Will alternate package pickup points take off?

Less than six months after implementing buy online, pick up anywhere, more than 16% of PerryEllis.com’s orders are fulfilled with this option, says Jay Nigrelli, senior vice president of ecommerce at fashion brand Perry Ellis International.

This is a win for the brand, Nigrelli says, as shoppers can choose a fulfillment option that’s convenient to them, and Perry Ellis saves money on some of its fulfillment costs.

The omnichannel service allows Perry Ellis ecommerce shoppers to select a physical location near to them — such as a Walgreens store or FedEx location, among others — to retrieve their online orders.

Shoppers get the benefit of picking up the item when and where they want, instead of waiting at home for an order or risking a criminal stealing the package from their doorstep. Plus, Perry Ellis offers shipping to an alternate pickup point at a dollar less, at $9.99, compared with shipping direct to a shopper’s home, which costs $10.99.

For Perry Ellis, adding the service did not increase its conversion rate or skyrocket its Net Promoter Score, a widely used measure of online shopper satisfaction. But shopper adoption and feedback has been positive and fewer customer complain of stolen packages, Nigrelli says. And even better — shipping an item to a retail location such as a drugstore is $2 to $3 cheaper than shipping to a shopper’s home, as it avoids last-mile carrier fees, he says.

“The greatest KPI is the cost savings,” Nigrelli says.

The service also appears popular among at least a segment of online shoppers. 11% of shoppers say they’ve ordered online for store pickup at a location other than the store of purchase, according to a Digital Commerce 360/Bizrate Insights consumer survey of 1,132 online shoppers in February 2023.

While package pickup at lockers was among the first flavors of this, more online retailers are allowing their ecommerce shoppers to pick up packages at other merchants, like Walgreens, Dollar General and CVS; at shipping carrier locations, including FedEx and UPS; and at other locations such as restaurants and small businesses.

And this service isn’t just for online-only brands that want to offer a physical location for package pickup. Sizeable retail chains including Best Buy Co. Inc., Abercrombie and Fitch Co., and Urban Outfitters Inc. offer alternate pickup points for online orders, to possibly give shoppers a closer and more convenient option. In addition to offer customer convenience, the service is helping some retailers curb package theft, as the packages are shipped to a secure location.

Despite its benefits and the fact that online retailers have had this option for several years, only a small percentage of retailers are using or testing this feature. Neither FedEx nor Ups would reveal how many of its retailer clients allow shoppers to ship their packages to alternate locations. A key question for each retailer to consider with this program is whether the cost of the service generates sufficient return on investment in the form of lower shipping costs, fewer complaints about package theft or increased customer satisfaction.

Supplement Warehouse works to decrease reshipments

For online supplement store Supplement Warehouse the motivation to test alternative delivery locations is to address the growing and expensive problem of “reshipments,” says marketing director Jeff Moriarty. This is when the online retailer needs to reship a package to a customer because he called to complain either the package never arrived, was stolen or the product was damaged during shipment.

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