Keep it simple: How retail can retain convenience


I don’t know if you feel the same, but convenience is something I really love. Whole Foods is my favorite place to order groceries. They deliver my groceries right to my door when I get home. I love the convenience of being able to purchase online and pick them up in-store. I place an order on and wait for them to arrive. Then, I pick them up when it suits me best. You can be sure that I will try any company or brand that offers more convenience in my life.

One thing that I have noticed over the last few months is that many of my favorite stores are experiencing a noticeable and dramatic resurgence to make them more convenient. These retailers offer a variety of options to promote the convenience factor in-store, which is a result of the next-day delivery initiatives led by Walmart. Nearly 90% of retail sales are done in brick-and mortar stores. However, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos stated earlier this year that retailers need to find more cost-effective ways to automate tasks while still maintaining a competitive price.

Take notice brick-and-mortar stores, there are five options available to increase convenience.

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1. Delivery

Brick-and-mortar shops can show off their convenience by offering on-demand delivery, local pickup points and free shipping. A recent CommonSense Robotics survey found that customers prefer same-day delivery to in-store pickup by a margin of four to one.

Target is one brick and mortar retailer that focuses on same-day grocery delivery. Walmart offers a membership program to expand its grocery delivery service. Instead of the $9.99 delivery fee, customers can pay a $98 annual fee or $12.95 per monthly. Walmart has better options to compete with Instacart/Whole Foods and Amazon Prime Now/Whole Foods. Retailers can differentiate themselves by evaluating local opportunities that appeal to local customers to increase incremental sales and draw repeat customers.

2. Subscription Services

Consumers can now enjoy new products from the comfort of their own homes and make repeat purchases through subscriptions. Subscription models are also being offered by traditional retailers. Birchbox and Walgreens partnered last year to create retail experiences in select stores. Urban Outfitters recently announced it would launch a rental program in addition to its existing e-commerce and physical presence. Both Walgreens and Urban Outfitters have taken inspiration from other successful direct-to consumer brands in order to create an in-store experience for shoppers that gives them the joy of making a purchase, whether it be a repeat or new, that can be worn, gifted, or used immediately.

3. Self-Checkout

A positive shopping experience is built on ease and convenience. RIS News survey found that consumers prefer to “grab and run” technology. They also use smartphones for self-checkout. Fivety-nine percent said they would like it and nine percent had already used it. Payment kiosks can also be moved and used by retailers to set up “quick-sale” displays that allow for quick payment options for seasonal gifting aisles, or limited-time items.

4. Order Online and Pick up in-Store

Many retailers, including Target, Old Navy and Home Depot offer buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS). In-store pickup technology has had one of the biggest transformational effects on retail over the last few years. CFI Group research shows that 78 percent of consumers view in-store pickup for online orders as very or important. This proves that in-store pickup has many benefits. This service has been used by 57% of online shoppers in the past year. Retailers see BOPIS orders accounting to 21 percent to 30% of their revenue.

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5. Loyalty programs

There are so many options for consumers, brands need to pay extra attention to their loyal customers. Customer loyalty programs are designed to help customers build lasting relationships with them, win new guests, increase sales, and ultimately create lifetime value. Loyalty programs can be very cost-effective for companies. Travel companies have developed loyalty programs that are extremely convenient for travelers, whether they’re traveling for business or pleasure. Delta is my go-to airline for all of my travel needs. It knows me well and makes it easy to rent a car or fly with them.

All of the strategies and tactics retailers use today have one goal: to build loyalty and repeat customers while being aware of rising costs. Customers will return to these options for convenience, whether it’s delivery, subscription services or self-checkout options.

Future retail technologies, such as augmented reality, virtual realities, and personalization enabled via tech, will be the most important. If this technology adds more convenience to my daily life, then I’m all in.

Total Retail’s Top Five News Stories for 2019

Retail news was certainly big in 2019. Here are the top news stories that Total Retail published in 2019, ranked according to page views.

1. May 10, Sears’ New Logo Receives Mixed Reviews

Sears revealed a new logo in May via its social media channels. While the company stated that the logo “was created to symbolize both home and heart, but this shape also conveys movement through an infinity loop. Reminiscent of one embracing both life and home,” others mocked the design’s resemblance with Airbnb’s logo. “Why am I thinking of AIR BNB every time I see the new logo?” Facebook user asked the question. Another user wrote, “Air B&B called and said they wanted their logo back.”

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2. April 19: Sears Sues Former CEO Eddie Lampert and Others for alleged ‘Theft’ of Billions

Sears filed a suit against Eddie Lampert, its former CEO, and several of its prominent past board members for allegedly taking billions from the retailer. After years of losses, Sears Holdings filed bankruptcy in October 2018 after Lampert was its CEO, chairman and largest shareholder.

3. May 23rd: Nordstrom Reduces Direct Mail Program and Loses Sales

Nordstrom reduced its full-year profit and sales forecast in May after reporting lower-than-expected first quarter results. This was partly due to ‘s decision to stop using direct mail as a means of promoting its loyalty program. Yahoo Finance reports that Erik Nordstrom, the co-president of Nordstrom, stated on a conference call after earnings that the company had stopped mailing rewards “notes,” to loyalty customers in order to make the program more accessible online. Nordstrom stated that this change caused a decrease in foot traffic to all its stores. Many customers depend on receiving their rewards via mail. Erik Nordstrom stated that “We are making the changes we believe necessary to drive our top-line as we continue to focus our aggressively on expenses.” According to the company, trends from the fourth quarter were carried over into the first quarter. It also stated that promotions had to be increased to clear out excess stock from its winter collection.

4. April 5, Sears opens stores Yes, That’s Right

Sears in April announced that it would open stores again. , the department store chain that had closed hundreds upon scores of Sears and Kmart stores over the years, announced it would be opening three “Sears Home & Life” stores in May.

5. September 11th: Sugarfina files for bankruptcy, closing 6 stores immediately reports that Sugarfina, a high-end candy retailer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on September. Six of its 44 boutique shops were immediately closed. According to the brand, shifts in retail, uncertainty in international partnerships and difficulties in controlling margins are reasons why it is not profitable.


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