Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Are Retailers Properly Equipped to Provide the Buy Online Pick Up in Store Experience?

While every retailer knows the hippest convenience trend for shoppers these days is the concept of "buy online, pick up in store", many retailers are not ready for this implementation and implement too early. The biggest challenge is integrating their eCommerce application with their POS application and providing real time information.

Think about it. When someone uses the "buy online, pick up in store" feature, why are they using it? Well, they probably don't want to pay for shipping. But they also probably want to pick that item up that day and in many cases, within hours. If that item isn't ready and waiting for them when they get to the store to pick it up, you've actually made their shopping experience 10 times worse. Because now they've already purchased the item online and paid for it. But now they feel like they are shopping for it again. They have to stand in line and wait to get their item in many cases. Then wait for the clerk to go find their item. Heck, the customer could have went to the shelf and got the item faster and went through the regular checkout line...

Bottom line, if you are thinking about implementing this feature, make sure you are really ready for it, think about the value it will really add to your bottom line, the systems that need to be upgraded, the staff that needs to be trained, and the impact that the possibility of a poor customer experience might have on the shopper. Will they come back to your store to shop again?

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