The biggest way shopping changed this year combined the best parts of online and in-store

  • Retailers are increasingly marrying their online shopping offerings and their in-store experience.
  • Buy-online, pickup-in-store programs have proliferated, with big stores like Target, Whole Foods, and Walmart greatly expanding their offerings.
  • Customers are taking notice as well, with buy-online-pickup-in-store sales rising dramatically this holiday season compared to last year.

Buying online increasingly does not automatically mean a package will be shipped to you.

Retailers like Walmart,Target, and Whole Foods are increasingly ramping up their buy-online, pickup-in-store programs. From fresh items like grocery staples to electronics, stores are giving customers options when it comes to how they want to get their purchase.

In fact, over 30 nationwide retailers now offer the option on their website. Target has revamped its offering this year, renaming it Drive-Up and expanding it to more markets.

And customers are taking notice. For the holiday season, Adobe Analytics estimates that as of December 20th, buy-online, pickup-in-store purchases were up over 47% over the same period last year.

The added convenience of getting the item within hours and not having to trek through the store to find it were likely factors in that bump.

But it’s not just holiday gift giving where buy-online, pickup-in-store makes sense. Grocery pickup is increasingly becoming the customers get fresh food. Walmart’s Grocery pickup business has become a jewel in Walmart’s online crown.


Read more:
Nike and Whole Foods are following Walmart’s lead and signalling a new era for online shopping

“We believe Walmart could reach 17% online grocery market share by 2025,” Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Trussell said, based off the back of its strong grocery pickup business. Right now, Amazon holds the crown of top online grocer, but Walmart is on track to beat that, in large part owing to grocery pickup proliferation.

Walmart will have 2,140 grocery pickup sites by the end of January which would make it accessible for 69% of households in the US.

Walmart CFO Brett Biggs told Reuters that the service is bringing in new customers and contributed to the 40% e-commerce growth the retailer posted in August.

To compete, Whole Foods launched its own pickup services through Amazon‘s Prime Now service, which is rapidly expanding, but is currently in far fewer locations.

Buying online but picking up in-store is not only quicker for customers to get their stuff, but it’s far cheaper for retailers as they will not have to fulfil the order through a warehouse. Expect to see retailers making the most of it as online shopping and in-person shopping increasingly merge.

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