Buy it online. Pick it up in the store. This new twist on e-commerce is taking hold with many retailers, but is it working? A new report from Retails Systems Research/SPS Commerce reveals that a growing number of retailers — including giants like Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot and Target — are offering customers a buy online, pickup in the store service.
According to the report — reviewed by Bisnow here — 61 percent of retailers offered a ship-to-store option as of September of 2015. That’s an even larger majority than the 53 percent of retailers who offer a 2-day delivery fulfillment option.
For retailers, the benefit of this strategy is twofold. The shipping fees for delivery of online purchases can be enormous, even for high-volume retailers. A ship-to-store option can bring those expenses down. It also gets customers in the door of a brick-and-mortar store, where they are more likely to make impulse buys.
Consumers appear to be warming up to the idea. A survey by UPS found that 38 percent of shoppers will now choose a ship-to-store option. That’s an uptick of 3 percent from 2014, with the potential to grow even more in the years ahead.
The Dangers of Ship-to-Store
The Ship-to-store strategy is not foolproof, however.
Just last year, a JDA Software Group Inc. survey of more than 1,000 U.S.-based online shoppers revealed some troubling numbers. Of the 35 percent who opted for a ship-to-store option in the previous year, 50 percent reported having problems retrieving their purchases.
This approach only works if it is convenient enough that it doesn’t drive customers away. The ship-to-store strategy can be an excellent tool, but only if the stores are staffed to handle the additional volume.