TECHNOLOGY

CSA Q&A: Tractor Supply CIO talks about success with BOPIS

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

For Tractor Supply Company, buy-online-pickup-in-store is proving a win-win, for both itself and its customers.

With more than 1,600 stores in 49 states, Tractor Supply is the nation's largest operator of stores dedicated to a rural lifestyle. Online and offline, it offers a wide range of merchandise, from welders and generators to an-imal care products to men and women's workwear. Stores are typically located in towns outlying major metropolitan markets and in rural com-munities.

Similar to consumers everywhere, Tractor Supply customers increasingly expect a seamless shopping experience, as well as the most convenient way to browse for and buy merchandise. The retailer is delivering on those demands and more with its BOPIS program. What's more, the pro-gram is providing Tractor Supply with a good upsell in its stores, increas-ing basket sizes and average order size.

Rob Mills, the retailer’s CIO, shared his thoughts about the program — and results — with Chain Store Age.

How did BOPIS become a priority for Tractor Supply Company?

Our customer base values high quality product, merchandise availability and in-store customer service when making a purchase. Besides offering a high level of expertise, we also want to give them a convenient, quick and easy shopping experience. BOPIS fits this criteria.

Our customers can be shop owners or individual customers, and they may not always live very close to a store. So before they drive to a store, it is important for them to know merchandise is in stock.

After discussing the opportunity with our customers, we launched a pilot in a small region among 70 stores in October. Our goal was to understand capabilities and processes in store and learn from our customer experi-ences and expectations. These results helped us fine-tune the program, and we continued rolling it out chain wide. As of May, all of our 1,620 stores now offer BOPIS.

What makes your program unique?

We are one of the few companies in our segment that offers a modern-ized, integrated BOPIS service. Leveraging our cloud-based e-commerce platform, we created a new digital interface for our website and mobile sites, and then redesigned these user experiences to be more responsive.

Lastly, we integrated our inventory systems into the new platform as well as store-level. Now we can share available inventory and communicate with our customers throughout the ordering process.

How does the service work?

As digital customers add merchandise to their online shopping cart, the product page reveals if the item is available in-store, if it has to be shipped to the store, or if it qualifies for BOPIS. If it is eligible for in-store pickup, shoppers select their preferred store, confirm that inventory is still available, identify who will pick up the order, and then checkout.

From there, shoppers receive notifications to keep them abreast of the or-der. After receiving an email thanking them for placing an order, they will receive an order confirmation within two hours, and a final email con-firming the order is ready for pick-up.

In-store signage directs shoppers to customer service, where an online or-der pickup team member confirms their identity, retrieves the order and even educates the shopper on how to use the product. Following the pick-up, we send another email thanking them for their order, and invite them to share their experience via a link to a survey or social media.

What have early results revealed?

To date, between 50% and 60% of our online volume is being picked up in store. Some of that was driven by holiday promotions or seasonal needs, but BOPIS is still driving a big chunk of our e-commerce volume.

We also see the service increasing our basket sizes and average order val-ue. Shoppers will walk into store to pick up their order, then add another item. It is definitely a good upsell and cross-sell opportunity for us.

BOPIS shoppers are also making purchases across all four walls and all key categories, and the item size varies from trailers and tractor mowers to small parts for repairs. Orders are well across the board.

What's next?

Being a “test and learn” organization, we are constantly trying new capa-bilities. We also rely on customer feedback to drive results and evaluate services. We will continue to try different things, but our focus remains on driving more convenience for the customer.

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TECHNOLOGY

Nike in pilot with online giant

BY Marianne Wilson

Nike is opening up shop on Amazon.

The sportswear giant has entered into a pilot program with the online giant to sell a limited (at least initially) selection of footwear, apparel, and accessories on the online site. Nike products have long been available on Amazon, but only through unauthorized third party sellers. This will be the first time that Nike has sold directly on the Amazon.

“We’re looking for ways to improve the Nike consumer experience on Amazon by elevating the way the brand is presented and increasing the quality of product storytelling,” Nike CEO Mark Parker said on the company's quarterly call.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the main reason Nike has decided to sell on Amazon is to give it more leverage to crack on the third-party sellers who are reselling Nike products on the online site. By some estimates, Nike is the most purchased apparel brand on Amazon.

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L.Jensen says:
Jul-03-2017 01:32 pm

Cannot beat them, think joining the parade will fix it. Not likely. Amazon has no incentive to stop the counterfeits. They make % on every sale, they get it whether legit or not .

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TECHNOLOGY

Amazon taking Prime Day to a new level

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon is upping the ante on Prime Day — giving consumers even more time to shop.

The third annual sales event is officially set for Tuesday, July 11. This year, however, the sale will span 30 hours, with the first deals rolling out every five minutes starting at 9 pm EST on Monday, July 10.

In addition to extending the duration of Prime Day, Amazon is also expanding the breadth of this year’s event by going global with its deals. Along with the U.S., shoppers in 12 countries will be able to participate. The United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico, to Spain, Japan, Italy, India, Germany, France, China, Canada, Belgium and Austria are all in on the event.

Amazon is also making efforts to personalize this year’s experience. Deals will organized by more than 20 of the most-shopped-for themes, including categories such as pet lovers, gardeners, techies and artists, among others – a move that will make it easier for Prime members to find merchandise. Customers will also have access to Alexa-exclusive deals, available to members with an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Amazon Tap, compatible Fire TV or Fire tablet.

The retailer is also already teasing special promotions to its shoppers in the market for televisions. While the online giant isn’t getting specific, it promised there will be “"amazing" deals on a "variety" of television brands — including the Amazon Fire TV edition of the ultra high-definition Element 4K TV.

To further whet shoppers’ appetites before the big day, starting on Thursday, June 29, Amazon is offering Prime members a couple of early-bird deals. These include a four-month subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited for $0.99; 40% off of a Kindle Unlimited membership, and a 40% discount on a six-month Audible membership — which will cost shoppers $8.95 per month.

According to Amazon, the company is preparing to have “hundreds of thousands” of deals, and millions of items available in stock for a record number of shoppers — including deals from thousands of small businesses and entrepreneurs. In fact, nearly 40% of all Prime Day "lightning deals" will be offered by small businesses and entrepreneurs selling on Amazon’s marketplace.

For example, Amazon’s inaugural event, which was created as a way to reward its Amazon Prime subscribers, generated better sales than the company’s previous year's Black Friday. And momentum increased even further in 2016.

During Prime Day 2016, customer orders surpassed the first shopping event by more than 60% worldwide and more than 50% in the U.S. It was also the biggest day ever for Amazon devices globally. Prime mem-bers across the globe also saved more than double on deals over Prime Day 2015, the online giant said last year.

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