Especially during the holidays, retailers worry about “showrooming” and the empowered nature of today’s omnichannel customers who have to this point earned a reputation for visiting brick and mortar stores but then ordering online. While anti-showrooming strategies like price-matching are in the news lately (re: Best Buy), Buy Online Pickup in Store can be a very effective model to build loyalty for certain “big ticket” customers who like to shop online, and are willing to drive to store for pickup.
Maybe these customers are motivated by immediacy, and just don’t want to wait a few days for delivery. Maybe they don’t want to pay a large shipping fee (a flat screen TV can cost hundreds of $$$ to ship). Perhaps they just want the security of knowing inventory will be there when they come to the store, and their valued product won’t get damaged in transit. Or let’s not forget the good old fashioned tactile experience of seeing and touching the product. Whatever the reasons, this trend seems to be catching on with omnichannel consumers. A new Deloitte survey found that 36% of shoppers will buy items online this holiday season that will be picked up in the store.
Home Depot has been one of the most effective purveyors of these digital purchasing options, viewing this as “total commerce” because many customer projects start online and actually complete in-store. They have reported that 30% of the visitors to the Home Depot website who use the 'check inventory' functionality, actually make the purchase in the store within two days. Further, the online/pickup in store, buy online/ship-to-store represents an ever-growing percentage of their total mobile sales.
It makes sense. Customers who place orders for lumber, for example, find they can sail through the checkout process and get right to working on their job. Customers that need generators to power up a job site need to know they can count on having the generator available exactly when they need it.
We are not under the illusion that performing a seamless customer experience is easy. However, consumers’ increased expectations are challenging eCommerce and order management systems to provide greater integration and synchronization, to link back-end systems across web and mobile sites, contact center, and home office, as well as through third-party solutions. Your systems must be capable of some complex functionality to handle information like real time SKU level inventory down to the product level.
The benefit to retailers and manufacturers for providing this seamless consumer experience is that you are awarded the same visibility as your customers. Customers have at their disposal, the ability to see products wherever or whenever they like. They can check availability, they can choose fulfillment options, and they can price compare and look for available promotions. All while sitting in their living room, or standing in your store aisles. Shouldn’t you be able to do the same?