange, you have to await the replacement item (in a new size or style) to be shipped back to you.
As you can see, the benefits to in-store pickup are many -- both for the retailer and the consumer. Does your store offer in-store pickup? If not, why not? (Please enter your comments below.)