Optimizing their omnichannel distribution strategies, retailers are developing services like curbside pickup in under 30 minutes, shipping online orders straight from the store, automated in-store retrieval kiosks and more

While convenience is top-of-mind for consumers, what that means can take many different forms. Depending on whether consumers are shopping online, requesting at-home delivery, picking up in-store or visiting a retail location, what provides the most streamlined and frictionless experience requires specific infrastructure and strategy on the part of retailers.

76% of shoppers say having multiple fulfillment options influences purchasing, up from 64% the year before—a nearly 20% increase. Accordingly, brands are responding to the fluidity of consumers’ shopping styles and varying needs by developing flexible distribution channels, including universal views of inventory, treating stores as fulfillment centers and having multiple delivery services in place. Here’s how retailers spanning industries from apparel to grocery are optimizing convenience across all touchpoints:

Whole Foods Market
Grocery retailer Whole Foods offers curbside pickup for online grocery orders to Amazon Prime members in select U.S. locations. Shoppers can place their orders using the Prime Now app, which will notify Whole Foods when they are coming to pick up their groceries. Prime Now customers can then park in dedicated parking spaces and have their groceries delivered right to their cars. The service is free on orders over $35 that are collected in an hour or longer, but shoppers can pay a $4.99 fee to have their order ready in 30 minutes.

Zara
Fashion retailer Zara plans to use its stores to ship online purchases to get full-price items to customers more quickly than they would from a warehouse. If an item is out of stock online but available in a store near where the online customer lives, the store can mail the item directly to the customer’s address, increasing the likelihood of a full-price sale. The ship from store option is currently available in 2,000 Zara stores in 48 countries.

Walmart
Retail giant Walmart plans to expand the number of its Pickup Towers, automated purchase pick-up stations that are found in stores throughout the US. Shoppers scan a barcode stored on their phones to retrieve items they ordered online from the Pickup Tower kiosks. Walmart is also adding Pickup Lockers that allow customers to retrieve larger items, such as a big-screen TV. The expanding program will bring the number of Pickup Towers to more than 700, making them available to nearly 40% of the US population.

These are just a few examples of how retailers are catering to consumer demand for flexible purchasing options and providing optimal service on all channels. For more information, see PSFK’s recently launched report, the Future of Retail 2019.

While convenience is top-of-mind for consumers, what that means can take many different forms. Depending on whether consumers are shopping online, requesting at-home delivery, picking up in-store or visiting a retail location, what provides the most streamlined and frictionless experience requires specific infrastructure and strategy on the part of retailers.

76% of shoppers say having multiple fulfillment options influences purchasing, up from 64% the year before—a nearly 20% increase. Accordingly, brands are responding to the fluidity of consumers’ shopping styles and varying needs by developing flexible distribution channels, including universal views of inventory, treating stores as fulfillment centers and having multiple delivery services in place. Here’s how retailers spanning industries from apparel to grocery are optimizing convenience across all touchpoints: