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Click and collect gains traction—with one retailer out in front

The nation’s largest retailer is playing a pivotal leading role in click-and-collect — or buy online pick up in store — retailing.

More than a third (35%) of online purchasers have clicked-and-collected in the last three months, according to a new report by Packaged Facts. And by one measure, Walmart leads other retailers by a wide margin: Among click-and-collect survey responders, some 42% identified Walmart as the pickup location for their last click-and-collect order, three times the percentage of those who cited runner-up Target.

The data in the Walmart U.S. Strategies and Shoppers report suggest that Walmart's store pickup strategy has moved out in front of the competition. What’s more, the results also suggest that, while Amazon may rule internet sales and home delivery, Amazon lockers do not register on the same scale as click-and collect programs managed by some of the largest brick-and-mortar retailers. (But the report noted that while Amazon has not yet integrated its Whole Foods Market stores deeply into its overall operations, this will likely change, giving it more omnichannel firepower.)

Packaged Facts also found that click-and-collect may boost overall sales at the purchaser's retailer of choice. Some 34% of click-and-collectors purchased an additional item the last time they picked up an online order, while another 16% shopped at the store but did not buy anything extra.

“For brick-and-mortar retailers seeking to straddle online and in-store purchasing, this finding is more than just a silver lining,” Packaged Facts stated in a release. “It suggests that physical retail locations play a significant, direct role in the omnichannel purchasing experience and that they can also help build loyalty from the omnichannel purchaser, who may choose that retailer again knowing that additional needs can be met in the moment.

The tendency for click-and-collectors to purchase additional items when they pick up their orders is more pronounced for those purchasing from high-SKU, high-variety retailers such as Walmart or Target, since the purchaser can choose from a much wider array of options in real time. Walmart’s new vending machine-styled “Pickup Towers” provide the incentive to do just that.

"Placed inside the store, the pickup towers force online purchasers into the store, where purchasers cannot help but be exposed to a plethora of Walmart's goods and services, all within arm's reach," said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

Walmart is rolling out the towers at a quick pace, with 700 locations to have them by January 2019, up from 100 in January 2018. The strategy is clearly intended to increase the likelihood that they will purchase additional items once in the store — and survey results suggest it is working.

Some 50% of Walmart click-and-collectors shopped at the store for additional items and bought more items, versus 31% of Target click-and-collectors, and 34% of click-and-collectors generally.
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