With the growing number of commercial sites and the smartphones and social networking progress, web-to-store is now part of customers shopping routine. Whether to search for information on a product, identify resellers, compare prices and products or read reviews: Internet is now an integral part of the customer journey. But if this integration of the web in the customer journey is relatively recent, e-commerce has existed for over 20 years. Today the line between e-commerce and traditional brick and mortar stores is very thin, what are the different ways used to attract customers from the web to the store?
The Drive-Through Concept for Grocery Store
The Drive-through for grocery shopping has been tested since last year by Walmart. The concept, which is a free service, allows customers to place their orders online any time from two hours to three weeks in advance. Customers drive to the Walmart Pickup- Grocery warehouse and use a kiosk to notify attendants that they are ready to pick up their orders. This concept creates a bridge between the physical store and the virtual one. If the concept is quite new in some countries, it is not in France: it has spread over the last decade and now attracts 7 millions of French consumers. All of the French large retailers offer this service and the trend does not stop at supermarkets since small businesses are also trying the news experience (bakery, pharmacy, etc.).
The Click And Collect
Thanks to the Internet, the consumer knows in real time whether a product is available in store, can order it and pick it up directly in store. Half the consumers have already used this purchase method. The free service is the main motivation, the speed and efficiency are also appreciated but consumers do not like to wait to pick up their purchases and this is where the shoe pinches. However there are solutions to better manage the customer journey: identification of the customer on an interactive kiosk, preparation, customer information screen in the waiting area to track the order, checking, hand-over to the customer and monitoring.
Since more than a year web-to-store has reached another stage, more than buying then pick up in stores, it is possible now to reserve an item online before trying and buying it. The customer experience will be greatly improved since you can go to the store knowing that the item you want is available and waiting for you (and not necessarily to buy it). If this method of purchase is still at the beginning, there is no doubt that it will become very popular.
The Personal Shopper
To go further, a customer can make an appointment online with a salesperson on the website of the store, identify once on site with an interactive terminal and be accompanied and advised by a salesman who suggests articles based on the tastes and budget specified online during the appointment process.
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