Brick and mortar stores can make shopping more convenient for customers by offering more fulfilment options. Zebra’s study revealed that retail decision-makers are equipping their physical stores to become both fulfilment hubs as well as product showrooms.
The key is to keep the point-of-sale easy and frictionless for shoppers. Making the purchasing process easy for shoppers enables them to spend more. So, brands may soon find themselves offering a wider range of order fulfilment and delivery options—like order in-store and ship to home, or order online and pick up in-store (click and collect).
Retailers’ fulfilment plans for 2019
E-commerce order fulfilment poses its challenges, though—regardless of whether shoppers order themselves or sales assistant orders on their behalf. Consumers are accustomed to the speed and ease of e-commerce. They now expect the same experience to extend to every channel, especially when it comes to delivery.
The 2019 Shopper Vision Study revealed 32% of shoppers prefer same-day delivery with 34% willing to pay the additional cost for it. To meet these expectations, the study revealed more than half of retail decision-makers currently offer free shipping, and if they don’t, 28% plan to by the year’s end.
Other retailer fulfilment trends to expect within the coming year:
Web order fulfilment
Product transfers between store locations
Direct shipments to warehouses and/or consumers
Buy online, ship to home
Buy online, pick up in-store
Buy in-store, ship to home
Buy online, return in-store
Buy online, pick up at a third-party location (like lockers or convenience stores)
Retailers’ investment plans for 2019
Besides evolving fulfilment options, retailers also plan to invest more in retail technology solutions to improve customer service in their brick and mortar stores. The Shopper Vision study revealed that nearly 60% of decision-makers plan to increase investments in barcodescanner-equipped handheld mobile computers by at least 6% over the next three years and 38% plan the same for rugged tablets.
These technologies give sales assistants the ability to scan barcodes for price checks, do product lookups, access customer loyalty programs; real-time staff communication; and larger screens to bring product features to life and allow for customer interaction.