Retailers Perk Up Over In-Store Pickups

In-store pickup provides a win-win-win situation for brands, customers, and retailers. In addition to offering customers convenience, 65% of retailers would like to be a pickup destination for orders placed on brand websites and 59% say that they would purchase more from brands that provide in-store pickup orders, according to the “2013 Retailer eCommerce Study” by e-commerce solution provider Shopatron. In fact, 33% of retailers surveyed admit that they do not or would not purchase products from a brand that sells online directly to consumers.

“[In-store pickup] will be as ubiquitous as every store having a telephone or cash register,” says Shopatron CEO Ed Stevens. “Going from very big picture to small picture: life is short, people want to save time, [and] they will spend money and adopt new ways of living in order to save time.”

If time is money, consumers are spending quite a bit of both. According to the 2011 “American Time Use Survey” released last June, men and women spent an average of 1.70 hours a day purchasing goods and services, that’s approximately 51 hours a month.

To make the path to purchase quicker and easier for their customers, brands and retailers must deliver omnichannel experiences. According to the study, 60% of retailers, primarily brick-and-mortars, sell their products online, and 24% of those that sell their products online claim that more than 10% of their sales derive from online. Mobile also plays a major role for retailers; 86% of retailers surveyed say that at least a portion of their customers use mobile while shopping in-store, although 38% of this group admits that this portion makes up less than 5% of their total customer base. Price comparison (58%), product information (38%), and product reviews (22%) appear to be the key ways customers are use mobile in-store, according to the study.

While Stevens says that competitive pricing is crucial, he also says that product reviews and product information are the true “killer applications.”

“The first decision I need to make about a product is whether or not I want this product. The second decision I need to make is whether or not I want to pay this price for it or whether I think this retailer is giving me a fair price for it,” Stevens says. “The retailers who are not competitive on price will go out of business anyway. So, I don’t think that price shopping will really last as a tool for shoppers because I think prices will flatten out.”

And although Stevens believes retailers should be selling “anywhere they can,” retailers surveyed appear to be more selective when it comes to selling in online marketplaces. While 45% of respondents say they sell in online marketplaces, only 6% admit to selling on and 23% say they sell products on eBay; 11% say they work with both marketplaces.

Selling in global online marketplaces is valuable, the most important thing for retailers to grasp is what products are selling locally, Stevens says. He admits that this knowledge isn’t easy to obtain and encourages retailers to analyze their own data, particularly data provided by customer feedback like surveys. However, Stevens says that larger retailers have a leg up on smaller retailers when it comes to analyzing and learning from their own data.

“[It’s] survival of the fittest. You can’t save them all,” Stevens says. ‘Some of the small businesses are going to fail.”

So, what would Stevens say to brands that haven’t jumped on the in-store pickup train?

“Same thing I’d tell somebody jumping out of an airplane without a parachute: Good luck with that.”

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