Online retailers have successfully lured shoppers in with choice and convenience, enabling purchases to happen virtually anywhere, but after the one-click checkout, customers are literally left waiting. Bricks and mortar retailers meanwhile, have been able to deliver on that immediacy, but only when their customers are inside their stores and the right inventory is on hand. However, in a seamless multichannel landscape, these two disparate experiences are beginning to merge as more retailers and brands combine the ease of online and mobile shopping with new fulfillment options.
These services allow customers to shop and purchase from their entire available inventory and receive the product in as little as one hour. Delivering on the need for convenience and immediacy, these ‘buy it now, get it soon after’ services to get shoppers their purchases more quickly is a trend from PSFK Labs‘ Future of Retail report that we’re calling On-Demand Delivery.
Being able to compete by offering delivery services that get shoppers their products in under 24hrs is an extremely valuable opportunity for retailers as they look to compete. A recent article from the New York Times points to the strategic value that faster fulfillment services provide, saying “The first retailer to master same-day delivery on a wide scale could attract customers who have avoided online purchases because they wanted items immediately, and encourage current shoppers to add products that they usually buy from supermarkets or drugstores, including celery and toothpaste.”
Connecting consumer with products as quick as possible is valuable opportunity whether sales come from online or offline channels. A recent survey from Accenture showed that consumers are willing to pay for speed and convenience: 24% said it is important for retailers to offer same-day delivery. Further pointing to the possible value to consumers, a Jefferies Company report recently found that “convenience is one of three major components, along with selection and price, which drive consumers to choose one retailer over another (offline and online alike).”
With the second act of the showrooming battle between brick and mortar stores and digital pure plays is getting underway, PSFK Labs‘ Director, Scott Lachut, reminds companies that “In a culture of immediate gratification, waiting is the hardest part. Meet your shopper’s expectations with multiple options that allow them to decide the most convenient method for receiving their purchase. Ensure that you sync all available inventory across your channels to optimize cost and availability.”
Retailers looking to improve the fulfillment experience offered to customers, regardless of channel, should consider the following key questions:
- What new services can you offer to improve our fulfillment process?
- Should you take this challenge on internally or find the right partner?
- How do you ensure that you’re able to deliver on our promise of speed and convenience?
- How do these services impact inventory management and pricing?
- How can you locate shoppers to ensure quick delivery?
- How can these efforts be tied into relationship management and marketing to make them work harder for your business?
- Can you leverage a community of like-minded shoppers to outsource your product deliveries?
- What complementary services can you offer in connection with delivered products?
- How can you use retail stores as distributions points?
- Can you offer tester products to increase offline product trial and purchase?
- How can these solutions free up space in physical stores and how will that real estate be utilized?
In the fourth edition of the Future of Retail Report, PSFK Labs brings together two interconnected themes and eleven key trends that provide a foundation for the modern shopping experience. The findings are brought to life with best-in-class examples, actionable strategies and leading questions to inspire leading retailers and brands. Join us at our San Francisco conference on Nov. 21st where talks from retail innovators will bring the key themes to life.
Contributed by: Wesley Robison