After years of trying to drive customers to their e-commerce sites, retailers are now trying to get shoppers to set foot in their stores again. And they’re turning to the internet for help. Chains like Sears, Nordstrom and Wal-Mart have all instituted programs that let you order an item online and then pick it up at a brick-and-mortar location.
Aside from offering a simple and convenient service to customers, programs like this help to breach the divide between e-commerce and real world sales. Part of this process involves streamlining inventory — many stores had previously offered different selections online than in store. In a world where shoppers are becoming accustomed to browsing anytime, anywhere — thanks to smartphones and tablets — and finding exactly what they want, it just makes sense to synch the Web and in-store experience.
Driving people into stores also increases the chances that they’ll pick up another item or two on the way to the checkout. According to the New York Times, “encouraging customers to retrieve items they have ordered online in a store increases visits to the stores, which usually increases sales.”
Would you take advantage of a service like this? Or would you rather just get orders shipped to your home?