Retailers are getting better at providing store pick-up services for online orders, but most still are missing the boat on using the service to build customer relationships, research and consulting firm The E-Tailing Group says in a new report.
“We found that although the buy online/pick-up process is improving, few merchants are truly leveraging the experience to either build relationships or garner incremental sales,” E-Tailing Group president Lauren Freedman says. “Even if they are friendly and knowledgeable, store associates appear to be multi-tasking, assuming the role of cashier more than salesperson. We see a real opportunity to increase sales by using more suggestive selling techniques at this juncture.”
The study, based on multiple tests of the online order/store pickup service at 15 merchants, cited some retailers that are taking steps to build customer relationships with the pick-up service. Ritz Camera, for example, used the service to inform a visitor of its Frequent Buyer Club; Payless ShoeSource issued $2 coupons redeemable across channels even when shoppers were returning items; Sears, Roebuck and Co. provides an “excellent” kiosk for pick-ups, repair services and returns; and sales associates at Lowe’s home improvement stores wore vests displaying the retailer’s web site and cross-channel messaging.
The study also found that merchandise ordered online was ready for in-store pickup 87% of the time, up from 75% last year; and that 73% of store associates contacted in the study’s test visits were able to quickly locate ordered products, even though only 30% of merchants had designated pick-up counters and 40% of merchants had pick-up or customer service counters that were not easy to find.