August 5, 2004, 12:00 AM

Store-pick-up is a win for Sears, executive tells eTail

27% of Sears.com`s store pick-up sales are incremental and 22% of store pick-up customers make additional purchases while in the store. In addition, the transaction is less expensive because Sears does not incur fulfillment and shipping costs.

 

One of the advantages over their catalog and pure-play brethren that chain retailers bring to their web operations is their physical presence. They can allow customers to pick up their orders at the store for near-instant gratification. But retailers have wrestled with how to make that happen and whether it’s worth the extra trouble. Sears.com , which rolled out a pick-up-at-the-store policy about a year ago, reported on its early results at eTail 2004 East in Fort Lauderdale, FL, this week.

Sears.com’s call? It’s worth it. “We have found (store pick-up) to be very lucrative,” Bill Christopher, director of customer care, said. “It’s been a win for Sears Direct and a win for the stores.”

He reported that 27% of store pick-up sales are incremental sales. In addition, 22% of store pick-up customers make additional purchases while in the store, with an average ticket of $200.

Store-pick-up has the added benefit of being a less expensive transaction in that Sears does not pay the 5% of revenue to fulfill and ship the orders. And it does not incur inventory costs, as the items are in the stores already. Stores average three to four pick-up items a day, he says.

Among initiatives for the next year at Sears.com, No. 3 in Internet Retailer’s Top 300 Guide to online web sites, is to reduce the ready-to-pick-up time from two hours to 45-60 minutes, Christopher said. Another initiative is to allow third parties to pick up the order at a store so, for instance, someone in Chicago can buy an item for a family member in Des Moines and the recipient can pick up the order in a Des Moines store. Now, the person picking up the order must present the credit card that paid for the order.

 

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