Buy online, pick-up in store is often heralded as the future of retail: Customers shopping on their own terms, as efficiently as possible. But it might end up being a bigger lift than expected for retail stores.
Large retailers like Target, Walmart, Kroger and Home Depot are using store pickup to cut delivery costs, encourage customer interaction with associates, and drive in-store sales growth. It’s a strategy that seems to be working: according to an International Council of Shopping Centers 2018 holiday season survey, 86 percent of U.S. shoppers purchased something new while picking up e-commerce orders in stores. Target saw a 5.7 percent holiday sales bump for November and December, in part due to store pickup. And three out of every four digital Target orders are fulfilled by a store, evidence of the central place stores can play in an e-commerce supply chain.
“We consider our stores our single biggest competitive advantage; they function as service hubs, fulfillment hubs, and they’re incredible showrooms for inspiration,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show this week.