The craft supplies retailer began testing out the offering during the third quarter last year.

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores is the latest retail chain that aims to drive online shoppers into its stores by offering a buy online, pick up in store option.

Chris DiTullio, senior vice president of marketing and omnichannel, says the craft supplies retailer began testing the offering during the third quarter of 2016 before rolling it out to all 860 of the retailer’s locations in late March. The pick up in store option is free to online shoppers. Jo-Ann is No. 291 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide.

“It is not a retail secret that the more channels you can successfully engage a customer in, the greater percent of their total category spend will come your way,” DiTullio says. “At Jo-Ann, we do see benefits of converting shoppers online and in-store and will continue to provide more shopping options.”

Jo-Ann does not have a separate area in each store designated for online order pickup. Instead, all online orders for store pickup are held at the main register area near the store entrance.

DiTullio says one of the keys to the success of the buy online, pick up in store service is store employees’ ability to make the pickup quick and easy for shoppers.

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“Shoppers typically choose to buy online, pick up in store when they are short on time,” he says. “If store employees fail to deliver on the promise of fast and easy fulfillment, the trust of customers is jeopardized.  We provide robust, ongoing training on both the systems required for buy online, pick up in store, along with the process for physically picking the products and distributing the orders.”

According to Internet Retailer estimates, Jo-Ann’s online sales were $84.4 million in 2015, up 11% from $76.0 million the previous year.

The privately held retail chain is the latest retailer to offer buy online, pick up in store, a service that offers consumers convenience while also driving foot traffic into stores.  According to Top500Guide.com, 74 out of 156 retail chains in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 offered in-store pickup of online orders, compared to 51 out of 155 chains the previous year.

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