News Feature | May 5, 2017

Walmart's Pickup Discount May Be The Wave Of The Future

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer


Report reveals the rising popularity of click and collect.

Walmart recently announced that they will be launching “Pickup Discount,” a new feature to their ecommerce site that will lower the prices on online-only items if the customer chooses to pick up at a local store instead of opting for shipping. This latest move demonstrates the retail giant’s determination to best its online competitor, Amazon, but it is also indicative of the future of retail, according to the results of a new study from Walker Sands.

As technology improves, its capabilities are inching closer to meeting consumer expectations for a seamless digital shopping experience. Retailers will have to meet those expectations to stay competitive, according to Ed Kennedy, director of commerce at Episerver, a cloud-based platform that smartly manages content and commerce.

According to Walker Sands 2016 Future of Retail report, more than half (51 percent) of consumers say they have placed an order online and picked it up in store, which speaks to the rising popularity of click and collect. Walmart is well on its way to building out their omnichannel offerings and making the purchase process as seamless as possible.

The report also found that 31 percent of consumers report shopping online at least once a week, an increase of 41 percent from two years ago. And while just 9 percent say they have used same-day shipping in the past year, 49 percent said that the option would make them shop more online if it were offered more frequently.

The Walker Sands report underscores the fact that the future of retail has not plateaued, but that it  is currently experiencing “an investment and adoption phase during which retailers’ practices and consumer behavior hasn’t caught up with technology.” The results demonstrate the growing important of the supply chain, with more and more retailers using brick-and-mortar stores to help facilitate fulfillment of online orders. And 29 percent of capital expenditures last year were allocated towards transportation and logistics, delivery options, order management, inventory visibility, and returns management. But even as retailers are moving to improve their online presence and facilitate fulfillment, the report also demonstrates that consumers still have a marked preference to shop in physical stores for most product categories, even as they are open to the blending of online and brick-and-mortar experiences.

A survey of retail and consumer goods CEOS conducted by PwC and JDA Software found that just 19 percent of the top 250 retailers are able to fulfill omnichannel demand profitably, faced by transportation and logistics challenges like shipping, delivery, and returns. That explains why 71 percent of the execs surveyed in that study cited omnichannel fulfillments as a top or high priority for future investment.

The Walkers Sands study demonstrates why supply chain and logistics technology is so crucial for retailers. This area of focus is one that will make or break retailers in the future, particularly as emerging tech like drones influence and raise consumer expectations even more.