Circuit City Stores this week launched a guarantee that anything ordered online or through its call center will be ready to pick up in a local store in 24 minutes. If not, the customer will receive a $24 Circuit City gift card.

 

Circuit City Stores Inc. is raising the bar for buy-online, pick-up-in-the-store service. This week it launched a guarantee that anything ordered online or through its call center will be ready to pick up in a local store in 24 minutes. If not, the customer will receive a $24 Circuit City gift card.

The clock on the 24 minutes starts ticking at the time of the date stamp on the confirming e-mail.

“Many of our customers have enjoyed the convenience of buying products online and picking them up in our nearby stores,” said Fiona Dias, Circuit City`s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “Circuit City pioneered in-store pickup for web purchases and this guarantee takes our customer service promise to the next level. We know shoppers are especially busy during the holidays and they need to be able to count on prompt service.”

Circuit City, No. 16 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, has included some notable exceptions to the policy-it’s not available the day after Thanksgiving or the two days after Christmas. The 24 minutes also does not include the time customers spend in the store waiting in line. The guarantee requires a purchase of at least $25.

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Circuit City has offered in-store pickup as an option for online customers since July 1999, when the company launched CircuitCity.com.

Circuit City’s approach is a definite plus for both the retailer and the customer, says Lauren Freedman, president of Chicago-based consultants The E-Tailing Group Inc., which has conducted extensive studies of pick-up-in-store programs. “Offering that level of commitment through a guarantee makes the in-store pickup an even greater convenience for customers,” Freedman says. “It`s a win-win for merchants as well given that once customers are in the store, they are highly likely to make additional purchases.”

 

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