Companies are continuing to explore E-commerce channels to grow their business and attract new customers. You can buy almost anything online at home or on your Smartphone device with greater ease. Soon you will not have leave your house or make a long extended trips to buy your groceries, clothes, or other essentials from your favorite retailers.
My company orders all of our breakroom supplies at Sam’s Club online at a competitive rate and they prepare everything for pickup at our local store. I used to spend almost an hour running around the warehouse but now I pay at the customer service desk and am in and out in less than 5 minutes. Retailers like Amazon, major clothing department stores, and other larger companies offer direct shipping to your home or business for a small shipping charge and sometimes free depending on the order.
Wal-Mart recently announced its “Locker” approach where customers can order online and their goods will be available at their local store for pickup. Like my example above, this service allows for a free and shorter shipment turnaround time than other online channels. Joel Anderson, chief executive of Walmart.com, explains in an article in NewYorkTimes.com Wal-Mart’s advantage being its 4,000 stores; “They provide a network of distribution points for things like same-day shipping and in-store pick-up. That is particularly helpful for the quarter of Wal-Mart customers without credit cards or bank accounts who previously were excluded from e-commerce, he said, because they can order online and pay with cash in a Wal-Mart store.” In addition to the “Lockers” approach, Wal-Mart is testing applications for Smartphone devices allowing customers to create lists while shopping and be directed to the specific aisle throughout the store.
Other companies like Amazon and Google are starting to experiment with similar e-commerce purchasing avenues and battle the title with Wal-Mart for who is going to be #1.
All of these tools will make purchasing goods more cost effective, faster, and overall less of a hassle. The real question will be how will this affect the physical locations of these major brands? I will check back in with you once I have had an opportunity to test out these different channels. Thanks for shopping!