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Why Retailers Should Offer Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store

Nearly eight in 10 internet users find buy online, pick up in-store appealing

June 8, 2015

As retailers have increased their focus on creating an omnichannel experience, buy online, pick up in-store has emerged as one way to bridge the physical-digital divide. Based on research, consumer demand for such services is huge, meaning retailers that don’t provide this purchase option risk getting left behind.

Attitudes Toward Buying Digitally and Picking Up In-Store Among US Internet Users, by Demographic, Q4 2014 (% of respondents in each group)

Among US internet users polled in Q4 2014 by King Retail Solutions (KRS), 78% found the option to shop online for in-store pickup appealing, and more than half of respondents in this group had bought this way in the past year. While the percentages of males and females who found such services appealing were near even, men were 9 percentage points more likely than women to have actually acted on this.

Among generations, millennials were the least likely to find buy online, pick up in-store appealing (74%) and landed in last for adoption. About eight in 10 respondents from both the Gen X and baby boomer groups were interested in using these services, and more than four in 10 respondents from each generation had purchased this way.

Consumer Products that US Internet Users Would Buy Online and Pick Up In-Store, by Demographic, Q4 2014 (% of respondents in each group)

However, not all products are created equal when it comes to buying online and picking up in-store. Electronics were far and away the most popular goods that respondents were willing to purchase this way, cited by 80% of respondents. Housewares and apparel ranked second and third, each with nearly six in 10 respondents, though males and boomers showed underwhelming interest in the latter.

Two categories stood out as the least appealing for buy online, pick up in-store: fresh prepared meals and groceries. Fewer than three in 10 respondents for each were interested in getting their food fix this way.

Other research suggests that retailers have their work cut out for them when it comes to taking advantage of consumer interest in buy online, pick up in-store. In a February 2015 study from RIS News, only 21% of US retail IT executives said they had up-to-date technology in place for in-store pickup or return of web goods. Similarly, December 2014 polling by Boston Retail Partners found that just 24% of retailers in North America had implemented buy online, pick up in-store and said it was working well.


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