Sears introduces “Reserve It”, a new spin on cross-channel fulfillment
The omnichannel revolution has turned into an arms race among many merchants, with retailers implementing numerous multichannel order management features designed to connect the online and offline shopping experience.
Sears is the latest to begin offering more seamless shopping capabilities. The company recently announced a new service called “Reserve It,” which is a free offering that allows shoppers to pick out apparel and footwear items online that are available in nearby stores and put them on hold, where people can go try them on.
“Reserve It combines the digital world of ecommerce with in-store shopping – including the ability to touch, feel and try on clothes and footwear – to streamline and personalize the experience for our members like never before,” said Leena Munjal, vice president of Sears Holdings.
Reserve It is a play on the popular in-store pickup option that has become commonplace in recent years, except this allows customers to actually check products out before committing to purchases. This is particularly important when it comes to clothing, as people may not know which size they are or how clothes, footwear and other apparel items will fit until they try them on.
This is only the latest omnichannel offering Sears has made. The company also introduced a curbside option for online shoppers using in-store pickup. This takes in-store pickup to the next level, as customers do not even have to step foot outside their cars to get their items. This is perfect for the upcoming holiday shopping season, as customers do not have to look for parking spots in retail store lots.
Offering new omnichannel features is no easy task
However, in order to offer these features, retailers must have excellent inventory management and order fulfillment solutions in place. No merchant ever wants to be in a position in which it is not sure how much inventory it has in stock and then sell (or in this case, reserve) items it does not actually have for customers. This starts with full transparency over stock levels throughout all channels in real-time.
Order fulfillment is an equally important part of these omnichannel functions. Merchants need to process these purchases (or reservations) quickly to ensure they are ready for customers by the time they get to stores, or retailers may wind up with impatient and annoyed customers.