Omnichannel retailing means meeting shoppers' expectations in their channel of choice, digital or physical. But more retailers are breaking out of their molds and experimenting with new models, including using stores as pickup-only locations, online retailers embracing brick-and-mortar and traditional brands trying subscription commerce.
Here are three areas in which retailers are expanding the business models they were founded upon.
Walmart, a traditional big box store, has already experimented with automated grocery kiosks and is now proposing using a 41,700 square foot former Dominick’s store in the Chicago area as a warehouse and pickup-only facility. The new model, called Walmart Pickup, will use the physical space for inventory to supply home deliveries and 24 stalls where customers can drive-up and have groceries loaded into their cars. According to Supermarket News, Walmart estimates 1,960 trips daily when the nonshoppable store opens in spring 2019.
Amazon opened two drive-thru grocery locations in Seattle last year and in August debuted a Prime Now service for Whole Foods shoppers to drive up and get groceries in select markets.
Most US grocery buyers still shop the old-fashioned way, but according to Market Force Information digital orders obtained at a drive-thru has gained popularity since 2016 and nearly an equal number of shoppers have purchased groceries in that way this year (9%) as those who've ordered online for delivery (10%).
Digital Natives Expand
Following an opposite trend, Amazon—once ecommerce-only—has been expanding its physical footprint with last year's Whole Foods acquisition, opening a chain of bookstores, Amazon Go convenience stores, and last week opening an Amazon 4-Star store in NYC selling top-rated items.
Digitally native retailers expanding offline isn't a wholly new trend—Warby Parker did it in 2013—but it's becoming more common, especially among clothing brands where shoppers like to see items in person.