Amazon is a traffic generating machine.
But for retailers and brands selling there, that machine has mostly benefited Amazon.
Imagine harnessing the reach and scope Amazon to drive traffic to your retail locations.
With Amazon’s Local Selling program, now you can.
Amazon is huge. Amazon claims nearly 40% of US ecommerce retail spending – bigger than its next 14 rivals combined. Its U.S. site gets more than 200 million unique visitors a month. More than 62% of the U.S. population are Prime members, actually paying Amazon for the privilege of shopping there with extra perks.
Now imagine all that traffic shopping in your store aisles (OK, not all at once, that would get crowded).
Amazon’s new Local Selling program is designed so you can you fulfill your Amazon orders from your store, fulfillment center or other local facilities. Using Local Selling, you can offer your customers the option of picking up their order or use local last-mile delivery services to drop off their order.
Consumer demand has made store pick up and local delivery one of the fastest growing categories of ecommerce fulfillment.
BOPIS is an acronym that stands for Buy Online, Pick Up in Store. Depending on the source, BOPIS can include click and collect; buy online, pickup at curb (BOPAC); or reserve online, pick up in store (ROPIS).
Alphabet soup aside, BOPIS, BOPAC, ROPIS are hugely popular. A recent study by Shopify showed that more than 50% of adult shoppers use some flavor of BOPIS, with 67% adding extra items to their carts when they can pick up their order immediately.
More importantly, consumers shopping online for instore pick-up don’t just add items to their online order, they also add additional items while in the store. Research by PYMNTS.com revealed that for consumers picking up their orders instore, 47% say they buy other items either often or every time they pick up an online purchase. Another 17% say they purchase additional items some of the time when picking up an online purchase.
So the advantages of the Amazon Local Selling program are clear:
- Amazon has traditionally considered anyone buying on the Amazon marketplace to be Amazon’s customers – and has prohibited sellers from marketing to those customers…even though they are actually buying from you through the Amazon platform. With Local Selling, those customers are coming into your store and you can continue building customer relationships with them.
- Chances are very good that those customers will add additional items to their order or pick up additional items while they are in your store. That boosts your revenue per order without paying additional marketplace fees.
- You’ll improve margins by eliminating shipping expenses on orders picked up in-store.
- You’ll Improve inventory utilization and ROI by making the same inventory available online and to retail shoppers. As will see, this entails some risk unless your inventory management software is up to the task.
Amazon Local Selling also provides the option of delivering orders locally.
If local delivery is a better fit, you can list products within the geographic area that you want to serve…even down to the zip code level. Customers outside the area you define will not see your product offer. You can deliver their products using your own trucks and vans or local third party delivery services.
Local delivery makes offering 1-2 day delivery affordable to customers living near your facilities. Or it can help offset the expense of shipping large, heavy, time-sensitive or delicate products that you wouldn’t be able to ship nationally but could offer on a local basis.
You can also add additional services such as product assembly, installation or hauling away the item the new product replaces. Making these services available may help tip the customer’s decision to you as a local supplier.
If you are interested in exploring Amazon’s new Local Selling option, here’s how the program works.
- You need to apply and be accepted to the Amazon Local Selling program. The program is not enabled through Seller Central, so you’ll need integration capabilities to enable the program using a direct API integration. Or you could simply use the Etail platform. which supports the Amazon Local Selling program.
- You’ll need to upload your product information, along with delivery service areas if you opt into local deliveries for products.
- Amazon search results will give shoppers a recommendation based on their “deliver to” location, distance to participating stores, speed of availability and price. Once customers land on the product page, they can toggle back and forth between the BOPIS and traditional delivery option.
- Once a BOPIS order is placed, customers receive a confirmation containing the standard order information plus store-specific information including the pick up location, hours and the estimated time that the order will be ready to pick up. When the store verifies that the order is ready, the customer is notified via email, text or in-app notification. Customers are guaranteed that the product will be held for five days from the time it was marked ready for pick-up.
- In-store pickup is available at no extra charge to Amazon customers or for Amazon sellers.
While a DIY approach to API integration may be an option for larger retailers and brands with IT resources, here are a couple of considerations that make the Etail integration option worth exploring.
Just because you have the IT resources to handle an Amazon API integration doesn’t mean you have the tools to successfully manage the program. Success at BOPIS is directly tied to inventory visibility. With BOPIS, you are promising the customer that the item they are purchasing is actually available for them to pick up. Attempting BOPIS without multi-location inventory visibility and management capabilities such has those found in the Etail platform is an invitation to customer disappointment (and eventual Amazon suspension).
Consider listing all the inventory stocked at store level in the Local Selling program. Some 74% of U.S. consumers begin their product searches on Amazon. You want them to end those searches in your store aisle. Creating new listings on Amazon can be a hassle. Etail’s Dynamic Automatching feature automatically matches UPCs and part numbers to Amazon listings so you can create thousands of high quality listings in hours or days, not weeks or months.
Not all of the items you may carry in your store can be listed on Amazon. Etail’s Dynamic Restrictions feature automatically audits your listings for marketplace restricted items and removes them. It also can block new listings from being created.
Turning local facilities into fulfillment centers for Amazon Local Selling orders often requires integrating with POS, ERP or other systems of record. Etail is designed to work with the systems you already have in place. Plus Etail offers “WMS light” fulfillment management capabilities like picking, labeling, carrier rate shopping and other “nuts and bolts” ecommerce fulfillment capabilities that your current WMS or store operations systems may lack.
Have questions about how Amazon Local Selling BOPIS fits with your ecommerce fulfillment strategy?
For more than a decade, Etail has partnered with Amazon to develop, test and introduce programs for brands and other large-volume, Amazon sellers. Reach out and we’ll be happy to help you explore the BOPIS process, its fit with your current systems, and the best way to work with Amazon to get started.