Mark Grondin has over 15 years of experience in eCommerce, web and mobile technology, having provided eCommerce consulting to firms like the German Stock Exchange, Swissair and Johnson Outdoors, and managing web agency relationships with Hewlett-Packard, Disney, and Apple. He is currently Senior Vice President of Marketing for Shopatron, responsible for business development, PR, demand generation and outbound sales for the #1 retail-integrated eCommerce solution in the world.
If you were locked in a roomful of retailers—both online and offline—chances are one of the first topics to come up would be in-store pickup, and with good reason.
Try running a Google search on the phrase and you will find some of the first hits are for retail trend-setters like Sears, Apple, Best Buy, and Toys“R”Us, just to name a few. Nearly every retailer—from online-centric behemoths like Amazon to more traditional brick-and-mortar operations like Walmart—is striving to find that perfect blend of the online and offline shopping experience. And when the New York Times takes notice of these trends, it shows that in-store pickup isn’t just some passing fad; it’s fast becoming the new standard.
Just look at the numbers: 80% of shoppers research their purchases online, but 75% of them still prefer to buy products in a store. By researching online and buying at the store, consumers get all of the convenience
of online shopping with no shipping fees, instant gratification, and the customer experience only available in a local store. By taking your website’s features one step further, from inventory checking to in-store pickup, you allow customers to guarantee that their desired products are available and waiting for them when they arrive at the store. Who wouldn’t love that?
And retailers benefit from in-store pickup as well, with increased online conversions, add-on sales at pickup, and the ability to offer a broader product mix online. (For example, selling tires online is only reasonable for most shoppers using in-store pickup.)
And while toys and tires are quite different, the service is still advantageous in the toy industry. A child’s bike bought online, for example, could prove a disaster if sent to an un-handy person by mail. But take that online experience, and send the customer to a local shop that has put the bike together, and you have shopping nirvana. While this may not seem as necessary for most toys, who is going to argue with the success of Toys”R”Us’ in-store pickup program? Customers just prefer getting their products in a local store.
At the moment, however, the companies that offer in-store pickup tend to be the largest chains. And it can seem daunting for smaller operations to take on such an upgrade, but it’s really not. Here’s why.
Small and medium-sized branded manufacturers and multi-channel retailers can easily manage in-store pickup if they don’t have to build the program from scratch, in-house. These companies already have a wide footprint of local shops that stock their products. By outsourcing the technical functions to solutions like Shopatron, such companies can instead focus on the in-store processes that are required to make this work. And because solutions like Shopatron have been running in-store pickup for hundreds of companies for years, they can help make the process “for dummies” simple for store associates.
So the real question is: Why wouldn’t you launch in-store pickup for your company?