In a world where more and more people are shifting their major purchases online from brick and mortar businesses, it’s tricky for retailers to keep up. Circuit City lead the way years ago with its “in store pickup” program, which offers the advantages of online shopping and purchase, while letting consumers save on the often-exorbitant shipping costs by driving to the local shop where their purchase will be ready to pick up. For Circuit City, however, it wasn’t enough and they’re relegated to the dustbin of failed retailers.
And today add Target to the list. According to TWICE (“This Week in Consumer Electronics”) Target’s going online with its new program, though only for about 35,000 consumer electronics products, not everything in the store. So if you have a Target store with a supermarket, for example, you won’t be able to order a bunch of bananas online and have them waiting for pickup. But purchase a new TV, Playstation 4 or a few of the latest Blu-Ray releases and your purchases will be ready for pickup by the front door.
Simultaneously, Amazon.com, the online retail powerhouse, has been unveiling “Amazon Lockers” where you can purchase from its online site and have your products delivered within a few hours to a convenient locker from which you can then grab your purchases within a few hours rather than a few days of waiting for UPS.
The cost of overhead, of floor staff and inventory? Those are becoming rare commodities and as this trend continues I predict two things: In store will have a premium price over online, and online will continue to slowly creep upwards to compensate.
And then there’s that online sales tax. That’s going to be a factor too.
What do you think? Have you used a delivery locker or in-store pickup feature with a major retailer?