April 30, 2003, 12:00 AM

Free delivery to stores boosts kiosk sales

Since REI began offering free store pick-up on items ordered through web-based store kiosks, kiosk sales of kayaks, which can have delivery charges of over $100, have surged 700%, while overall kiosk-based sales are up 30%.

Most surveys say consumers hate delivery charges-that’s why sites like Amazon.com and Buy.com have made so much marketing noise over how to avoid shipping charges. Now with a twist that leverages its store locations, REI Inc. is showing that the surveys are true.

REI is offering free store delivery for anything ordered onREI.com through store-based web-enabled kiosks. Since the free store pick-up service started last September, kiosk-based sales of kayaks, which can have delivery charges of over $100, have surged 700%, while overall kiosk-based sales are up 30%. Beginning in June, REI will offer free delivery to the store for any item at REI.com ordered in the store or at home.

Right now, store web-based orders have to originate with a store sales associate. But also beginning in June, customers will be able to place their own orders over kiosks for store pickup. REI says the offer for free store pick-up is permanent one that REI can afford because it consolidates online-ordered products with other shipments already destined for its stores.

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