Half of US internet users have bought items online and picked them up in-store in the past year, an increase of 15 percentage points over 2015. However, L2’s Digital Drive to Store report finds that few retailers promote this feature adequately.
Recognizing that multichannel shoppers spend more in-store, brands have quickly adopted omnichannel features. All of the brands in L2’s study offer online store locators, 97% allow in-store returns for online orders, and 82% provide in-store pickup. But even Walmart, a textbook example of best-in-class omnichannel fulfillment, fails to make clear that all of these features are available.
The retailer is generally skilled at making physical stores part of the digital shopping experience. Its homepage highlights in-store pickup availability in four places, and category pages let customers filter not only by products available for pickup, but also by products available for pickup that day and products with pickup discounts. Product pages call out the nearest stores offering pickup, and customers can opt in (and out) of the service at any point during the checkout process.
Walmart also uses its return policy to drive digital customers to stores. After you place an order on Walmart.com, the brand sends a receipt with a barcode that allows you to return the product at any Walmart location. In November, Walmart will release a mobile app feature to further improve this process. The app allows customers to process online returns, scan a QR code to return the item in an express lane, and receive a refund the next day.
However, the brand does not promote this convenient returns process frequently on its site and fails to mention in-store returns on the homepage, category pages, or product pages. Many customers prefer to return items to stores, so highlighting the convenience of in-store returns could further incentivize online orders and store visits.