Approximately 49 percent of consumers say they plan to buy online and pick-up in stores this holiday season, and 93 percent will take advantage of free shipping— and they’ll be patronizing retailers that offer these options in a bid to escape the in-store shopping rush, according to a new report from the National Retail Federation.
In fact, 50 percent say that free shipping/free pick-up options are the most important factor in choosing where to shop this season — meaning that retailers must deliver the ease and affordability at checkout time that shoppers have come to expect from Amazon if they want to compete.
The fact that customers like fast, free shipping is hardly news. But many brick-and-mortars, from department stores to standalone boutiques, have lagged behind on omnichannel initiatives like in-store pick up — even as research shows that this option comes with many financial benefits.
The In-Store Advantage
Approximately 82 percent of millennials believe it’s important for brands to have physical stores, which is more than any other demographic. But there isn’t a disconnect with this digital native generation: Millennials simply want the option to shop both online and offline, and they’re some of the biggest patrons of in-store pick-up programs — especially during the holiday season, when they’re most likely to find inspiration and complete product research online in order to avoid busy stores and long lines.
This is a big win for retailers, and not just because of the initial purchase: In fact, over 75 percent of millennials have made an additional purchase during in-store pick up, and this phenomenon of making an unexpected buy while picking up previously purchased items holds true across age groups, too. 63 percent of respondents ages 35-49 and and 79 percent ages 50-65 said the same.
And for those who think its too late to make in-store pick up count this holiday season, the good news is that buy online, pick up in-store programs are easier to implement than many other omnichannel initiatives. They don’t require wide spread rollouts of new in-store technology — like beacons or smart mirrors, for example — and so are a comparatively simple investment for retailers who already have physical stores and offer online sales.
With consumers set to spend a per-person average $967.13 this holiday season, brands should be ready to grab a chunk of this change by offering the seamless and affordable delivery/pick-up options that today’s shopper expects.