Retailers Nudge Consumers With Cash to Try Pickup Instead of Delivery

curbside pickup

In a trend that resembles the popular 1970s “Try it, You’ll Like It” ad for Alka Seltzer, U.S. retailers are starting to incentivize customers with cash to get them to try digital shopping features like curbside pickup and buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS).

It’s a move that’s not only aimed at nurturing new consumer habits and loyalty through convenience but one that is also designed to save retailers money on spiraling delivery costs at a time of record fuel prices and rising labor costs.

“Order Online, choose the size and color of the item you want, and [get] 10% Off When You Pick Up In Store,” reads a current offer from apparel retailer PacSun.

In the pharmacy category, Rite Aid is offering customers $10 off a $40 order when they buy online and pickup at store.

Perhaps most aggressive of all is Domino’s Pizza, an early adopter of the outsourced delivery trend since January that the company has reframed as “Carryout Tips” — as in, consumers tipping themselves $3 rather than a delivery driver.

Even Walmart is getting in on the incentives game, albeit on an even broader basis, by offering customers $30 ($10 of their first 3 orders) for trying the retailer’s pickup or delivery service, a move that is part of the Arkansas-based chain’s increasing effort to use its 4,700 domestic super centers as fulfillment hubs.

Walmart ad

“The store is becoming a shoppable fulfillment center,” Walmart’s newly hired U.S. Chief eCommerce Officer Tom Ward said earlier this month. “If the store acts like the fulfillment center, we can send those items the shortest distance in the fastest time,” Ward added.

A Win-Win

To be sure, the latest curbside pickup shift marks a continuation and maturation of a trend that was born of necessity during the peak days of pandemic lockdowns. While stores have reopened and mask mandates have been dropped, the latest efforts by retailers to boost usage of mobile-first and cross-channel selling models are being driven by a completely different set of circumstances that meet the current needs of consumers and merchants.

At the core of this new and emerging win-win scenario is growing evidence that these time-saving digital steps are saving consumers time and money, while also driving greater loyalty and additional revenue for retailers from customers who buy additional items when they arrive at a store to pick up their online orders. 

chart, how consumers receive online purchasesAccording to the U.S. Edition of the 2022 Global Digital Shopping Playbook, a PYMNTS and Cybersource collaboration that surveyed 13,000 consumers and 3,100 businesses in six countries, the increase in curbside and in-store pickup is especially notable in the U.S., where users were shown to be four times as likely to use those features than their counterparts around the world.

In addition, the research showed that the boost in sales that retailers experienced, have made the offering of cohesive and connected pickup features a necessity, rather than an option, for a growing number of retailers.

chart, US merchants feature offeringsNot only do 11% of U.S. consumers pick up their online orders on location, but 47% of those who do wind up making additional in-store purchases either often or every time they pick up an eCommerce purchase in-store, the report found.

“It is emblematic of an American shopping trend: a robust and rapidly increasing appetite for on-site pickup options,” the study concluded, while also noting that 65% of merchants had now embraced the trend and opportunity it holds.

“By allowing consumers to order online for curbside pickup or providing apps that consumers can use to navigate stores, can go a long way in making shoppers’ retail journeys more seamless,” the global survey revealed.