Despite wide-ranging and fast-moving changes, the retail industry is still getting used to living in an eCommerce-dominated world. The same goes for consumers as they figure out which new paths to purchase fit in best with their purchasing habits.
According to a study conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the buying public is moving toward click-and-collect as its preferred omnichannel shopping method.
Through a representative sample of more than 1,000 consumers, ICSC found that 32 percent of holiday shoppers utilized click-and-collect fulfillment options this past season. While some retailers might take this as yet another sign of eCommerce encroaching on the brick-and-mortar world, further analysis shows that click-and-collect might be better understood as a complimentary shopping behavior. Of the 32 percent who utilized click-and-collect options, 69 percent made additional purchases from stores when picking up their original purchases.
Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC, believes that the data proves how eCommerce and physical retail are figuring out how to work together for the benefit of all parties.
“Looking back at the holiday season, the major trend that emerged is the prevalence of the omnichannel consumer and the resulting convergence among brick-and-mortar and digital retail,” McGee said in a statement. “The story of bricks versus clicks is an old one. The story is now one of a shopper getting the best of both worlds, using online research and capabilities to inform physical purchases. The American consumer has sent a clear message that the physical store remains at the epicenter of the shopping experience.”
While many consumers might have moved toward a more omnichannel shopping stance this holiday shopping season, The Washington Post reported that there were plenty of growing pains, including low inventory, overworked in-store employees and, most telling of all, frustrated customers.
“The idea of ‘buy online, pick up in store’ is a great idea,” Steve Barr, sector leader for retail and consumers at PricewaterhouseCoopers, told the Post. “But today, it’s more aspirational than it is achievable.”