Whether it’s a last-minute birthday gift or those final few holiday presents, customers who want to collect an item within the hour are likely to already be strapped for time. But sorting through endless products on a screen is less than ideal. U.K. retailer Next has raised the bar for fast fulfillment by introducing a free one-hour store collection offering.
Holidays in mind, the tactic was strategically launched last November to capitalize on the millions of pounds spent during the procrastinators’ Christmas shopping rush. Following its release, the feature was highlighted as “new” on product pages to call hasty shoppers’ attention to it and has since been updated to incorporate a pop-up box that provides a snapshot of the service, according to Gartner L2’s recent omnichannel report.
To further educate customers, Next has dedicated a page on its site to explain how the one-hour store pickup service works. Although the service isn’t promoted above the fold on its homepage, Next uses that prominent space to push its free next-day ship-to-store offering. On product pages, items available for one-hour pickup are clearly marked as such. Using the pop-up store finder, customers can then choose a convenient collection point. Next also allows shoppers to check out with items in the basket set for pickup at multiple locations or designated for delivery. This plays to consumers’ demand for speed and convenience while creating a point of differentiation as compared to other brands.
Procrastination might be a bane to consumers, but Next’s initiative proves that it can be a boon for brands. Allowing shoppers to filter category pages by items available for one-hour pickup would enhance any brand’s offering, making products look that much more appealing. Additionally, the filter function would help to accelerate the online shopping process overall. And yet, only two analyzed brands in the U.K. have implemented this feature, highlighting the universal gap across multiple sectors and the vast opportunity for development.