24 Jun The Seamless Shopping Experience Coming to a Location Near You
Many brands and retailers, from Microsoft to Sears or Walmart are covering all of their bases to offer a seamless shopping experience between online, mobile and in-store channels – and also to capture and act upon the data gathered along the path to purchase.
A recent article titled Walmart Works To Create Seamless Shopping explains how the big-box retailer is using postcard-size pull tabs (at the end of aisles) to give shoppers a way to access merchandise not found in their local store, such as additional styles available online. Consumers can take a tab to the service desk, pay for half of the item and then have the item – such as a bike, swing set, or pool – delivered to their local store, without paying shipping. It’s an extension of their site-to-store play and a smart move for both summer items and the Holiday season.
Whether store-to-store or online-to-offline, brands and retailers like Walmart are trying “to fulfill orders as close geographically to consumers as they can to reduce costs and shorten delivery times” (Internet Retailer, June 2014). According to a 2013 comScore/UPS survey, 54% of consumers say they’ve abandoned their shopping cart at checkout because shipping costs made the total purchase costs more than expected; and 44% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with an e-retailer if they can pick up their online order in a store.
Given convenience and affordability, more online consumers are becoming offline buyers. Such cross-channel conveniences, and the lure of the in-store buy, particularly for large items, is greater than ever – and along with it comes the need for location-based digital ad campaigns that make it easy for consumers to quickly find and navigate to the right products or brands at their local retailers. In fact, Microsoft recently announced that location-based mobile ads generated a huge 89% incremental lift in store visits from targeted shoppers compared to a group that were not served the ads.
Yes, this seamless shopping experience poses more path-to-purchase measurement challenges for marketers, but the end result for the retailer or brand is the same: happy shoppers and a boost to their bottom line.
“We are at the intersection of physical and data,” said Suja Chandrasekaran, Walmart’s CTO, in the article referenced above. “Stores are no longer just an endpoint for the shopping experience, but can also be a pick-up point anywhere in the purchase process. It’s about having the right products, at the right place, at the right time, for the right price.”