Offering free digital pick-up orders to customers has become an important part of the strategy of these retailers to compete against Amazon's fast and extensive supply network. Retailers have covered the country with business pick-up options in recent years, and these investments have paid off during the holidays.
Buy online, spending on store pickup from November 1 through December 19 increased 47% year-over-year from Adobe Analytics. Adobe said it was the biggest holiday registered for online pickups.
Customers have quickly adopted online store pickups. Analysts say it appeals to buyers who want to grab their belongings and leave without waiting at cash registers or interacting with salespeople on the floor.
On the occasion of the Walmart Investors' Day in October, Chief Customer Officer Janey Whiteside said picking was of interest to both a "time press mother" and home travel when she picked up her children at school and a "convenience meal". Search Baby Boomer "on the way home from the golf course.
Picking up mobile or online orders in stores in hours can also be faster than waiting for days to deliver home. It works for last minute holiday buyers who need to quickly buy a gift. Old Navy even partnered with Lyft to offer customers free rides for online pickups last Saturday.
"Realizing the rising costs of e-commerce has led many brands to increase sales over the past year," said Steve Dennis, a retail consultant and former executive consultant to Sears and Neiman Marcus.
Customers often choose to pick Best Buy instead of delivery home because they buy or not buy gifts for family members. Joly said nobody wants to steal an expensive TV, Joly said.
Target said it helped the company cut costs. "Given the cost of the last mile, drive-up economics are much better," said John Mulligan, Target's Chief Operating Officer, to analysts in November.
Despite the growth opportunities picking up is not easy to operate and presents several barriers to retail, including security, inventory control and staffing. Retailers need to implement procedures that prevent fraud, said Oliver.
Retailers must also ensure that online orders do not run out of stock and that employees are not overwhelmed with double-picks and on-going business. Walmart, for example, has 25,000 trained personal shoppers who select products and meats when ordering online at stores.