Buy Online. Pickup Instore

According to the e-tailing group's recent Cross-Channel Shopping Study, "buy online for pickup in-store is definitely becoming more a part of stores' culture," according to Lauren Freedman, President. "Customer adoption coupled with growth among key multi-channel merchants embraces cross-channel customer convenience."

A primary appeal is free shipping to the store which 96% now offer vs. 92% last year. Merchants that stock products centrally need more time to ship goods to the store. This impacts same day pickup, now available from just 54% of those surveyed vs. 73% last year.

Efficiencies within the store like the pickup location more frequently being at the customer service area, and more related in-store signage, are further evidence of the feature's integration within the brick and mortar environment.

The overall wait time is also improving for store pickup; down to an average of 2.58 minutes versus 3.21 minutes last year and 3.64 the year prior. Products were ready and waiting when the customer arrived at the store 94% of the time, up from 83% in 2007.

In-Store Pickup Experience(% of surveyed merchants)


3Q 2008

3Q 2007

Pickup Location & Type



   Designated pickup counter



   General cashier



   Customer service area



Designated counter*



   Easy to find



   Medium difficulty



   Difficult to find



In-store signage for pickup



Overall wait time

2.58 min

3.21 min

Produce ready & waiting



Source: the e-Tailing Group, September 2008 (*subset % penetration)

Online there is good visibility and promotion of this feature. It is constant on the home page and gaining penetration on the product page (50% '08 vs. 27% '07) as well as in the shopping cart.

Along with the order confirmation and onsite thank-you standards, more merchants are including pickup instructions. The study received email notification that products were ready for pickup 71% of the time vs. 52% last year.

Freedman concludes, "... more merchants (should) step up their efforts and make the necessary investment to facilitate buy online/pickup in-store.... customers coming into stores will be critical for servicing and selling to today's multi-channel customer."

An example of recommended (by e-tailing) customer service practices relative to in-store pickup is included here:

The e-tailing group Checklist: In-store Stellar Customer Service

  • Keep promoted products be in-stock
  • Allow shoppers to designate who will be picking up the order
  • Include signage to direct customers picking up online orders
  • Staff pickup counters with associates that have been trained on ship-to-store
  • Keep store pickup areas in order
  • Limit multi-tasking while with the customer
  • Get feedback about customers' pickup experience

For more information including a list of surveyed merchants or to order the report visit the e-tailing group's website here.


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