Barnes & Noble pioneered the concept of online orders shipped to brick-and-mortar stores for customer pickup. In Marketing by the Numbers, Leland Harden and Bob Heyman present a case study on another successful "ship-to-store" program: Ace Hardware's.

"When a customer selects ship-to-store service," they explain, "orders are fulfilled out of the warehouse for shipping to the local Ace—at no charge."

According to Ace eCommerce Marketing Supervisor, Mark Lowe, ship-to-store is a wildly popular option: online shoppers choose in-store pickups 73 percent of the time. It's not hard to see why:

  • The absence of shipping charges means substantial savings on larger items like grills and table saws, and thus lowers barrier of entry to high-priced purchases.
  • With once- or twice-weekly shipments from the warehouse, delivery times can rival those of UPS shipments sent straight to a customer's house.

Stores, meanwhile, appreciate that 33 percent of customers who pick up an online purchase also buy other items during their visits.

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