My Site-to-Store Delivery Experience
Although it's been a while since last Thanksgiving, I had the pleasure of ordering an Xbox online at that time and thought the whole learning exercise would be worth sharing with you.
I was on the lookout for an Xbox 360 and had been checking out all the Black Friday sales ads — online and in print — hoping that someone would have a great deal. As usual, I kept checking all the price-shopping Web sites along with a number of retailers’ Web sites to see who had the best possible deal at the best price. Lo and behold, it turned out to be Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart happened to have the best deal available on Thursday, Nov. 27. After many hours of research, I decided to jump in and make the purchase on Thanksgiving morning. Wal-Mart's site offered a bundled package for the Xbox — it wasn't unique to see a bundled package, but it was unique in that Wal-Mart allowed you to select the components in the bundled package: assorted consoles, controllers and games.
Everything went well with the purchase on the site, so then I decided to give Wal-Mart’s “Site-to-Store” option a shot. Order online, have your order shipped to the nearest store for pickup and pay no shipping charges. Sounded good to me, so I gave it a whirl.
I identified my local Wal-Mart store during the checkout process. Then immediately after placing the order, I received a confirmation for the four items I ordered in the bundle, each with an expected in-store date between Dec. 9 and Dec. 15. Comfortable, off I went to eat Thanksgiving turkey.
An e-mail arrived on Dec. 3 stating that three of the four items had arrived in the store. The e-mail contained the instructions for pickup: Simply print the e-mail containing the order barcode, find the Site-to-Store pickup area in Wal-Mart, show ID and that’s it. So off to Wal-Mart I went on Friday, Dec. 5. The instructions also noted that most of the Site-to-Store pickup areas are located in the rear of the store and, sure enough, that's exactly where it was.
The person working the register took my printed e-mail, asked for ID and promptly went back to find the order. Within a minute he was back, the order was scanned and I was out the door with my three items, receipt in hand (not bad considering I’m usually the one who picks the slowest moving line with the slowest moving associate). The next day I received an e-mail confirming that the items had been picked up.
On Monday, Dec. 8, I received an e-mail for the fourth item. This time, I used the option to identify another person for pickup. The next day that person picked up the last item without any issues. That Wednesday, I received an e-mail confirming that the last item had been picked up. All in all, it was a great experience.
When I picked up the three items, I asked the associate if many people were using the Ship-to-Store program. The response was, “Oh my goodness, don’t you see all the product lying around here? We're out of storage space in the back of the store and don’t have anywhere else to put things. I don’t know what we're going to do. There have been a lot of people using the Ship-to-Store option.” Judging from the number of orders that were there, it certainly looked like many people were using the service.
From my vantage point, the process worked extremely well, was easy to use and didn’t cost anything for shipping. What’s your experience?
Joseph (Tocky) Lawrence is vice president of F. Curtis Barry & Co., a multichannel operations and fulfillment consulting firm with expertise in multichannel systems, warehouse, call center, inventory and benchmarking. Learn more online at www.fcbco.com.