One advantage local brick and mortar retailers have over online-only retailers, such as Amazon, is that they can be more flexible when it comes to the way in which they deliver a consumer’s online purchase. In addition to lowering the cost for consumers, some delivery alternatives have the capability of generating in-store visits, which creates another opportunity to sell.
Some delivery alternatives include reserving products online and picking up/paying in-store, using the store as a delivery hub or shipping directly to stores. Not only do these alternatives help lower costs, but consumers want local businesses to offer this flexibility. According to a Forrester Consulting study, conducted at the end of last year, about half of respondents said it was important for retailers to offer in-store pickup for online purchases.
In addition to creating a positive customer experience for those looking for this kind of service, delivering directly to the store increases foot-traffic. This is important because, according to a BIA/Kelsey study, SMBs voted in-person interactions as “excellent” lead sources more than any other lead source except for calls which received equal votes.
The offline pick-up offers an up sell or secondary marketing opportunity for businesses. Much like the products not on the grocery list that end up in the shopping cart, this interaction often generates further sales or opportunities to build customer loyalty. I can see the in-store pick up being used by retailers to:
- Recommend similar or complimentary products;
- Remind consumers of concurrent deals, promotions;
- Inform consumers of new inventory/products; and
- Request an online review.
Since an in-person visit is not an option for online-only vendors, and the lead quality of that interaction is so high, the in-store pickup is an incredible opportunity for brick and mortar stores to leverage. In addition to enhancing the visual experience of the customer from what he or she sees online, the store can appeal to many more senses like touch, feel, smells and sounds. For this reason, the in-store pickup has the ability to generate more traffic and create more opportunities to make a sale.