A Better Fulfillment Strategy: Ecommerce Meets In-Person Pickup

By  //  August 14, 2017

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HAS proven to be popular among online shoppers

Ecommerce has existed for roughly 20 years now, and the formula is pretty standard; an online shopper makes a purchase online, then sees it on their doorstep — or in their mailbox — within a few days.

Simple right?

Well, not exactly.

The truth is ecommerce is constantly evolving, as businesses find new ways to market their products, new ways to sell online and in person, as well as new ways to please customers.

One idea emerging of late is in-person pickup, where a customer makes an order online, then travels to a physical location to get their goods. This means big savings for vendors and consumers who no longer have to worry about fees associated with shipping and handling.

This idea has proven to be very popular among online shoppers. According to the ecommerce vertical eMarketer, nearly 80 percent of internet users find in-store pick up appealing.

Even more intriguing, customer interest expands more or less equally across demographics—meaning this is something ecommerce sites of all stripes should at least consider.

In-Person Fulfillment

You might be wondering, how do I setup physical pickup for my ecommerce site? Well there are a couple ways to do this.

First you need to include ‘in-store pickup’ as shipping option. If you are using an ecommerce website builder, this is likely a custom shipping zone tool where you can set a physical pickup option for shoppers ordering within 50 miles or so from a set location.

Next, you will need to establish an actual location for customers to visit. Perhaps this is a pop-up retail shop where your products are hosted. Or maybe you can send shoppers to your distribution center. It really depends on your preferences and resources.

Make it Social

It will also benefit you to share the news of your physical pickup options and locations with your followers. This can be done through social media outreach, email marketing and your on-site blog.

The point is to excite your customers about the prospect and generate buzz regarding your in-person pickups. A helpful side effect is that commenters will likely share where they are and where they’d like to see your next popup or distribution center established.

Obviously, you won’t be able to hit all these targets (nor should you), but it is valuable information nonetheless.

The popular festival clothing site, iHeartRaves used in-person pickup ahead of Electric Daisy Carnival, a popular music festival in Las Vegas. This helped ravers in the Los Angeles and Denver areas pick up their dance fashions before the big event, rather than wait impatiently by the mailbox.

What the Future Holds

As mentioned above, ecommerce is changing rapidly whether you realize it or not. And in-person order fulfillment might become a must for smaller ecommerce players as the giants explore drone delivery and same-day fulfillment.

Admittedly, no one knows what the future holds with exact certainty. But we can assume customers in the future will want more delivery options to make their lives easier and reduce wait times. So, it would behoove your small ecommerce business to examine various fulfillment methods such as the ones listed above.

So, what are you waiting for? Give in-person pick up a close examination to see if it is a viable option for your company and your shoppers. After all, you don’t want to fall behind your competitors. It is much better to lead the pack.

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