By Clare Evans
Walgreens has long been at the forefront of retail revolutions. Before the days of the Internet, the company would deliver prescriptions to their customers by the time they got off the phone. Today, the drugstore is changing the face of retail again with its scan-to-refill prescriptions. Customers simply scan their empty pill bottles to order new prescriptions instantly. They can then be picked up in a local store or delivered to their door, whatever is most convenient for the customer. It is this notion of bricks-and-clicks that is taking the retail world by storm.
Why bricks-and-clicks works
While ecommerce has inevitably changed how we shop, it has by no means changed why. Consumers are still motivated to meet a particular goal. They are simply choosing the purchasing method that is most convenient for them, and that is why bricks-and-clicks is taking over. Customers can make a purchase when it suits them, and then pick it up at a convenient time. No more missed deliveries and no more shopping trips that leave them empty handed.
Walgreens is not the only organization utilizing this trend. Online auction site eBay recently announced plans to extend its partnership with Shutl, and roll out one-hour delivery to more cities and states across the U.S. Shoppers can now expect purchases from some local senders to be delivered within an hour of payment. This completely changes the retail game, and is a huge leap forward for the online-only brand. With retailers such as Walgreens and eBay providing instant delivery, has the retail landscape changed for good? How can independent retailers keep up with the competition and offer a service that meets demand?
How this trend is leveraging sales
Unsurprisingly, bricks-and-clicks is helping brands leverage sales and capitalize on their physical stores. Never before has ecommerce driven in-store footfall in such a way that is actually boosting the success of a store. By visiting the store to collect a purchase, retailers can capitalize on customer service to drive sales. For instance, consumer electronics brands may see a customer visiting the store to pick up a digital camera bought online. Store staff can then offer advice on photography and cross-sell. Customers may then leave not only with a new camera, but also with a range of lenses and a tripod.
Unsurprisingly, bricks-and-clicks is helping brands leverage sales and capitalize on their physical stores. Never before has ecommerce driven in-store footfall in such a way that is actually boosting the success of a store.
Additionally, customers are much more likely to make larger purchases when they know they are not paying delivery costs. By offering a click-and-collect service where all refunds and exchanges can be handled in store, independent retailers can dramatically boost their customer relations.
While the trend for bricks-and-clicks is ultimately about customer convenience, retailers should see it as an opportunity to build brand advocacy. Independent retailers rely on customer loyalty and repeat purchases, and by making the shopping experience as simple as possible, customers will naturally return time and time again. Of course, retailers will need to make sure that all the other elements of their online and offline offerings are seamless and integrated.
Bricks-and-clicks is the latest multi-channel retail trend that is further changing the industry. By embracing technology and multi-channel integration, independent retailers can keep ahead of the competition when it comes to providing a memorable shopping experience.