Retail Trends to Watch: In-store Pick Up

In-store pickup is on the rise. With decreased shipping costs for your customers and increased foot traffic to your stores, this phenomenon is pretty much a win-win for customers and marketers alike.

“Globally, ‘buy online, pick up in-store is considered the most valuable aspect of the retail shopping experience for more than four in ten consumers,” writes eMarketer, citing a February 2019 study. “Last year, 81.4% of internet users worldwide reported ordering items online for in-store pickup (up nearly 30 percentage points from the year prior) as more consumers are drawn to the service’s convenience and speed.”

“Picking up items in-store could influence other purchase decisions and gives your staff face-to-face time to let customers know about any upcoming sales,” writes Bob Keaveney at BizTech. “Retailers such as Sam’s Club, Kmart, Best Buy, and The Home Depot have seen an increase in sales since adding buy online, pick up in-store to their stores,” he writes.

Promotion and marketing

Email plays a critical role in making in-store pickup work for both consumers and retailers, both when it comes to promoting it and keeping your customers informed every step of the way. Don’t be shy about letting your customers know that you can offer speed, convenience, and autonomy over their own journey.

And keep in mind that every package a customer picks up is one you don’t have to ship to them (a good thing!).

“While free shipping for customers is not free to you, promoting the buy online, pick up in-store option highlights a fulfillment method that saves you the cost of shipping,” writes Nick Mclean at Multichannel Merchant. “What’s more, given that 58% of in-store pickups result in additional sales, it’s clear that marketing your buy online, pick up in-store option is essential for returning full value on your technology investment.”

Help the customer journey along

It sounds simple enough. After all, all you are asking your customers to do is come in and get what they ordered. But it turns out that the buy online, pick up in-store experience, in many cases, isn’t so great. At least not yet.

“Many retailers have struggled to fine-tune their customer experiences, with many customers complaining that items weren’t ready when they arrived for pickup, suggesting inefficiencies in stores’ inventory management systems, writes Keaveney. “According to Foresee, about 18 percent of people have had problems when trying to order online and pick up at the store.” This creates an opportunity for retailers to use email to ensure your customers have a seamless, problem-free pickup experience.

“Buy online, pick up in-store is a great way to increase both online and brick-and-mortar sales,” according to Matt Ellsworth at Wiser. “As a relatively new strategy, it has yet to be perfected – which means effective execution on your part could give you a huge competitive advantage.”

“Since buy online, pick up in-store is an emerging service offered by select retailers, customers may be intimidated by trying something new,” McClean writes. “You should provide easy-to-follow instructions…that help customers through the pickup process.” Think about the questions your customers will likely have about their pickup and use your marketing messages to answer them in advance. Make sure your customers know where your store is located, where in the store they should go, when you are open, if they need to show ID, etc.