Omni Channel Options: The Rise of Purchase Online, Pick Up at the Store

We’ve reached the next evolution of omni channel options in the retail industry: stores that are solely for pickup and don’t actually sell anything. Giant retailer Walmart is planning to open physical stores in population dense areas that are for pick up only.
In July, Walmart opened a 40,000 square-foot prototype store (by comparison Walmart Super stores can be 178,000 square-foot) near Chicago in Lincolnwood, Illinois. The Walmart Pickup Point, as the store in known was designed to cater to customers’ online pickups and deliveries. The inside of the store looks like a regular Walmart with groceries and everyday items such as clothes, household cleaners and pet supplies. Unlike a regular Walmart location, however, customers won’t be able go inside. Customers will place orders online, arrive to designated parking spots, and a Walmart worker will load up their trunk with their order. The company is also testing a similar pilot model near its Arkansas headquarters.
Retail rival Target currently offers a similar same-day fulfillment model which includes Order Pickup (in-store pickup and Drive Up (curbside pickup) but these option are available at regular stores were customers can shop. Target’s first quarter earnings actually received a boost from their online purchase model.
It isn’t only groceries or household goods stores that are changing. Fashion clothing department Nordstrom first introduced Nordstorm Local, in Los Angeles in 2017. These stores are smaller hubs for picking up online orders, make returns and take advantage of Nordstrom’s alteration and tailoring services. Nordstrom has three Local stores in greater Los Angeles and is slated to open its first two in New York City in September 2019.
These smaller, local hubs will allow shoppers to quickly retrieve their online orders without having to venture across town to a regular big-box store or wait for home delivery. It also prevents so called ‘porch piracy’. For retailers, pickup is a better economic model than delivery because they can avoid paying expensive packing and shipping fees.
Target and Walmart created these fulfillment models as part of their plans to thwart the rise of e-commerce giant Amazon and have had decent success. As a result, Amazon is  is reportedly working on a new  low price grocery store format that puts online order pickup and delivery at the forefront. The stores will feature a smaller shopping footprint than most supermarkets but could have ample storage. Building brick and mortar stores with online grocery ordering in mind from the start could give Amazon an advantage over grocers trying to retrofit their stores for online ordering. What these business plans emphasize is the hassle free, omni channel expectations of today’s consumers.
Sintel Systems is a global leader in omni channel solutions for the food industry. Our Direct-to-POS online ordering platform was specifically designed for restaurants. This system allows restaurants of all sorts to have a custom, secure website and mobile app to support customer ability for placing orders on the go. Through our omni channel approach, customers can order with an employee using a hand held device at busy drive thrus, order from a kiosk, order from their phone or order from a computer. If they prefer, they can even order inside the restaurant from staff at the counter. All transactions from devices are seamlessly sent to the kitchen display system (KDS) so that kitchen staff is always in the loop. Sintel Systems has a deep commitment to providing the restaurant industry with user friendly, effective POS solutions that promote order accuracy and customer engagement.
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