Sorry – Not Available
“Sorry, the device you’d like to have is currently not in stock. It is already ordered, and you can pick it up within the next 5 to 10 days.” This is a sentence I hear way too often as I am currently working a few days per week in a customer electronics retail store.
So, there is a customer who apparently came into the local shop to buy and take home the device he wants. It’s already bad that the desired good is not in stock. However, the last thing he wants to hear is that the delivery time is several days and – even worse – that he has to pick up the device in the store.
Now, the customer is going home with a bad customer experience, and without the product, he intended to buy. Now you can answer the following question yourself: Is it likely that this customer will return to the store for his next purchase or will he prefer to order everything online the next time?
Instant Delivery and Availability in Retail Stores
There are still many advantages when shopping locally versus online. You can have a first-hand look at different goods; you can compare them, touch them, and get the first experience of how various devices distinguish between each other. However, retail stores must make sure that all goods are available on-site. If a customer explicitly visits a store to shop a device, he must be sure that he can take it home. The way consumer electronic stores or any other retail store can compete with Amazon and Alibaba is availability and instant delivery.
Here is the idea:
It must be confident that all goods are locally available on-site so the customer can take home his purchase at the same time if desired. This is apparently no new idea. The concept which needs immediate change is the concept of instant delivery. Consumer electronic stores like Media Markt or Best Buy need to build and maintain a delivery network which allows the following:
1. Same day delivery of goods which are too big to carry for no extra charge.
2. Next day delivery of every single item in the store.
If a customer wants to buy a TV, the store has to ensure a same day delivery of the TV for no extra charge. This is a competitive advantage as it eliminates an unnecessary burden for the customer – transportation – while still allowing them to experience the newly bought device on the same day.
All other items, which the customer does not want to carry home that day or items which are currently out of stock should be delivered home within 24 hours of purchase. Retail stores can utilize their network of other outlets, warehouses, or even their suppliers to ship the item within the next three hours to ensure a next day delivery.
Retail stores might adopt their current structures to achieve an instant availability and delivery. However, if they fail to do so, they will suffer a much more significant risk: to lose customers who will prefer ordering online, where products are available and delivered within 24 hours.
When there is one thing retail stores have to respect, then it is the time of their customers. Retail stores and their managers must ensure their customers don’t waste or lose their time when choosing to shop locally.