Kmart lets online shoppers pay in cash and pick up inside stores

The Sears-owned chain follows the lead of Wal-Mart and Toys ‘R’ Us.

Thad Rueter

Kmart will let its customers reserve items online and then pay for them via cash and other methods inside stores under a new program called Pay in Store, which is designed to appeal to consumers without credit cards. In offering the service, the Sears Holdings Corp.-owned chain follows the lead of such major retailers as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Toys ‘R’ Us Inc.

Here’s how the program works: A shopper selects eligible items on Kmart.com and then chooses the Pay in Store option. That reserves the purchases for 48 hours. Kmart will send a confirmation e-mail to the shopper, who brings it into the store and pays with cash, credit or debit card, check or Pay in Store loyalty points. Kmart says not all products are eligible for the program, although it didn’t provide details.

Products purchased for same-day, free in-store pickup can be picked up immediately. Kmart says consumers also can opt to pay inside the store for orders and then have them delivered within two business days to that shopper’s home. Wal-Mart offers similar services, though products oderered on Walmart.com for in-store pickup and cash payment may not be immediately available. Toys 'R' Us doesn't provide the in-store pickup option with cash payment of online orders. For customers who order online and pay cash in store, Toys 'R' Us only offers to ship such orders to the customer's address, the retailer says on its web site.

“With Pay in Store, we offer more choices and provide access to online shopping for a large, underserved portion of the U.S. population that wants the convenience of shopping online but does not have a credit card or is reluctant to submit their card information via the Internet,” says Imran Jooma, Sears’ executive vice president and president, marketing, online and financial services.

Sears is No. 6 in the 2013 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. Its sales in 2012 reached an Internet Retailer-estimated $4.2 billion, up 16.5% year over year. Kmart’s pay-by-cash offer represents the parent company’s latest attempt to sweeten its e-commerce appeal. Late last year, for instance, Sears launched an Amazon Prime-like free shipping program.

At least two other chains have beaten Kmart to the pay-by-cash e-commerce option.  In April 2012, Wal-Mart, No. 4 in the Top 500, launched a similar “Cash” program that targets consumers without payment cards. Then in November, during the holiday shopping season, Toys ‘R’ Us, No. 30 in the Top 500, added its own “pay in store” option for online shoppers


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