Study Offers Ways to Improve In-Store Pick-up of Online Purchases

More and more customers are buying products over the Web and picking them up at a store, but the process isn’t as seamless as it could be, reports a survey of 15 merchants conducted by the e-tailing group inc. Although in-store operations have improved considerably in the past year, some inconsistencies remain, such as store hours not being indicated on Web sites, order pick-up times not stated, and not enough days allotted to pick up purchases. The e-tailing group offers the following checklist to improve the buy-online/pick-up-in-store process:

1. Always send an e-mail notification to the customer when the merchandise is available for pick-up.

2. Make sure that the e-mail message includes detailed pick-up information, including the store’s address, phone number, and hours of operation.

3. Strive to have the merchandise available for pick-up within 24–48 hours of the order date.

4. Create a well-staffed area for in-store pick-ups to increase operational efficiency.

5. Train all service personnel on in-store pick-up transactions as well as on how to upsell and cross-sell products rather than just ringing up the sale.

6. Have the merchandise available and ready for pick-up in the designated area.

7. Merchandise pick-up counters should also be able to accommodate returns.

8. Since the product has already been purchased online, eliminate the need to ring it up again in the store.

9. Allow at least 14 days for pick-up and provide flexibility if the customer is unable to meet the deadline.

10. Take advantage of cross-marketing opportunities in the store.

The e-tailing group researchers cite laudable in-store merchant initiatives that they noticed during their survey:

At Ritz Camera, the service rep informed shoppers about the company’s Frequent Buyer Club.

A Borders rep asked if shoppers wanted to replace the item being returned.

Payless Shoes gave a $2-off coupon redeemable across all channels, despite the product having been returned.

Sears made excellent use of kiosks for pick-ups, repairs, and returns.

Lowe’s sales associates wore vests sporting cross-channel messaging and the Website’s URL.

For more information, contact Lauren Freedman, president of the e-tailing group inc., at 773-975-7280 or lf@e-tailing.com, or visit http://www.e-tailing.com.

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