Five Brick-and-Mortar Stores Merge the Benefits of Ecommerce

Close-up of a grey keyboard with a blue key that has a shopping cart on it.

With the expanding popularity of online shopping, brick-and-mortar stores continue to seek ways to capitalize on technology, especially mobile commerce, in order to draw customers through their doors. One of the most successful strategies is proving to be the buy online, pickup in store strategy. According to, 74 out of 156 retail chains in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 offered in-store pickup of online orders, compared to 51 out of 155 chains the previous year.

Ship to store and in-store pickup has been building momentum in retail over the last decade. Even with some disruption by technology and online retailers, brick-and-mortar stores remain the most preferred shopping method for 64% of Americans, with 78% preferring to be able to try the product out in person. (Source: Pew Research Center)

Yes, consumers are still drawn to the marketplace, albeit for various reasons and with a whole new set of expectations in this 21st century. Colliers reports that “despite the convenience of ecommerce, today’s shoppers still want to kick the tires, touch the products, and try on the clothes and shoes before they buy . . . Smart retailers are embracing the challenge of omnichannel shopping in creative ways.”

Here are five retailers that are getting into or improving upon “buy online, pick up in store” features to draw shoppers into their brick-and-mortar stores:

  1. Jo-Ann Fabrics began testing this free option in selected stores in the third quarter of 2016. Chris DiTullio, senior vice president of marketing and omnichannel, says, “It is not a retail secret that the more channels you can successfully engage a customer in, the greater percent of their total category spend will come your way.” It plans to roll out the “buy online/pickup in store” option this year, according to Digital Commerce 360.  
  2. Michael Kors calls its new, free service, “click-and-collect,” and allows shoppers to select their items online and pay upon arrival within three hours of placing the order. CEO John Idol said, “We believe that further enhancing our omnichannel presence will help us to drive improved comparable sales results in the future.” He also remarks on the possibility of this new feature serving as a springboard to same-day delivery initiatives.
  3. Starbucks, not new to capitalizing on technology for retail, is launching a similar idea with a slightly different approach. Their Digital Order Manager (DOM) is enabling customers to order and pay ahead using the Starbucks app, which aims to reduce time and space waiting in line. Retail Dive reports, “It is also getting new equipment and hiring new labor at some stores, as well as changing store layouts. All of this speaks to how important the retailer believes mobile commerce to be to its bottom line.”
  4. Kroger is witnessing a jobs benefit as well with this linking ecommerce to brick-and-mortar stores. Since launching its “ClickList” service, which allows grocery shoppers to have their online orders bagged by the time they arrive at the physical store, Kroger has added 25 to 35 new jobs at each store offering the service. 
  5. Walmart is expanding its already well-established pick-up in stores feature. Last year, CEO Doug McMillon credited the growth of pick-up in stores and clubs with helping to drive e-commerce revenues. However, Walmart is now rolling out a discount feature to the program. The Pickup Discount offers shoppers various discounts on 10,000 online-only items, an amount expected to grown to more than 1 million by the end of June.  Charlie O’Shea, lead retail analyst at Moody’s, writes, “Wal-Mart’s announcement is another example of a retailer leveraging its physical stores to provide consumers with more options to receive online orders quickly, and we view this move positively.” Source: Digital Commerce 360)
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