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预约购物火了,但它并不包治零售业的百病

预约购物火了,但它并不包治零售业的百病

王波非(Phil Wahba) 2020年06月09日
百思买首创的预约式购物目前已经在零售业里流行起来。

图片来源:GettyImages

最近这些日子,如果你想买一套新的家庭影院设备或是电冰箱,并且想让百思买的店员给你提供一些建议,你就得提前预约。

归功于电商平台和路边取货服务,即便是在美国各地防疫形势最严峻的时期,百思买也没有彻底停业。现在,它在全美的1000多家线下门店已经重新开放了,只不过百思买依然非常小心,目前只接受预约顾客到店购物,而且每人每次只限30分钟。每名顾客来店前,百思买的员工都会通过电话告知门店采取的安全措施,购物时也会有一名百思买的员工全程陪同。

百思买公司表示,对于一家电子产品零售企业来说,这种预约购物模式貌似很“高大上”,甚至还有点麻烦,不过考虑到百思买卖的都是价格不菲的高端电子产品,而且消费者到店后,说不定还会临时起意购买一些计划外的东西,因此预约购物模式还是很有必要推出的。

百思买的CEO科里•巴里近日对记者说:“顾客来这里享受这种服务的同时,也有了更多的时间问更多的问题,而我们的员工也提供了更丰富的解决方案。”

最近,为了推动线下门店重新开业,并且保持一个较高的销售额,同时又不让消费者为安全问题感到担心,百思买首创的预约式购物已经在零售业里流行起来。威廉姆斯-索诺玛(Williams-Sonoma)和西榆(West Elm)都要求顾客来店前必须预约,奇可思(Chico)则把预约购物作为一种选项。Tapestry集团旗下的蔻驰(Coach)和凯特丝蓓(Kate Spade)等品牌也在部分门店提供了预约购物服务。

预约购物并非一个全新概念。苹果的“天才吧”咨询服务就是需要预约的。年轻情侣们操办婚礼的时候,要想在梅西百货购买一应物品,也需要提前预约。甚至如果你想在尼曼百货(Neiman Marcus)买一套晚礼服,也是需要预约的。不过这次疫情给我们的生活带来了很多改变,预约式购物的流行就是其中之一。虽然这种劳动密集型的购物方式不太可能取代“即来即买”的普通到店购物模式,但它毕竟也为零售门店和购物者提供了更多选择。

纽约时尚技术学院的一位教授谢莉•科恩指出:“零售业最适合预约购物的,要么是非常复杂的商品,需要具有专业知识的销售人员进行讲解;要么就是价格很高的商品,这样消费者在购买的时候才会觉得物有所值。”

科恩表示,对女装品牌奇可思来说,这种预约购物的模式是奏效的,因为奇可思的顾客忠诚度比较高,顾客的平均年龄偏大,所以多年来,顾客基本上已经有了相对固定的销售人员为自己服务。但这种方法对另一个服装品牌Old Navy就行不通了,因为这个品牌的商品选择更多,同时员工流动也较为频繁。在奇可思,门店通常会事先与顾客取得联系,问她想买的是什么。在此基础上,门店会提前准备好几套衣服,并且放在试衣间里让顾客试穿。

这和诺德斯特龙在一些小城市开设的门店所使用的理念类似。近年来,诺德斯特龙在远离洛杉矶和纽约等主要市场的一些小城市开设了一些社区门店,既提供定制服务,用户也能以预约的方式,要求诺德斯特龙寄一些衣服来试穿。

虽然预约购物模式会影响客流量,但它对零售商来说还是有好处的。那些不嫌麻烦去预约的人,通常都有一个特定的需求急需满足,而且最终也更倾向于掏钱购买。

SW零售咨询公司的总裁斯泰西•威德利茨表示:“在实行预约购物模式后,零售门店的客流量会有所降低,但顾客的人均消费和销售转化率却会大大提高。”另外,预约购物对门店员工人数的要求也相对更低。

不过,预约购物模式由于存在一些“先天不足”,在防疫隔离措施逐步解除后,它的应用可能也不会太广泛。毕竟,这种模式从设计上就是为了减少顾客的到店人数。而零售业全凭“走量”和“快进快出”赚钱,对大型零售场所来说更是如此。

威廉姆斯-索诺玛公司的CEO劳拉•阿尔伯最近向投资者坦陈:“随着严格的隔离措施的出台,对消费者的人数限制,将继续制约我们的门店销量。”目前,该公司的战略是尽可能地节约成本,同时尽可能确保公司品牌在消费者心目中的前沿和核心地位。

阻力点

尽管预约购物模式有种种好处,但对于沃尔玛、塔吉特百货或者家得宝这种门店面积动辄达到10余万平方英尺、在售商品有成千上万种的大型商超,还是不要指望他们能搞预约购物了。纽约时尚技术学院的教授谢莉•科恩说:“一旦在售商品太多了,预约购物在后勤上就不再具备可行性。”

阿尔伯表示,威廉姆斯-索诺玛的门店远远没有沃尔玛那么大,也没有沃尔玛那么多种类和数量的商品,也正是由于这个原因,预约购物模式才更具有可行性。“我们的业务与那些需要大量客流量的其他零售企业是不同的。”不过她也承认,如果到了节假日等销售旺季,要是到时线下业务还是要依赖预约购物模式,那么各个门店将会感到相当痛苦。

分析人士们认为,对于一家零售商来说,客流量为王的理念永不过时,一旦疫情得到控制,预约购物将只能作为一种补充手段,而不能取代“即来即买”的传统线下购物模式。百思买的CEO巴里则表示,即便该公司的所有门店全部恢复正常营业了,它的预约购物模式也会继续实行下去。

要想让预约购物模式起到效果,零售商必须很擅长电子商务,并且拥有一款带有可靠的在线预约功能的移动APP。威廉姆斯-索诺玛公司就是如此。该公司还控股了西榆和陶瓷谷仓(Pottery Barn)两个零售品牌。它抵抗疫情风险的能力要显著好于多数零售企业。最近一个季度,尽管它的旗下门店也大面积地关闭了,但它的销售额基本保持平稳,这要归功于它强劲的电商业务。去年,该公司有一半的收入来自电商平台。百思买也同样是一个电商巨头。

另外,无论预约购物模式有多吸引人,它毕竟还是有一些“先天不足”,阻碍了它的进一步应用。

人们的很多购物行为本质上就是为了图个方便,或者是在闲逛和浏览网页的时候临时起意。预约购物的过程虽然愉快,但如果它成了唯一的选择,那么购物就成了义务,愉快就成了不快。另外,如果你在购物的过程中,有一名店员全程跟着你,说不定你还会感觉到一种“不买不行”的压力。再比如说,你去百思买本来是想咨询一套家庭影院设备的,购完物出来之后,你又想买了一个新的相机套。那么这时你是不是还得预约一次呢?又或者说,你发现你的车里缺一根充电的USB线,你是为了这根充电线单独预约一次,还是干脆去附近的沃尔玛甚至便利店里买一根呢?

咨询机构WSL战略零售公司的CEO温迪•利布曼说:“这确实是一个阻力点。如果我想买的东西是某种可以在网上买到的基础性产品,我不用亲自去摸、去试,那么我想,人们八成是不想通过预约去购物的。”

不过,在“后疫情时代”,随着越来越多的购物行为从线下转移到线上,预约购物作为一种新的购物模式,也必然会占有属于它的一席之地。利布曼表示:“这就像一种个性化的购物体验。”更何况在疫情爆发之前,零售商早就面临着改革线下门店购物体验的压力了。(财富中文网)

译者:隋远洙

最近这些日子,如果你想买一套新的家庭影院设备或是电冰箱,并且想让百思买的店员给你提供一些建议,你就得提前预约。

归功于电商平台和路边取货服务,即便是在美国各地防疫形势最严峻的时期,百思买也没有彻底停业。现在,它在全美的1000多家线下门店已经重新开放了,只不过百思买依然非常小心,目前只接受预约顾客到店购物,而且每人每次只限30分钟。每名顾客来店前,百思买的员工都会通过电话告知门店采取的安全措施,购物时也会有一名百思买的员工全程陪同。

百思买公司表示,对于一家电子产品零售企业来说,这种预约购物模式貌似很“高大上”,甚至还有点麻烦,不过考虑到百思买卖的都是价格不菲的高端电子产品,而且消费者到店后,说不定还会临时起意购买一些计划外的东西,因此预约购物模式还是很有必要推出的。

百思买的CEO科里•巴里近日对记者说:“顾客来这里享受这种服务的同时,也有了更多的时间问更多的问题,而我们的员工也提供了更丰富的解决方案。”

最近,为了推动线下门店重新开业,并且保持一个较高的销售额,同时又不让消费者为安全问题感到担心,百思买首创的预约式购物已经在零售业里流行起来。威廉姆斯-索诺玛(Williams-Sonoma)和西榆(West Elm)都要求顾客来店前必须预约,奇可思(Chico)则把预约购物作为一种选项。Tapestry集团旗下的蔻驰(Coach)和凯特丝蓓(Kate Spade)等品牌也在部分门店提供了预约购物服务。

预约购物并非一个全新概念。苹果的“天才吧”咨询服务就是需要预约的。年轻情侣们操办婚礼的时候,要想在梅西百货购买一应物品,也需要提前预约。甚至如果你想在尼曼百货(Neiman Marcus)买一套晚礼服,也是需要预约的。不过这次疫情给我们的生活带来了很多改变,预约式购物的流行就是其中之一。虽然这种劳动密集型的购物方式不太可能取代“即来即买”的普通到店购物模式,但它毕竟也为零售门店和购物者提供了更多选择。

纽约时尚技术学院的一位教授谢莉•科恩指出:“零售业最适合预约购物的,要么是非常复杂的商品,需要具有专业知识的销售人员进行讲解;要么就是价格很高的商品,这样消费者在购买的时候才会觉得物有所值。”

科恩表示,对女装品牌奇可思来说,这种预约购物的模式是奏效的,因为奇可思的顾客忠诚度比较高,顾客的平均年龄偏大,所以多年来,顾客基本上已经有了相对固定的销售人员为自己服务。但这种方法对另一个服装品牌Old Navy就行不通了,因为这个品牌的商品选择更多,同时员工流动也较为频繁。在奇可思,门店通常会事先与顾客取得联系,问她想买的是什么。在此基础上,门店会提前准备好几套衣服,并且放在试衣间里让顾客试穿。

这和诺德斯特龙在一些小城市开设的门店所使用的理念类似。近年来,诺德斯特龙在远离洛杉矶和纽约等主要市场的一些小城市开设了一些社区门店,既提供定制服务,用户也能以预约的方式,要求诺德斯特龙寄一些衣服来试穿。

虽然预约购物模式会影响客流量,但它对零售商来说还是有好处的。那些不嫌麻烦去预约的人,通常都有一个特定的需求急需满足,而且最终也更倾向于掏钱购买。

SW零售咨询公司的总裁斯泰西•威德利茨表示:“在实行预约购物模式后,零售门店的客流量会有所降低,但顾客的人均消费和销售转化率却会大大提高。”另外,预约购物对门店员工人数的要求也相对更低。

不过,预约购物模式由于存在一些“先天不足”,在防疫隔离措施逐步解除后,它的应用可能也不会太广泛。毕竟,这种模式从设计上就是为了减少顾客的到店人数。而零售业全凭“走量”和“快进快出”赚钱,对大型零售场所来说更是如此。

威廉姆斯-索诺玛公司的CEO劳拉•阿尔伯最近向投资者坦陈:“随着严格的隔离措施的出台,对消费者的人数限制,将继续制约我们的门店销量。”目前,该公司的战略是尽可能地节约成本,同时尽可能确保公司品牌在消费者心目中的前沿和核心地位。

阻力点

尽管预约购物模式有种种好处,但对于沃尔玛、塔吉特百货或者家得宝这种门店面积动辄达到10余万平方英尺、在售商品有成千上万种的大型商超,还是不要指望他们能搞预约购物了。纽约时尚技术学院的教授谢莉•科恩说:“一旦在售商品太多了,预约购物在后勤上就不再具备可行性。”

阿尔伯表示,威廉姆斯-索诺玛的门店远远没有沃尔玛那么大,也没有沃尔玛那么多种类和数量的商品,也正是由于这个原因,预约购物模式才更具有可行性。“我们的业务与那些需要大量客流量的其他零售企业是不同的。”不过她也承认,如果到了节假日等销售旺季,要是到时线下业务还是要依赖预约购物模式,那么各个门店将会感到相当痛苦。

分析人士们认为,对于一家零售商来说,客流量为王的理念永不过时,一旦疫情得到控制,预约购物将只能作为一种补充手段,而不能取代“即来即买”的传统线下购物模式。百思买的CEO巴里则表示,即便该公司的所有门店全部恢复正常营业了,它的预约购物模式也会继续实行下去。

要想让预约购物模式起到效果,零售商必须很擅长电子商务,并且拥有一款带有可靠的在线预约功能的移动APP。威廉姆斯-索诺玛公司就是如此。该公司还控股了西榆和陶瓷谷仓(Pottery Barn)两个零售品牌。它抵抗疫情风险的能力要显著好于多数零售企业。最近一个季度,尽管它的旗下门店也大面积地关闭了,但它的销售额基本保持平稳,这要归功于它强劲的电商业务。去年,该公司有一半的收入来自电商平台。百思买也同样是一个电商巨头。

另外,无论预约购物模式有多吸引人,它毕竟还是有一些“先天不足”,阻碍了它的进一步应用。

人们的很多购物行为本质上就是为了图个方便,或者是在闲逛和浏览网页的时候临时起意。预约购物的过程虽然愉快,但如果它成了唯一的选择,那么购物就成了义务,愉快就成了不快。另外,如果你在购物的过程中,有一名店员全程跟着你,说不定你还会感觉到一种“不买不行”的压力。再比如说,你去百思买本来是想咨询一套家庭影院设备的,购完物出来之后,你又想买了一个新的相机套。那么这时你是不是还得预约一次呢?又或者说,你发现你的车里缺一根充电的USB线,你是为了这根充电线单独预约一次,还是干脆去附近的沃尔玛甚至便利店里买一根呢?

咨询机构WSL战略零售公司的CEO温迪•利布曼说:“这确实是一个阻力点。如果我想买的东西是某种可以在网上买到的基础性产品,我不用亲自去摸、去试,那么我想,人们八成是不想通过预约去购物的。”

不过,在“后疫情时代”,随着越来越多的购物行为从线下转移到线上,预约购物作为一种新的购物模式,也必然会占有属于它的一席之地。利布曼表示:“这就像一种个性化的购物体验。”更何况在疫情爆发之前,零售商早就面临着改革线下门店购物体验的压力了。(财富中文网)

译者:隋远洙

These days, if you are in the market for a new home theater setup or refrigerator and want to ask someone at a Best Buy store for advice, you have to book an appointment.

Best Buy managed to hold on to most of its business at the height of the lockdowns thanks to e-commerce and curbside pickup of online orders. But now as it gingerly reopens its 1,000 U.S. stores, it has turned to appointment-only shopping in blocks of 30 minutes to limit the number of people in stores. Each customer is given a safety briefing by phone beforehand and chaperoned by a Best Buy employee once at the store.

While that might sound a bit high-touch for an electronics retailer and even a bit of a hassle, the complexity and high-ticket prices of much of what Best Buy sells, and the opportunity for upselling, justify the approach, according to the company.

“As customers are coming for this concierge service, they have more time to ask more questions, and our associates are providing more fulsome solutions,” Best Buy CEO Corie Barry recently told reporters.

Pulled between the need to reopen stores and arrest double-digit percentage sales—while wanting shoppers to feel safe during the pandemic—the idea of appointment-based shopping is catching on with retailers: Williams-Sonoma and West Elm now require appointments, while Chico’s has added it as an option. Tapestry’s Coach and Kate Spade are offering the service at a few of their stores, too.

Sales by appointment is not a new concept. Genius Bar consultations at Apple require a reservation, as does setting up a wedding registry at Macy’s or buying an evening gown at Neiman Marcus. But like many changes resulting from the pandemic, it’s something more retailers are trying out. While the labor-intensive way of selling is unlikely to replace just going to the store, it provides shoppers and stores alike more options.

“The retail that is best suited to appointment shopping is either very complex items that require knowledgeable sales people for input or big-ticket items where customers want to feel more comfortable about what they’re buying,” says Shelley Kohan, a professor at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

In the case of Chico’s the approach works, Kohan says, because that retailer’s customers are loyal, skew older, and have typically dealt with the same salesperson for years. It wouldn’t work as well, she notes, at Old Navy with its larger choice and frequent employee turnover. At Chico’s, the store gets in touch with the customer beforehand to discuss what she is looking for, and based on that, the retailer gathers multiple outfits for her to try on, with everything set up in a fitting room for her.

That is similar to the concept of Nordstrom’s new Local stores—small locations in neighborhoods far from its main stores in key markets like Los Angeles and New York—which offer tailoring and where customers can request that a few outfits be shipped to try on via appointment.

Even though it dents shopper traffic, appointment-only selling has upsides for retailers. People going to the bother of making an appointment typically have a specific need to fill and are more intent on making a purchase.

“There will be lower volume, but you will have much higher-ticket [spending per trip] and much higher conversions,” says Stacey Widlitz, president of SW Retail Advisors. What’s more, it can lead to lower staffing levels in stores.

Still, there are inherent limitations to how widely appointment-only shopping will be adapted after lockdowns have eased. After all, it is by design a way to reduce the number of visitors to a store, a challenge to a business model predicated on volume and fast turnover, especially for larger spaces.

Williams-Sonoma CEO Laura Alber recently acknowledged this in an update with investors. “With strict social distancing measures in place, customer limits will continue to constrain sales in our stores,” she said. For now the strategy seems more about saving as much business as possible and staying front and center in shoppers’ consideration.

A friction source

Despite its upsides, don’t expect to see appointment shopping at places like Walmart, Target, or Home Depot with their mammoth 100,000-square-foot stores and enormous assortments. “There are too many products for it to be logistically feasible,” says FIT’s Kohan.

Williams-Sonoma stores are not nearly as big, and it doesn’t carry a million kinds of items in all sorts of categories, which helps make the appointment model more viable, according to Alber. “We’re at a different kind of business than other stores where you need a lot more traffic,” she said. Still, she allowed that this model could be painful during a busy period like the holidays if the company still needs to use it by then.

Analysts see appointment shopping as a supplement to a retailer, not something to replace impromptu store visits, once the pandemic is contained, given the need for volume. Indeed, Best Buy’s Barry suggested the practice will continue even after the retailer fully reopens stores.

For appointment shopping to work, a retailer has to be good at e-commerce and have an app with reliable scheduling features. That is the case with Williams-Sonoma, which also owns West Elm and Pottery Barn. It has weathered the store closings better than most: In its most recent quarter, sales were unchanged despite massive store closings, helped by its soaring e-commerce, which last year generated more than half of revenue. Best Buy is also an e-commerce powerhouse.

Yet, however much appointment-based shopping has its attractions, there are built-in impediments that will hinder its adoption.

A lot of shopping is convenience driven and buying things while browsing. Appointment shopping, as pleasant as it could be, is more involved and adds to the work of going to shop if it’s the only option. There is also the matter of not wanting to feel the pressure to buy something if you’ve had an associate spend a lot of time with you. Say you are at Best Buy for that home theater consultation, but after you leave you remember you wanted to get a new camera case. Will you really make another appointment? Or if you are in your car and remember you need some USB cables but don’t feel like booking a time slot, you can just as easily go to Walmart where you can buy groceries, too, and reduce trips to additional stores.

“It’s a friction point,” says Wendy Liebmann, CEO of consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail. “When it’s something that’s basic, that I can order online, I don’t have to touch and feel it. I don’t think people will want to plan that shopping that way.”

Still, it will likely find a niche within new shopping habits post COVID-19, as more shopping goes online, further changing the role of stores. “It’s like the personal shopping experience,” says Liebmann. And the pressure for retailers to improve that shopping experience in stores started well before the pandemic struck.

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