Retailers have teased and rolled out online deals for days, even weeks, but the real Black Friday is here.
ShopRunner buys a company that lets shoppers collect web orders in stores.
ShopRunner, the shipping program that offers two-day home delivery of online orders placed with about 60 e-retailers, has acquired PickupZone, a service that takes delivery of online orders for consumers who find it tough to accept home deliveries. Packages are instead delivered to “PickupPoints,” service locations within retail stores where consumers can pick up packages at their convenience.
ShopRunner did not say how much it paid for the company.
ShopRunner, which is owned by Kynetic LLC, says it will launch PickupPoints in the stores of ShopRunner retailers this year in time for the holiday sales season. ShopRunner did not say which retailers will participate or how many service locations it will create by that time, but does say its top 10 multichannel retailers have the combined potential for 30,000 PickupPoints.
Multichannel retailers that participate in ShopRunner include Toys ‘R’ Us Inc., No. 29 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, The Sports Authority Inc. (No. 223), General Nutrition Centers Inc. (No. 227), and PetSmart Inc. (No. 294). Orders placed with any ShopRunner merchant will be eligible for pickup at a service location.
PickupZone has had service locations in stores operated by Walgreen Co. (No. 73) and Ace Hardware Corp. (No. 495) in the Boston and New York metropolitan area for several years. Neither retailer participates in ShopRunner. PickupZone says consumers who use its service have until mid-May to get their packages and it will no longer accept new deliveries at those locations. Existing PickupZone customers will get a free one-year membership to ShopRunner, which normally costs $79.
“By acquiring PickupZone we are providing another competitive advantage to our partner retailers, who can now reach market segments that were not ordering online or ordering online with less frequency because there was not a viable solution in the marketplace,” says Mike Golden, CEO of ShopRunner. “We are eliminating another shopping barrier by enhancing the benefits for ShopRunner members who will now have more choices as to when and where they would like to pick up their items.” Golden also says in-store service locations will increase store foot traffic.
There is growing interest in offering alternative delivery options to consumers. 84 retailers listed in the 2011 edition of the Top 500 Guide offered an in-store pick-up option to consumers who ordered from their e-commerce sites, up from 77 which offered it in 2010.
ShopRunner’s push to provide in-store pick-up options also comes just months after Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1), began testing Amazon Locker, a delivery program that lets consumers in Manhattan, Seattle and London select at checkout a local pick-up location for their online orders. Packages are then delivered to secured lockers installed at local retail shops, such as 7-Eleven convenience stores and Rite-Aid drug stores. In February, delivery carrier United Parcel Service Inc. acquired Kiala, a Belgian company that enables e-retailers to offer consumers in Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain the option of having their online orders delivered to approximately 7,000 retail service points.